Digital Strategy Insights Marie Poulin

Why I switched to a standing desk

I spend a good % of my day in front of my computer, as do many of you, I’m sure! When I finally got a place of my own in Vancouver, I was already thinking about ergonomic chairs even before I had purchased a desk. I was ready to make the investment, I thought. I asked my Facebook friends what they recommended for ergonomic chairs. I ended up with a few friends posting articles about the dangers of sitting for such a long portion of the day. At first I was skeptical. After all, I consider myself very athletic, with 2-3 days/week of gaelic football training and/or practices, and 2-3 days/week of bouldering and/or rock-climbing. Surely any damage I do by sitting all day could be offset by my dietary habits and physical activity? Apparently not.

Do a quick Google search and it is not difficult to find evidence showing that sitting all day is terrible for your health.

Are you sitting down? — Mashable

You can even find countless websites with standing desk hacks, in order to build a cheaper solution than something like The Geek Desk, which is an intelligently designed height adjustable desk ($1000+).

In the end, I opted to buy a tall dining table I saw at CB2 (pictured at the top of this post). While it is not height-adjustable, the height is right for me! I use a gardening pad to stand on, which feels lovely on my feet. I am still searching for the right ergonomic stool-height chair to complement it, but so far I’ve been splitting my time 50/50 between my laptop at my kitchen table and standing at my standing desk, while I transition slowly into standing for the majority of the day.

It does take some time to get used to, but overall, I actually think I am more efficient when I am standing. I am less inclined to waste any time surfing needlessly. I think part of this is due to the fact that when you are standing, it tends to be because you are moving from point A to point B, so in a sense, you are not as relaxed or comfortable. You want to get right to the point!

If you are considering moving to a standing desk, keep this posture in mind regardless of whether or not you buy something height adjustable, or you do a bit of desk-hacking yourself. If you are able to, take your time, and ease into it, starting with 45min increments. Standing in one spot for 8hrs is not necessarily optimal either, so I try to balance my sitting and standing time, taking breaks to drink water or go for a walk.

Working at home, I know the importance of feeling happy and comfortable in your own space, and I didn’t want to create a solution that felt cheap or sloppy (there are some seriously creative solutions out there!). I bought a desk that I love and keeps my space looking clean and lovely.

If you have any recommendations for chairs that you love, please comment below! I am still looking for something that can reach stool height so that I can be ergonomic even when I take sitting breaks. Hopefully my body will thank me later…

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  1. Nice, I did the same move not too long ago too. I tweaked my back (bulged a disc) and that got me thinking about sitting and it’s health disadvantages. I have a similar rhythm. Standing for an hour then sitting/lying down flat on my back plus taking breaks to walk around and do house chores. I like the gardening pad idea, but I’m thinking about putting artificial grass on top and enjoy it with my bare feet.

    Keep it healthy!

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  2. I am so delighted to find your blog post. I just hit on the idea of switching to a standing computer system this week. A new 27″ iMac is coming and I was looking at my ikea shelving unit in my living room, on which my TV currently lives, and suddenly had the brainwave of dumping the TV and having the computer be my TV. There’s an interface that can send your incoming cable box’s TV channels to your computer and you can turn your computer into a PVR recording device too.

    But that’s not the main incentive, the main incentive is to reduce the amount of sitting. It’s really not good for you. I know a woman who now stands all the time, even at networking events and meetings. Body alignment is her field of expertise.

    So it turns out, that ikea unit has near perfect ergonomic properties. It’s very deep, so I can adjust screen distance easily. All I will need to do is put down some sort of simple platform on the floor that will raise my elbows about 1.5 to 2 inches and voila, perfect.

    Like you, I also want the option of sitting. For this, I can put the keyboard and mouse down onto the next shelf and all I will need is an adjustable stool that I can set to 27 inches in height. I think I found one next door at a garage sale, but I am not going to dive in and purchase until I have the computer set up and am sure I like this. Perhaps the standing will be all I want.

    The extra bonus is I will e able to reclaim my dining room, which is now my computer space, and sit at a table to eat rather than in front of the TV.

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