Why My Standing Workstation Is Killing Me

Several months ago, I began researching the effects of sitting and how bad it is for today’s leaders.  The modern day workstation includes a traditional desk with a computer monitor on it and a keyboard.  We sit at these workstations sometimes for eight hours straight.  The health concerns caused by this situation are staggering.

Around that same time, I read a post by Michael Hyatt titled “Why Sitting Is Killing You.”  Then in March, Tim Ferriss posted this article about Reinventing the Office and discussed how bad sitting was for you.  That was all it took to get me off my bum and on my feet.  After all, Winston Churchill and Donald Rumsfeld had been using standing workstations decades before me.  If it worked well for them, I’m sure it would work well for me.

Fast forward to present day, I’m on my fifth session of therapy on my back and hip.  Moreover, I’m currently sitting down at my workstation.  I have to admit, I hate having a monitor on my workstation that faces my guests.  I also hate having a monitor on my desk that clutters the work surface.

I’ve since switched to a hybrid approach.  I spend much of my day between my standing and my sitting workstations.  Below is my current “stance” on the stand up desk phenomenon.  While there are certainly many benefits, there are just as many drawbacks.  It is essential to make your work situation work for you.

On and Off – It’s best to work on and off your feet.  Being forced to stand in one place for several hours will deter you from performing the task at hand.  I found myself putting off tasks that required me to stand for long periods of time.  The fatigue is enough to hinder your work’s quality

Performing the right tasks – Writing a blog post or creating a presentation are not the best tasks to do when utilizing a standing workstation.  I currently utilize my stand up workstation for only tasks that I can do with paper and pen.  My computer is now on my normal desk.  I try to work 30 minutes standing then 30 minutes sitting.

Organization – When using two workstations, it is critical that a leader be well organized.  When I first applied a standing workstation, I found myself constantly going back and forth between file cabinets in my desk and back to my workstation.  Keeping things organized in such a way that you can easily access your resources despite which workstation you’re at is a must.

Space – I see many people making stand up desks out of file cabinets or stools.  While this is okay, you should take into consideration the space you’ll need to perform tasks.  For instance, when compiling a financial presentation, I found myself with not enough room on my stand up desk for my financial reports.  As such, I was forced to walk over to my desk, find the information I needed, then walk back to my stand up desk.  I nearly wore a path between the two.

The standup desk phenomenon has taken over the globe and for very good reasons.  Most people, myself included, find a surge of energy throughout the day, increased productivity, less chronic back pain.  However, if not done properly, the results can be just as bad, if not worse, than using a normal sitting style desk.  Following the suggestions listed above will help you to maximize the benefits without feeling the downfalls.


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JaysonFeltner.com - Christian, Husband, Father, Leader