We've been toying with the idea of using a standing desk for work quite a while after we had read about them on the internet. The benefits of using them are still unproven but after experiencing back-ache, abdominal issues and muscular pain I tried using a makeshift setup to see if using a standing desk for work would improve things.
Why use a standing desk?
Basically, we're not designed to sit for long periods. After many years of sitting to do my job I'm finding that I ache towards the end of the day. I'm in my early forties, overweight and don't exercise at all and sitting down for 3-4 hours at a time just isn't good for me, or anyone else.
After experimenting with a standing desk at home using a couple of boxes, and at work using box files and a 19-inch rack-server (I kid you not!) I started finding I had more energy and less discomfort after standing whilst working.
As our offices have just had a refit it was a perfect opportunity to fit a set of standing desks for any member of staff to use. Today was the first day in the newly refurbished office and so I decided to try using a standing desk for work properly, full-time.
Adjusting to standing up for work
As today was the first day there were a few things to get set up before I could really start working. Firstly I needed to adjust the height of the desk which was really easy due to the wind-able mechanism – a benefit of a dedicated standing desk.
The next item was my monitor. Ideally you should have a monitor at eye-level and the one I was using was perfect. It is a 24 inch Samsung model mounted on a tall arm which raises the monitor to a height of about 50 cm off the desk. This works perfectly for me.
Then I plugged in my Macbook Pro and started my day. Ideally I'd have a dedicated keyboard and trackpad/mouse set up on the standing station but as there weren't any free I used the MBP instead.
So how did it go?
The first couple of hours were quite uncomfortable as I found myself moving around a lot but as I concentrated on my work I soon forgot about it. When lunch-time arrived I sat down for a while and immediately felt my legs start to ache. After eating a rather tasteful Moroccan Spice soup I stood up to continue working – OUCH! My back ached really badly and so did my feet!
After another couple of hours standing up and working the back and foot pain seemed to fade away. I needed to pair with a colleague for the final couple of hours so I sat at my desk with him. All in all there were around 5 hours of standing today which seems to be a good start.
I plan on standing up for work as much as possible. I may need to invest in better footwear or look at anti-fatigue mats, or any of the other items suggested in this makeuseof.com article. I'm expecting to see an improvement in my health as well as in my work and I'll update the blog as I go.