I’ve been using a computer at a standup desk since April 2012 (almost a year.) When I first started using a standup desk, the key things that I noticed were that it was challenging to stand all day and that I felt more awake and able to contribute.
Companies (especially startups) are noticing the twin benefits of standing up and of the attendant productivity gains – here’s a video demonstrating what the folks at Freshbooks are doing:
Fast forward to February 2013, and the following things about using a standup desk seem true to me:
- Standing for long periods of time now feels natural
- The overall fitness benefit is substantial
- And my ability to make points as a public speaker is better
What’s the net benefit for each of these observations?
Standing Feels Natural
This sort of makes sense, doesn’t it? Stand all day, and it will feel natural? (Duh.) When I was sitting all day, every day, and telling myself that I was getting some exercise when I got up to go to the refrigerator or on a brief walk outside, I wasn’t practicing the effort of standing. In particular, my sense of being in a space has improved. And when I spend all day standing, the act of delivering training to customers and to answering their questions feels more like it does when I’m actually in front of them (more on this a bit later.)
The net benefit: using a standing desk makes the process of standing feel more everyday and natural. (A mundane, but important benefit.)
You Get Much Healthier
Whatever you were doing before, if you consider that you have been probably sitting for eight plus hours a day, the simple act of getting up and standing has varied health benefits and helps you live longer. I’ve also found that I have more energy throughout the day, I get tired less easily and I have better core strength and ability to stretch. I haven’t quantified the benefits, but I just feel better.
The net benefit: turning 8 hours of inactivity into subtle activity brings unexpected health benefits (your own mileage may vary, but try it out!)
You are more nimble on your feet. Literally.
The act of presenting from your feet – whether while on a web cam or simply on a conference call – provides lots of opportunities to refine your ability to speak publicly. One of the best benefits I’ve found to standing up and sharing information with customers is being able to better identify and stop my “stop words” or “filled pauses.” Spending time to identify the pauses you make and substituting silence is a great gain.
The net benefit: being more mindful of what’s coming out of your mouth can always help you
I’m still standing up almost a year later. I haven’t gone through with my initial plan to get a standup treadmill desk yet, and I’m thinking through that idea still. I think I prefer taking a walk outside to walking through my email. But while I am answering customer questions, I am more mindful, healthy, and awake because I’m standing up through more hours of the day.