I initially started with my desk at home and liked the results. It ultimately led me to create what I can only an "active living room" instead of a passive living room. The standing desk was comfortable and I've found it even easier to slip in and out of the computer screen. This lead me to set up my own standing-desk at work. My first attempt was similar to my first attempt at home; mostly to try out before I invested some money into the project. But it was enough to get me put into the work newsletter when my friend snapped a picture of me and sent it to the editor.
|My final standing desk at home.|
Originally, I was considering going through the hoops and loops to have work cover one given that I could make an argument about both my health and productivity for such a thing, but that would require chasing down signatures and appointments and more time than was worth it. So I dropped the $30 on the materials I needed and assembled a standing desk at work as well (see below for more details on how I created it).
The biggest challenge to the standing desk isn't necessarily the task of standing an extra 6-8 hours than one normally does. No, it's the awkwardness of standing at a desk while surrounding by colleagues who sit or even at home. It's not how we've been programmed to think about and associate with computers. We have desktops and laptops--no standtops.
There's also a decent amount of awkwardness to overcome as other people see what you're doing. I've had to explain my standing desk dozens of times in the last year (And sometimes, repeatedly to the same person). So, you'll get some raised eyebrows to be sure; they are mostly harmless.
Getting used to standing at the computer is just something you gradually ease into. Paying mindful attention to your body and posture, you can slowly customize the height, your distance, etc until it feels natural.
The Health Benefits
While I knew ultimately it would be healthy for me to switch, but it was nice to be vindicated from others places about the benefits of not sitting so much throughout the day. But I have found it healthier in general by standing. I move more while standing (yes, that includes dancing in place--sorry coworkers!) and I also stretch my legs more. I'm more apt to stretch the hamstrings, the calves, the quads, and the back almost without thinking while standing at the desk whereas this was something I had to continually (fail to) remind myself with while sitting.
|My primary standing desk.|
But this increased bathroom visits has two wonderful secondary effects. The first is that it gets me moving more (bathroom is about a 300 step round trip), which is always a good thing. But it also helps me "refresh" my mind by having me step away from work. This helps my work and productivity remain constant throughout the day.
Finally, despite the extra bathroom trips, I am more productive and attentive. We all know the experience--sometime, after lunch, our brains start to fog out. Sitting at the chair, we may start to get a case of the jello-head-neck-bob, fighting off (failingly) the heavy desire for a nap. Eyelids are heavy, the screen is blurry, and you can feel your body begging for a nap. This never happens with a standing desk. I've loved this part of the experience. I am always awake and attentive when standing.
The Cost and Arrangement
|Set up at office location #2|
I consider the height that would be necessary for my hands and the screen and determine what would work best. There will be some adjustments so save receipts and try several different mixes. It can be trickier with a laptop because screen and keyboard are attached.
Occasionally, I do need to return to sitting. I find this particularly true with certain types of writing. But I'm still not sure if this is dynamic of standing or if it's the place since I find long concentration in my apartment a bit challenging with the abundance of distractions therein. That still needs to be determined.
The other major challenge is that I'm less tolerant of sitting for longer periods. Whether it's a class or a long meeting, I find myself getting antsy and needing to stand within an hour. It's also harder for me to remain attentive while sitting. I slip faster into sleepy mode and get distracted with uncomfortable chairs, desiring to be standing instead.
Regardless, the challenges are marginal compared to the benefits reaped and I sold when it comes to standing desks. Anyone else out there trying a standing desk or something similar? I would love to hear from you about how it's going.
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