Editor’s note: This post started as a testament to the power of the standing desk. But, you may want to sit down for this…
REOH got on board with a couple sit-stand desks and wanted to know more about the benefits. Here’s what we learned:
For one, it makes you better at your job. Or at least at the Stroop test. The test is designed to test reaction time by asking someone to quickly identify when the name of a color is printed in a different color. Try it out:
RED BLUE GREEN PURPLE YELLOW
YELLOW BLUE GREEN RED PURPLE
RED PURPLE BLUE GREEN YELLOW
The Economist reported about “a piece of research just published in Psychological Science by Yaniv Mama…[which suggests that] cognitive performance improves” in subjects given particular tasks while standing, vs sitting. As far as efficiency goes, “this review concluded that sit–stand workstations do not cause a decrease in productivity.” Not exactly definitive, but not bad news.
It also makes you healthier. Sitting for long periods can exacerbate our already increasingly sedentary lifestyles and lead to problems with obesity (and its many tag-along unpleasantries), high blood pressure, circulatory problems, muscle mass loss, and general sore “sit bones” syndrome (SSS).
Of course, standing all day isn’t all that good for you either, just ask these guys:
Standing for long periods of time can cause a myriad of musculoskeletal problems, varicose veins, sore muscles, and fatigue just to name a few.
And don’t forget the ergonomics! If there is one thing we love here at REOH, it’s ergonomics. We suggest you get some good shoes. Slip-ons are recommended for those of us with fashionista tendencies (or dratted dress codes), so you can pop in and out of your stylish office shoes. Here are tips from some docs in an easy-to-understand JPEG:
If the thought of hamster wheels makes you sleepy, don’t worry, you could also ask your boss for something a little more, well, vertical. This might be an awkward position from which to chat with a co-worker (or, god forbid, a client) though, so maybe it isn’t for everyone.
Since the research on standing desks is inconclusive at best, we’re left with a good old-fashioned REOH interpretation. It begins thusly:
- Everything in moderation, the beauty of a sit-stand desk is the option to sit or stand (this means making sure to choose an office arrangement that allows for both).
- Moving your printer across the office, going to the upstairs bathroom, or walking on your lunch break are probably better ways to really improve your wellness while at work.
- Beware of using your daytime standing as an excuse to sit too much once you get home, this defeats the purpose.
- Don’t be a brat about your standing desk (see below). Mostly, it just means you have a conscientious employer so don’t congratulate yourself too much.
So now for the moral of the story. After much self-examination among the standing-deskers in the office, we have come to realize the risk we run of being just a little too proud of ourselves (and likely fudging the truth a teense about how long we actually spend standing at our sit-stand desks). The word elitist may have come up. We are fortunate to have jobs that allow the flexibility to sit or stand, and an employer who values autonomy over dictatorship.
Dr. Cook-Shimanek (who is one of the standers, for what it’s worth) offers this: perhaps the effects from a standing desk at work (not to be confused with standing for your job) are likely largely psychosocial. The benefits are in giving an employee discretion over their work environment, more than the actual standing itself. She points to indications that this kind of autonomy has been shown to improve employee wellbeing, in addition to any physical benefits of changes to a workspace. Only time, and much better studies, will tell.
( Apparently slip and fall is also a risk 😉 )
April 4, 2018 – Another Editor’s note: Keeping you up on the latest, vital information (from The Onion) on the pros and cons of standing up to work, here’s a very intuitive article and advice to for those suffering (either from lack of standing or too much standing). We too fear that we “might be happier not knowing how difficult it has become…to stand up for longer than 30 minutes.” We report, you decide.