Sitting is the new smoking
Some of my colleagues were talking about a standing desk and how nice it would be to not sit all day long. Long lists of random studies about sitting were quoted, although not corroborated, in an attempt to get a standing desk at the office. This was perpetrated by exactly two of my twelve colleagues, so the numbers were not on their side . Regardless, we had an empty cubicle station that could very easily be converted to a standing desk in about 15 minutes.
Over a weekend, I stopped in the office with a few tools and quickly raised the workstation desk in the empty cubicle to a standing position; luckily the two perpetrators are about the same height. Upon raising the workstation desk, I set an unused desktop computer to allow anyone in the office to leverage Windows Remote Desktop to log directly into their desktop from the standing workstation.
After a few modifications to the keyboard and mouse, we were in business. For the cost of about 15 minutes, I provided an option for anyone in the office to go from sitting to standing as quickly as it takes to walk to a different cubicle. During the first week, it was utilized by only two colleagues and only for a few hours per day total.
Since the desk was often open, I thought I’d give it a try while reviewing some legal contracts one morning. At first, it was very weird to stand there; the blood flowed throughout my body where it normally did not. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not out of shape by any means, I work out or lift weights for 45 to 60 minutes, seven days a week and rarely miss a day. But I also have sat in a chair for eight to ten hours a day, five days a week for roughly 20 years. During my first few hours, I literally felt light headed and dizzy. I felt oxygen circulating my body at a rate that it was not used to at 10 o’clock in the morning.
My first standing desk session was at least two hours, but it felt good, I felt good. I liked it, I liked it a lot. And I took over the standing desk entirely. It’s been a month now and I spend more hours per day standing at the desk than sitting at my desk. It has actually become a bit of an office joke.
There are still only three of us who have even tried the standing desk, even though I’ve encourage everyone to give it a shot. I think I will convert my primary office desk into a standing desk in the next few months. It is just as easy to grab an empty desk with my laptop for a few hours when I feel like sitting down, if that happens. My home office will also need to be converted at some point, because I spend too much time there every evening, weekend and holiday.
There are probably some health benefits too, but I never bothered to look into them, you will have to Google that if you care. There is something different about standing up that is completely “different” than a periodic walk around the office or 15 second stretch. When I spend a few hours at the standing desk, I have more energy, my writing is cleaner, and I feel much more motivated after standing. If you would have asked me six months ago if I thought I would ever use a standing desk, the answer would have been an unhesitating “no.” But I am a complete convert now, why don’t you also give it a shot?
I would love to hear about your standing desk. Please send me a Tweet at @wbushee, or drop me an email. After all, shouldn’t we all optimize our work environment?
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