The research is mixed on the health benefits of a standing desk. Certainly, remaining sitting for most of the day is not good. I still decided to give it a try after reading about what Buck Woody (blog | twitter) and Steve Jones (blog | twitter) did with respect to their work environments. Like Steve, I’ve seen Greg Gonzalez’ (blog | twitter) setup at the SQL Sentry office. Their posts and Greg’s setup provided the impetus for me to try it. After doing so for a couple of weeks, having computers where I’m standing most of the day has worked for me. Here’s what I’ve noticed:
- I feel like I have more energy throughout the day.
- My back has hurt less.
- I’m able to get to work faster. (I’m not fumbling with the chair.)
In my case, there are enough meetings in my workday where I’m going into a conference room and sitting down for an hour. So some of the concerns about standing all day are mitigated. Also, I have the ability to sit down if I need to. It’s pretty trivial to take the laptop down to that workspace if I need to sit down. Therefore, I get the benefits of both a standing and a sitting desk.
I should note that I didn’t enter into this lightly. Before I asked my organization’s building services/maintenance folks about making such a change, I first brought in a lap desk. The lapdesk has its legs at one height so you can comfortably use a laptop sitting on the ground, such as in the living room watching TV. However, the legs can move down to a second, greater height and still be stable. It turned out that with the lap desk configured for this larger height I had the laptop at the approximate height of a standing desk. So each day, for a couple of weeks, I’ve brought in the lap desk and set up the laptop on it. My desktop remained on the surface that was down at the normal level. It didn’t very long before I noticed that I was doing everything from my laptop. That’s what finally convinced me to go forward with the change.
There is some adjustment, or at least there was for me. The first couple of days my ankles were a little more sore than normal. A couple of days later I had some soreness in my hip abductor muscles, but that might have also been exacerbated by running. I also think I felt a bit more tired the first couple of days, but as I’ve listed more energy as something that I’ve noticed, that situation has clearly changed.
My recommendation is to do the research yourself and if it sounds interesting to you, test a temporary solution like I did. Some folks find that it doesn’t work for them. The important point is to be comfortable ergonomically at work and try to be as healthy as possible. Also, if you’re not working from home or setting up a solution in your home office, check with your management for their approval before seeking something more permanent.