I know I am a geek for new products or processes that help me do my job with more energy or more effectiveness. But this one is really working well for me and so I wanted to throw it out to you as my readers.
I recently got me a standup desk.
A buddy of mine built this for me and I have to say it is one of the more manlier models I have come across. Wood top with big and burly galvanized pipes for legs. And cast iron wheels! It is not falling apart anytime soon.
But my post today is really about the benefits of using a standup desk and my observations since transitioning.
In a word…I love it.
I used to have in my office a standard executive-type desk with multiple drawers, sitting behind it feeling very powerful and wondering if I should use a British accent when I spoke.
And so I got rid of the big, size-of-a-naval-carrier desk, have my standup desk in its place, and purchased a casual chair for the corner of my office for times of needed sitting.
I have been using this desk for about eight months and have come to some conclusions about why I enjoy it so much. And so here are three reasons that standing is now one-up on sitting for me.
The health benefits are noticeable
And I mean both physical and mental benefits.
There are definite benefits of standing for a few hours a day versus sitting for that same time period. You actually burn more calories standing up than sitting down. And over the course of a year, one researcher estimated that standing at least three hours per day for working conditions had noticeable benefits for the heart.
And for you visuals, here is an infographic to help summarize some of the concerns of over sitting too long.
For me, I tend to get zoned-in to my work after a period of time. I start slouching and hunching over. And I just found myself very stiff and my back aching when I got up – like I was compressed. But I have noticed improvements since transitioning to my standup desk.
I am currently using my standup desk anywhere from 3-5 hours per workday. I have a bar across the bottom so I can rest one leg or the other at any given time. And I am noticing that I am not feeling as much tightness in my back any longer and definitely not feeling so stiff.
I just feel more mobile. Going from desk to workroom or desk to meeting is more natural as I am already standing.
And without the sitting, my mind does not get the “afternoon dozes” like it might be prone to. When standing, I am able to move around, do quick stretches, and I am more mentally in the game. I do not find my thought processes going stale or zoning out.
And as a side note, it is important your desk is at the right height. I have mine so that my forearms are parallel to the top of my desk – I am not having to raise my shoulders or feel like I am stooping over. This is very important for proper fitting.
I realize my own accounts are anecdotal, but what I am experiencing is consistent on a day-to-day basis. And granted…all things in moderation. Though there are benefits to standing, I begin to lose the benefits if I end up standing all day. In others words, this does not fall under the “if some is good, more is better” rationale.
One side benefit that I was not originally forecasting was the “less clutter” advantage. If you notice, I do not have any drawers on my desk, meaning I had to be be intentional with what I was going to keep. I ended up buying a black crate to convert to a small file for the essentials that I wanted to keep in paper form. Everything else is now digital or gone.
To be honest, I like the feeling. My workspace is now just that…a workspace. I can work on my laptop or pull out resources and study on it. It is versatile but yet focused on what is essential.
A more inviting office
In my line of work as a pastor, I do not want “I am on this side of the desk and you are on that side” type of feeling. I want conversation where walls are broken down and people feel more open to talk.
This new office structure has helped me with that concern. I have a large overstuffed chair in the corner and then keep two other chairs available as needed. I like it. To me it has more of a conversational feel to it rather than a sterile office feel. And it has really opened up my office to give the appearance of more space. My desk is no longer the center of the room – meeting with others now is.
Solutions that can work for you
If a standup desk interests you, there are multiple options that you can try based on your budget. Here are three ideas worth looking at, going from least expensive to most expensive:
- The DIY milk crate to standup desk. This is a great option if you want the feel of a standup desk but either want to try it before purchasing an actual desk, or just want a cost-effective option. I use this option at home – it is portable and does the trick.
- The Varidesk. This is a mid-priced option that has good reviews. It makes use of your current desk by placing the adjustable Varidesk on top. The benefits are two fold: 1) you can get into this type of option for less money than a full standup desk, and 2) it allows you to have a sit-down desk as a continued option.
- The Stand Desk. I was very close to purchasing this option. It is sold on the Huckberry site (love their products) and comes with many add-on features. I really like this option because it has a motor that allows you to have the desk at a sit-down level or press a button and raise the desktop to a standing level. This desk costs more, but is a classy piece of work with nice surface options. Well-made product with great reviews. This is probably the most versatile option as it is two desks in one.
If the standup idea piques your interest, I would recommend getting a $5 crate from Walmart, a flat surface (plastic or wood) and try it on your current desk. Play around with it and see what works for you. Every work environment is different and so you might have to experiment. But give it a try!
I am in a vocation that does not lend itself to a lot of activity. And as I get older, I am more concerned about my health and doing those things that make my work environment more active and mentally engaging.
My standup desk is doing just that. I do not ever see myself going back.