Do Standing Desks Really Improve Your Work Experience?
July 11, 2016
When I started in Paid Search 4 years ago I was in for a shock. Not because I didn’t know anything about Paid Search (which I didn’t) or that I was working in an office for the first time in my life (I was in outside sales for 18 years). It was all the sitting I was doing. At least 8 hours a day.
Don’t get me wrong. I got up to use the restroom, go to lunch and occasionally talk to my co-workers but that was nothing compared to how much I walked and was up and down during my sales day. It got old pretty quick but I didn’t know what to do. Then came the brilliance of Carrie Albright! (I know that just killed you, Jeff Allen)
One day I came into the office and saw Carrie standing in front of her desk. A cardboard box elevating her laptop to what seemed like an awkward position. Carrie was standing. She was standing almost all day. This sight seemed amazing to me but I thought it would be too difficult to stand and to fully concentrate and do my work but Carrie pushed on. She stood solo in the office for quite some time before the trend started to take off.
At some point, Hanapin then provided anyone who wanted to stand with an adjustable laptop computer desk so they could join Carrie in her quest to stand and so she could ditch the cardboard box (that isn’t the exact kind we use but close). I asked for one of those contraptions and started my soiree into standing. To say it was a short soiree is an understatement. Just as I thought, I found standing using this laptop elevator was difficult to do when I needed to complete tasks that took considerable thinking/typing/manipulating of data.So I did what I knew…I sat.
Things got worse once I transitioned to a full-time remote worker in 2014. I found I was sitting even more and there were no co-workers nearby to chat up or take trips out to lunch. I moved from my office to my couch and back again, which was not good for the waistline or general feelings of well-being. I came across an article stating that sitting was the new smoking. WHAT?? I didn’t know what I was going to do but I needed to do something.
I started looking at different office ideas on Pinterest. I saw a variety of standing desks like the one Hanapin offered but I also saw actual desks that move up and down for a standing and sitting combo. I thought to myself, this could work. I could stand when I was doing tasks that take less concentration, like talking on the phone or listening in on calls. I could sit when I had to do more labor intensive tasks. I knew I would be moving at some point and because my current home office was somewhat small and had a built in desk, I planned for my new home office.
After scouring Google and Pinterest, I found a few standing options that looked like they could work. Then I saw something that I knew it had to be mine. The treadmill desk. I would walk all day long, burn massive amounts of calories and maybe just maybe, lose a little weight. I moved to my new house and placed an order for a Rebel Desk (I have no affiliation with Rebel Desk and received no compensation for the mention in this post. I just love my desk and am sharing my experience).
I will be real and let you know that I don’t walk all day long nor have I lost a lot of weight (although it has helped). On most days I find I walk a minimum of two hours and I stand a bunch too, but I do still sit. What I really love about this desk is that the whole desk moves up and down. It doesn’t feel cramped like the one I used previously that sat on top of the desk only holding the laptop. There are different ways you can adjust things but I find that this configuration works best and when I sit, I like to push the treadmill forward and pull the desk back a hair. I sit in the chair right where you would with any other desk.
This desk really transformed my life. I know it sounds weird for a desk to have that ability but it is true. However, some things did surprise me. Talking while walking, although not difficult to do (the treadmill has a max speed of 2 mph) made my already fast talking, even faster.
It did help increase my concentration while listening to calls where I am a passive observer. Instead of my mind wandering, I am able to focus and really listen. I also found that I could work more seamlessly on reporting or excel spreadsheets, where I had problems with the other standing desk converter. Again, having the whole desk at the level you need is key.
Don’t get me wrong. There are still days when I want to sit ALL DAY LONG. The couch in my office looks much more appealing than that shiny black Rebel chair or standing or walking. The great thing with this desk is that the combinations are unlimited. You can do anything you want – standing, sitting or walking any day any time. With the whole set up staring at you day in and day out, you will find yourself making healthier decisions about how you spend your day and hopefully improving your mind and body in the process.
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