I’m Still Standing: My Standing Desk Experiment Continues


A few months back I wrote about my transition to a standing desk. Fed up with sundry aches and issues caused by sitting for hours on end, I grabbed a few file boxes, propped my monitors, keyboard and mouse on them, and started working on my feet. From day one, the change agreed with me. Nagging shoulder and back issues quickly subsided, and I found myself feeling better and more alert during the work day.

Since my initial blog post, my workplace experiment has become a lifestyle. Unwilling to spend hundreds of dollars on a dedicated standing desk setup, I threw together a spare chrome shelving rack and some 14-inch chrome posts to create a more permanent standing alignment on top of my existing desk. About a month into the experiment I absconded with one of my wife’s yoga mats to put a little padding under my feet. That’s helped with some of the soreness, though I still find myself shifting from foot to foot quite a lot later in the day.

As a number of readers warned, fatigue is a factor. I need to take occasional breaks and get off my feet for a spell, especially in the afternoons. These breaks don’t have to be long — five minutes will do it — but it definitely helps to get the feet up for a break. A number of people also suggested keeping a drafting chair or other high seating option around, so I can switch between sitting and standing. I’ve tried using one of our kitchen stools for this, but it’s not really tall enough for the job. Cheap skate that I am, I’ve put off looking into a drafting chair.

It’s worth noting, I embarked on this experiment at an opportune time. We’ve been working on an ‘extra’ issue of MSDN Magazine focused on Windows 8, which will go out to subscribers in the next couple weeks. The project had me working overtime all summer. The way I figure it, my standing desk experiment probably saved me a lot of physical wear and tear.

So is a standing desk for you? I’ve heard from quite a few readers who have made the switch and have offered some good advice. What tips would you offer for someone looking at a standing desk? Let me know!


Comments (5)

  1. Chris says:

    As with the previous post, this is _not_ working because I want to see some photos. Photos please!!!!! 🙂

  2. Blake says:

    I have been using a standing desk for about 8 months now.  It is awesome!  I am a very active person so sitting in front of the computer for 8+ hours a day is not fun.  My boss bought me a standing desk from Amazon that has worked very well.  The first 3 weeks were the hardest for me but now the only time I sit is if I am sick.  My boss actually has a treadmill desk and another person I work with has a recumbent bike desk.

  3. SC says:

    I find that having a small step stool under the stand up desk to alternately prop my feet on helps with fatigue.  I also managed to keep my sit down desk and use a cordless mouse and keyboard to move back and forth between the two.  My arrangement requires a second (cloned) monitor so I have one at each desk.

  4. Mark says:

    So you like your standing desk. So you have to take some sitting breaks occasionally. Let me ask you: when you had a sitting desk, did you take standing breaks? If not, how do you know you wouldn't like that better? My chiropractor says that you should never sit for more than 2 hours at a time w/o getting up and stretching.

  5. Mark, interesting point. The difference is the default state. When I sit, I literally forget to stand or move around. I get engrossed in my work and don't notice that I'm hunched over, or that my legs have gone weak, or that my shoulder and elbow are starting to ache. But when I stand, I notice muscle fatigue or soreness in my legs/feet and sit down promptly when it crops up. I guess I'm more aware of my body when standing.

    The other issue is engagement of musculature. When sitting, the body just kind of shuts down. Muscles in the legs and lower body relax–they literally have nothing to do. But when I stand, those muscles are engaged not just in bearing my weight, but in maintaining balance as well.