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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Break Room

What People Who Love Sitting Should Know About Using a Standing Desk

standing desk

You should see me on the subway: I stake out seating like it’s my part-time job. I may have been sitting all day at work, but, boy, when I board that train for my 40-minute commute, I do everything I can to grab a spot that lets me put my bag and butt down.

So when I started reading about the standing desk phenomenon a couple of years ago, you can imagine my lack of excitement. The thought of standing on purpose seemed crazy to me. Why would one do that? And this is coming from a pretty active person who runs about 30 miles a week.

But, in spite of my skepticism with the standing desk, I have read all those scary articles about sitting being the new smoking. So when Ergotron offered our company the chance to try out its adjustable model for free, I didn’t say no. Neither did a lot of my colleagues. While many of us went into it with a side eye, most of us ended the experience on a more positive note.

Here’s what we found:

1. The Standing Desk Is Best for Certain Tasks

Although a couple of participants reported that they could do “anything” while using the desk, most everyone mentioned emails as being a popular to-do. Bigger, meatier tasks such as preparing a long presentation or crunching numbers weren’t projects that the standing desk necessarily lent itself to easily.

2. The Standing Desk Helps With Those Sitting-All-Day Physical Issues

Back pain, tired, achy legs, crunched shoulders: These were all issues that users agreed the standing desk alleviated. “It helped my back to not be sitting all day long,” one of my co-workers reported, which, to long-time proponents of the standing desk, should come as no surprise.

3. The Standing Desk Really Does Combat Energy Lulls

Since most of us were only testing out the desk for a couple of hours at a time, it was interesting to note that simply standing up combatted energy lulls. In fact, one of my co-workers stated that “it was a huge productivity booster in the afternoons” when she was likely to become “sluggish and brain dead.”

All in all, the standing desk got positive reviews. While my office may only have about one or two die-hard, want-to-use-it-exclusively standing-desk folks, the majority of us who tried it agreed that it was a nice way to mix things up throughout the day.

Of course, if you don’t have a standing desk or something you can turn into a makeshift one, you might just try changing your environment. Does your office have a lounge area where people can do work? What about a space with a round table and chairs? An empty desk in a spot in the office you don’t know well?

Often, a change of scenery can be enough of an impetus to get motivated. If taking a laptop with you outside or to the office’s couch area isn’t an option, you can try asking your boss to spring for a standing desk of your own. While the model we tested ran on the expensive end of things (~$800), there are certainly more budget-friendly options out there.

Comfortable employees are productive employees, right?