July 25, 2011
Unexpected benefits of using a standing desk
You've probably seen the scary statistics about how sitting all day can drastically cut short your lifespan. Thanks to a bad back and some pesky stiffness in my legs, I was already contemplating purchasing an adjustable desk that I could raise to standing level when I felt like it. The many articles and blog posts about how sitting all day would send me to an early grave recently convinced me to do it.
[Flickr photo by drewsaunders]
It's been three weeks since my adjustable desk arrived, and I'm smitten. I'm still playing around with how much I sit vs. stand throughout the day, but usually my routine goes something like this:
- Start off the morning sitting while checking email
- Raise my desk to standing height mid-morning as I begin tackling the day's meatier research and writing tasks (a nifty button lets me quickly raise or lower the motorized desk)
- Lower my desk to sitting position at the very end of the day as my work begins to wind down
As expected, my back is much happier not having to hunch over the keyboard all day long. My legs, liberated from their usual 90-degree angle, are also happier. Overall, I'm less stiff and antsy throughout the workday and less sore at the end of it. But there have been a couple unexpected benefits, too:
I have more energy. Before I had my adjustable desk, sometimes when 3 p.m. rolled around it was all I could do to keep my eyes open. Being able to stand while I work helps me fight the 3 p.m. slump without resorting to that late-afternoon cup of caffeine. Maybe it's that I'm burning a handful more calories an hour. Maybe it's that it's harder to fall asleep on your feet. Whatever the reason, it's easier for me to stay alert and awake on my feet than on my rear.
I'm more productive. Gone are those 20-minute Facebook breaks where I lose myself in the wedding photos of a friend's cousin's daughter I've never met. Sitting, which is a lot like reclining, is much more conducive to frittering away the workday than standing is. Being on my feet, which requires the body to work a bit harder, reminds me that I'm at my desk for one reason and one reason only: to work. And I do.
Any other standing desk users in the crowd? Has your standing desk increased your energy or productivity at work? Have you noticed any other benefits?
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
Paul Anderson helps professionals in transition find their desired employment.
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