Standing For Work

My new standing workstation! You can see on the floor my make shift mat and green polyurethane stand.

My new standing workstation! You can see on the floor my make-shift mat and green polyurethane puck.

A few days ago my new sit-stand workstation came in the mail! It was a fairly quick setup, I followed along the instruction manual as though it were a Lego set. No words were needed! I set it up, adjusted it to my height, and started standing at my computer. As soon as I had finished my boss walked in the room and told me about his standing desk and how it had helped cure his sciatica. That’s pretty cool! I was actually finally inspired to order my workstation after sitting in 3 days of classroom training for Shainin. The classroom had terrible chairs and I could feel my legs being pinched. Half of the training I had to stand up in the back of the room. There it kind of clicked in my head that 1) I can stand for most of the day, and 2) it is likely better for my blood circulation.

For a while before the decision I had been thinking about it. I kept seeing articles titled “Sitting is the New Smoking” that were freaking me out. On top of that I noticed I am much more sensitive to what I am sitting on now, likely due to having less natural cushioning down there! I can’t even sit with my wallet in my back pocket, I usually get the urge to pull it out after I sit down.

So all of this had compelled me to start researching standing sit-stand workstations. I found two companies that had designs that I like, Kangaroo and Ergotron. Ultimately, I chose Ergotron and a big reason is that we already use a lot of Ergotron products at work. Which mean’t I was already familiar with their designs, have better commonality between parts, and I know they have good products.

The first few days have been an interesting adjustment. It definitely feels more natural to walk up to my desk and just start working. Usually there is some ritual of approaching the desk, pulling out the chair, sitting down, and hunkering down to get started working. While working at the desk, I quickly realized I needed a cushioning mat, so I use some foam material that we produce as a mat. Also in my research of the mat I noticed a neat new product, called Topo by ergodriven.com. I liked how it had several different elevations to encourage changes in position which is good for stretching different areas of the leg. To make my own I dropped down a few polyurethane blocks on the floor around the mat. I found that I can usually last the full morning standing, sit for lunch, and then after lunch I alternate standing and sitting depending on how I feel.

The social responses have been interesting. One co-worker asked me “What the hell are you doing?” I find it funny, in a factory where most workers are looking for more ways to sit, I am choosing to stand for more of my day. A few people asked me if I have back issues, which I don’t really have an answer for. One co-worker leveled with me and asked me why I got the standing desk. My answer was that I am terrified of getting old. Kind of an odd answer, but that was the truth. I think a big part of this journey I am on is to avoid getting old. I do like how this new desk is feeling, so I will have to come back with an update if I think it is successful!

Thanks for reading!

Andrew

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6 thoughts on “Standing For Work

  1. Nice! Standing desks are definitely springing up in Vergennes, too. Another thing that a lot of people have is trackball or trackpad-type mice, supposed to be better for your wrist.

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    • Thanks Spencer! I forgot to talk about mice. I have been using a Verticle Mouse for like 2 years now. It is great to promote a more neutral wrist position and still have the mobility of a normal mouse.

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  2. How do you feel about sitting on an exercise ball? A lot of my coworkers use them. I really like the idea of a standing desk, looking forward to your updates. I also like the blend of “kaizen” in this post.

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    • Hey Brendan, I think the exercise ball is a clever way to fit in some core strengthening during the day. I would worry about prolonged use that you might end up hunched over again. So don’t throw out your chair, you may want to switch back and forth during the day. Which is what I plan on doing with my new workstation. One thing you can try on your normal chair is to sit forward like you are on the edge of your seat, place your feet out in front of you (not crunched in under you), and sit upright. This should give a similar core and posture benefit as the ball. Check it out! Thanks again for following.

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