On My Feet All Day

There's a growing trend of people switching over to standing desks. I've noticed it in my Twitter feed, with fellow internet and creative professional raving about it. Here in the office, a couple co-workers alternate during the day, using boxes to raise their laptops. Last week, I decided to do the same.

Since I didn't know if a standing desk would be right for me, I cobbled something together to try it out first. I used a piece of wood left over from our move last year, propping it up at wrist level with boxes of stationary. The wood piece is big enough to provide space for a wireless keyboard, mouse, coffee cup, papers, pens, etc. Our work-bench office layout has a half-wall which is at the perfect height for me to put a monitor. It keeps the screen at eye-level when I'm standing, as opposed to looking downward at my laptop screen.

Now, keep in mind, standing all day is no cure-all. Bryan Walsh wrote an article for Time magazine that talked about the health effects of both sitting and standing all day. He cites sources that link problems to prolong sitting... but also notes potential issues for those who stand all day. As in most things, moderation and variety is key. If you're sitting, make sure to walk around every twenty minutes.

Over the course of the week, I could feel the change in my feet and legs. My calves had the good exercized feeling in them, my knees ached on and off, and I could feel the weight on my feet. I had to change my stance once in a while to give my arches a rest. I was feeling tired at the end of the day.

I kept my chair nearby so I could sit down once in a while. As the days went by, it was less necessary. I got used to standing. I tried different adjustments, including keyboard heights and a vertical monitor, until I settled into something comfortable. I switched to sneakers and my feet thanked me for it. I sit down for lunch and if I need to consult a co-worker, I'll sit at their desk.

I'm going to give my make-shift solution a couple weeks before I decide whether or not to make it a permanant workspace. Standing desks can be expensive but there are several low-cost solutions out there that build on existing setups. I'm leaning toward something that I can put up and take down fairly easily, maybe foldable, something that gives me ongoing flexibility.

If you're interested in trying it, I recommend reading this Forbes article by Steve Mullis. It covers many things I looked into before and discovered as I went along. Also, I recommend you try it out first; giving the amount of stationary and miscellaneous supplies around the average office, it shouldn't be difficult to throw together something temporary.

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