Does your back ache at the end of the work day? Do you find it difficult to maintain correct back posture and suffer as a result? You may want to consider using a standing desk. At Top Draw, we have five people who are at standing desks full-time.
Using a standing desk has a few benefits:
- It’s much better for your back and easier to maintain correct posture.
- It can lead to increased focus and help fight fatigue.
- You will burn a few extra calories per day standing vs sitting.
- It may be better for digestion, circulation, etc.
I have many meetings during the course of a day, so going to a standing desk wasn’t much of a commitment for me. At most, I’ll be standing for 3-4 hours at a time. I really like how quick it is to pop to my desk, log in, work for a bit, and then jump off to my next meeting. My feet can get sore after a long day, but my back is 100%. I’d rather have somewhat sore feet than a sore back. I’ve been at my standing desk for just under a year.
Having battled with sciatica off and on for three years prior to going to the full-stand, switching was an easy choice for me. Before, it wasn’t uncommon to spend 6-7 hours sitting and not get up once. That amount of spinal compression eventually led to sciatica, and at its worst resulted in spending an entire month laying on the floor.
Since switching to a standing desk, I find myself more relaxed, focused and energized. My sciatica hasn’t flared up once and my back feels stronger. And while it certainly is easier to dance to one’s music while standing, it is not impossible to fall asleep!
I am the most recent convert to the standing desk on the Top Draw team. It’s been about a week since Adriel and the team motivated me to get on up. It’s strange, but I feel much more energized than I did sitting for hours on end. When it is time to sit —to either lead or sit through a meeting— I feel relaxed and my back feels much more nimble. I have found that a thick mat at my feet prevents fatigue, so I would recommend that to anyone considering the shift.
Also, another variable is eating at my desk. I never used to have an issue with eating at my desk, but a standing desk forces you to get away during lunch. I haven’t gotten comfortable eating standing up, and I doubt it will ever feel natural. I also haven’t gotten comfortable with spilling sauces on my shirt, my pants and my shoes!
I switched to a standing desk shortly before I started at Top Draw two years ago. This was prompted after years of school and working for a large financial institution, and suffering from back issues arising from sitting desks and poor office ergonomics. It can take some time for your body to adjust to standing for long periods of time. The transition period can include fatigued/sore leg muscles, sore feet, and/or sore hips. Some people jump right into it full-time and put up with the discomfort, while others ease into standing for extended periods. Regardless of the transition period, good posture and a good stress mat are essential in preventing unnecessary injury and strain.
I’m fairly active; I run competitively and commute by bicycle in the summer. I notice at times (especially during harder training periods) that my feet, legs, and hips can become fatigued or sore from standing, though I happily endure tired legs over back pain. I take breaks from standing at times with a tall chair that I keep close to my desk. Other sit/stand options exist, such as adjustable height desks, and adjustable height desk add-ons.
The Standing Desk Test
For most people, a standing desk isn’t the right solution. It can be hard on your calves and feet, much more so for people who are overweight. That all said, trial-testing a standing desk doesn’t have to be expensive or come with a 100% commitment. Depending on your company rules/regulations, you may be able to trial standing desks using something as simple and inexpensive as an Ikea Lack table.
Tall people with height adjustable monitors may be able to get away with just using a Lack, whereas others may need to attach a simple shelf to the legs of the table to use as a keyboard and mouse shelf. The point here isn’t to finalize the desk layout, it’s to try the standing desk concept at a low price point before committing to a more expensive or permanent solution. And don’t forget a gel mat to stand on!