To Stand Or Not To Stand

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To Stand or not to Stand?

Seems one of the latest questions about your health is related to work – to stand or not to stand?  That is the question!  I’ve tried standing desks and had mixed results.  I loved standing when I was at the agency I worked at for eight years.  It was a fast paced environment and I rarely had enough time to “sit” at my desk anyway.  I reserved sitting for meetings.  However, in another office, I tried standing using the Varidesk (there wasn’t enough room for my two monitors, keyboard AND mouse/pad).  After about 3 days, I had a cramp in my wrist that lasted the weekend.  I opted to sit thereafter.  My husband built a desk similar to this, thanks to IKEA Hackers, and he loves it.  Two of our three attorneys stand and they agree with these ideas.  Another (former) attorney started Rebel Desks which include a treadmill option. 

I think when standing, you have to have the correct environment, equipment and ergonomics, (as you should when you’re sitting)! 

Here are my thoughts:

1)  Ensure the environment is correct for standing.  If you review a ton of paper, and it needs to be piled and filed, it may be easier to sit.  But if you’re reading through multiple page documents, you can do that while standing.  If you’re towering over your neighbor, be sure to discuss with them the comfort level of your stature prior to making the move.  If the culture supports trying before you “buy”, this is a great option to see if it’s right for you.

2) Having the proper equipment is a necessity.  You can test out the standing option rather easily if your desk is modular and moves easily.  Most require a request to the facilities person to move permanently though, so check before you try.  Monitor stands are helpful, but the keyboard and mouse need to fit on the same platform/level.

3) To avoid injury, such as carpel tunnel, make sure you are positioned with the correct ergonomics (this goes for sitting and standing).  The link to the OSHA website offers a nice guide. 

If it’s not comfortable or you’re not left feeling energized from it, it’s probably not for you!  I recommend an option (either a moveable powered desk or a stool) that will allow you to sit from time-to-time. Other options include having multiple work surfaces levels, so you can sit or stand to your comfort level.  Not ready to stand?  Try sitting on an exercise ball at your chair, it keeps your hips limber and your core locked on.  Whatever you decide, just be sure to weigh the pros and cons, for your health! 

Have you tried a standing desk?  What worked or didn’t work for you?  

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