It’s hard to believe, but it’s already been one month since I started my position at Beyond The Office Door and also one month since I started using an adjustable height standing desk for the first time. In my first blog I talked about being completely new to standing desks, and I really had no idea what to expect. I did however, have a lot of questions. During the last interesting month… those questions were answered.
How long can I actually stand before getting tired?
When I started using my standing desk I began standing for 30 minutes and then I would sit for 30. To a beginner, that felt like quite an accomplishment. But as with everything, I eventually started to get used to standing and now the minimum I prefer to stay on my feet is an hour. I have also found that there are certain times of the day I prefer to stand rather than sit; mid-morning, after lunch and at the end of the day.
If I stand mid-morning I tend to be less antsy for lunch (it keeps my mind off eating) and I stay more focused on my work. Mid-afternoon standing helps me get over that dreaded slump many of us feel after lunch, and it just simply makes me feel better to stand after eating a full meal. Finally, standing near the end of the day tames my clock-watching as 5 o’clock nears and allows me to feel less fatigued now that it starts getting dark here by about 4pm. One thing is for sure, no matter when I stand I feel like I am getting a lot more done. When I am standing I feel like I have a purpose; I feel like I need to work. When I am sitting I find myself often drifting off to daydream land or staring at my screen. I also tend to be more mobile when standing. I find it easier to simply walk over and talk to co-workers rather than email them, or pop over to help a delivery driver when they come to our door.
What does it mean to be ergonomically sound?
When I started standing at my desk I found myself continuously leaning on my keyboard with my elbows… horrible posture, I know. I am certain this is due to my many years of slouching while sitting at my desk, so my body immediately thought “why should standing be any different?” So, I did need to consciously be aware of the way I was standing for the first week or so. Now, my keyboard tray is an elbow-free zone! I do often find myself shifting my weight from leg to leg trying to find out what feels right. I figure this is okay to do as long as I am remaining ergonomically correct.
To ensure my workspace is ergonomically sound I set the height of my desk using the standing desk height calculator, and then moved onto finding at which position and angle I wanted my keyboard tray… ensuring that when I type my arms are at a 90 degree angle and my wrists are straight. I then made sure my monitors are at eye level which is simple to do with a monitor arm. When everything was set I realized… boy, have I been doing things wrong until now! It feels great knowing that I’m no longer doing damage to my body while working.
When I feel like sitting rather than standing, I also make sure my workspace is ergonomically correct. Again, I set my keyboard tray at the right angle, my monitors at the correct height, and my favorite part…. use my new Raynor Ergohuman chair to ensure I’m sitting in a healthy way. It’s amazing… it feels so good on my back, the lumbar support keeps me from hunching, and it looks pretty neat too!
Will standing help alleviate some of my back pain?
Standing desks are known for helping to improve your posture. I know that it’s only been a month, but I can honestly say that I can feel a difference in my back. In the past I’ve talked about myself being a habitual huncher and that still remains to be my greatest challenge when working throughout the day. I have felt a great improvement, though, since starting at my adjustable height standing desk. My neck and upper back (which is a chronic problem spot for me) don’t feel as tight and I don’t feel myself waking up in pain as much as I have done in the past. I guess the real test, though, will be when I visit my chiropractor next month. I am very interested to see if he notices any changes… I will let you know!
Standing also tends to give me better blood flow. There is nothing worse than sitting at a chair for an extended period of time, and then attempting to jump up… and falling flat on your face because of dead leg. You know… when your leg or foot falls asleep without your knowledge and then refuses to work on command. While it may be entertaining to your co-workers it can be annoying and even slightly painful when the feeling begins to come back. When I’m standing, I do not have to worry about that one bit!
Are my high heels going to be a no-no at my standing desk?
I will admit that I didn’t choose the wisest when it came to shoe selection the first few days. I thought I could power through while wearing 3 or 4 inch stilettos but I soon found out that was just silly. I mean, seriously, why?! Every morning I now grab a pair of shoes to wear at my desk in addition to the ones I am wearing out the door. I like flip flops; they make me feel like I am on vacation some place warm and sunny… especially on days like today when we are dealing with a fresh 6+ inches of snow in our part of Wisconsin! One of my co-workers prefers slippers, other people prefer athletic shoes… it depends on what makes you comfortable. If stilettos make you feel comfortable then I say more power to you too!
As the days go on, I am becoming more and more used to my standing desk and I definitely feel A LOT less awkward than I did in the beginning. This happened when I realized that I need to do what is right for me at my desk. When I started I was way too focused on doing everything correctly like someone was watching over my shoulder. But as soon as I just let myself relax I really started to enjoy myself, and I almost forgot that I was standing. That is the most important thing you should remember too… your standing desk is meant to enhance YOUR environment so use it in a way that works for YOU. Everyone is different which is what makes this experience so unique to each person.
So, what is your experience with a standing desk? Have you experienced some of the same things I have? Let me know! I’ll be back with updates as my journey with my standing desk continues!