Standing While Working

More and more people are waking up — and standing up — to the fact that sitting all day at their desks is detrimental to their health. Some are standing more to ramp up their metabolism. (Standing can burn 40 percent more calories than sitting.) Others find that standing helps keep them more alert and clear-headed on the job. Some, like Jonathan Radigan at the Vermont Department of Health, have found that standing more significantly eases back pain. Radigan switched to an L-shaped workstation with a split standing/sitting desk about a year ago. “I stand at the computer and I sit to make phone calls or chat with co-workers. It’s about a 70/30 split. Ergonomics experts within the department stressed that it’s important to mix it up.”

If you have the option to stand while working and are thinking about a standing desk, consider these tips:

  • Work Up to Standing Slowly: If you are used to sitting at a desk all day, ease into standing. You can stack boxes on your desk to raise your computer monitor and keyboard. If you work at home, try working with your laptop on the kitchen counter. Work up to longer periods of standing over time. If you find that a standing desk works for you, then you can start researching standing desks.
  • Wear Sensible, Supportive Shoes: If you’re planning on standing for the better part of the workday, choose function over fashion in footwear. Some workers have found that working in their stocking feet is best.
  • Stand on a Mat: Concrete floors and hardwoods are unforgiving. An anti-fatigue mat makes standing easier on your back and hips. You’ll find the best mats at chef supply sites.


Famous People Who Stood While They Worked

Despite having invented the swivel office chair, Thomas Jefferson often stood while writing. The third president of the United States is perhaps the most famous user of the stand-up desk. His six-legged “tall desk” had an adjustable slanted top.

Other famous fans of the stand-up desk include Leonardo da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, Charles Dickens, Vladimir Nabokov, Winston Churchill and Ernest Hemingway


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