Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Medicine Businesses IT

Switching From Sitting To Standing At Your Desk 312

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Chris Bowlby reports at BBC that medical research has been building up for a while now, suggesting constant sitting is harming our health — potentially causing cardiovascular problems or vulnerability to diabetes. Advocates of sit-stand desks say more standing would benefit not only health, but also workers' energy and creativity. Some big organizations and companies are beginning to look seriously at reducing 'prolonged sitting' among office workers. 'It's becoming more well known that long periods of sedentary behavior has an adverse effect on health,' says GE engineer Jonathan McGregor, 'so we're looking at bringing in standing desks.' The whole concept of sitting as the norm in workplaces is a recent innovation, points out Jeremy Myerson, professor of design at the Royal College of Art. 'If you look at the late 19th Century,' he says, Victorian clerks could stand at their desks and 'moved around a lot more'. 'It's possible to look back at the industrial office of the past 100 years or so as some kind of weird aberration in a 1,000-year continuum of work where we've always moved around.' What changed things in the 20th Century was 'Taylorism' — time and motion studies applied to office work. 'It's much easier to supervise and control people when they're sitting down,' says Myerson. What might finally change things is if the evidence becomes overwhelming, the health costs rise, and stopping employees from sitting too much becomes part of an employer's legal duty of care. 'If what we are creating are environments where people are not going to be terribly healthy and are suffering from diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes,' says Prof Alexi Marmot, a specialist on workplace design, 'it's highly unlikely the organization benefits in any way.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Switching From Sitting To Standing At Your Desk

Comments Filter:
  • victorian clerks.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @08:21AM (#46778027) Homepage Journal

    had to move around.
    they had no choice, really. they had to ferry around small slips of paper and cards.

    they had a boss who sat behind a desk in a comfy chair though, smoking a cigar while his secretary ferried him scotch.

    my reasoning is actually that all desktop work chairs just suck ass. a 10 dollar one piece plastic chair beats all of them - your ass doesn't sweat, you can lean on them, they don't roll out under you - they don't roll around their axis(this one is particularly annoying because WHO THE FUCK really needs a rotating chair?? that rotation and roller wheels are the worst fucking idea ever. I mea, who the fuck comes up with that idea and thinks it's a good choice for a worker who keeps constantly pushing on buttons on the desk and moving an object around the desk? ? fix problems for the 99% by removing the wheels, rotation and smelling cushion and let the hipsters have the stand up desks).

    the ten dollar seats just get bad rap because they don't have an upmark of 1000% at the dealer. just 700%. they last a lot longer than usual office chairs too. and the constant redesigning of the offices causes companies to stock up on cheapest(still very expensive to buy but cheapest option) shitty chairs because hey who would use an old chair with a new desk. end result is that people start thinking that standing up all day is the way to go...

  • by Scutter ( 18425 ) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @08:33AM (#46778097) Journal

    The whole hierarchy of office chairs has always baffled me. You have three general classifications of chairs (and they're usually labelled as such at the store): Executive, Manager, and Secretary. The Secretary chair always sucks. It's the cheapest model, doesn't usually have arms, has thin or no padding, and it's flimsy. The Manager chair is the most comfortable. It's ergonomic, has adjustable armrests, lumber support, etc. The Executive chair, which should be the most luxurious, is almost always the most uncomfortable but it's always covered in slippery leather. Other than that, it's straight-backed, never high enough for the desk, and heavy.

    It makes no sense that the degree of comfortableness that you are allowed to have is actually a class system in a modern office. I get that a business owner wants to control costs and expensive chairs are expensive. But wouldn't you want your employees to be as comfortable and healthy as your budget will allow? Why is a secretary less deserving of arm rests or lumber support than a manager?

  • by Jarik C-Bol ( 894741 ) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @08:37AM (#46778125)
    Indeed. On the rare occasion I have to man a register at work, within an hour, my back is spasming, and my legs are stocking up and getting stiff. I can work all day out on the floor stocking, lifting heavy cases, kneeling, getting up, up and down ladders with no problem, but standing in one place for an hour is brutal. I suppose if I had to do it more my body would adapt to standing still eventually, but it would be a miserable transition.
  • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @08:44AM (#46778165)

    Yeah, standing at the register all day was rough on my body at 16... I can't imagine how my [ahem] slightly older frame would deal with it. Back then I was a "stock boy" and was much more comfortable doing the manual labor than the standing-in-one-place routine of register duty.

  • by DamnRogue ( 731140 ) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @08:55AM (#46778261)

    I switched to a standing desk about 12 months ago. I'm a pretty fit and active guy, but I have a variety of knee and back problems from years of martial arts training. Particularly, I have patellofemoral arthritis ("theatre knee") that gets worse when I keep my knee bent at 90 degrees or less. On a friend's advice, I built a standing desk and gave it a whirl.

    The first two to three months sucked a lot. I could only stand for 1-2 hours at a time before my knees or feet were too sore to continue. I had to adjust the ergonomics of my workspace, particularly the height of my monitor, to avoid neck irritation. However, my lower back felt great for the first time in years. I kept going.

    Somewhere around the 90 day mark, all my aches and pains vanished. My feet stopped getting sore. My knees no longer hurt. My back feels better than it did when I was 20. My hip flexors are more mobile. I can now on my feet all day with no problem. Standing around at parties doesn't make my feet or back sore. I also lost 5 lbs with no effort because of the increase caloric expenditure.

    I'd recommend a standing desk to anyone with the willpower to make it through the transition. It's well worth it, in my opinion.

  • Weak? No, it is not. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by luis_a_espinal ( 1810296 ) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @09:21AM (#46778439) Homepage

    Even completely small things are unhealthy for the human body. The human body is absolute garbage, and it's yet more proof that "intelligent design" never happened.

    I don't believe in intelligent design either, but you are reaching waaaay too far up your rear when building criticism against ID. Saying the human body is absolute garbage is as dumb as saying God created the world in 7 days.

    A person can buy a Maserati, but i said person doesn't change the oil and let water and particulate go into the gas tank, the car will turn into garbage. The car wasn't garbage. The owner was a careless fool at best (and a f*tard at worst.)

    Human bodies are actually quite resilient, tuned by evolution to be cursorial predators. Capable of keep going under cold or heat in ways most animals would die. And that was already a fact before we eve invented clothing. Put the mind next to the body (which is what makes us human) then we have clothing, and a whole new set of capabilities emerge. There are plenty of historical footnotes of soldiers going on long after their horses, donkeys and oxen died of exposure.

    We can survive bacteria, viruses and parasites and wounds. We die of infections beyond a certain magnitude, similarly to most other Eukaryote organisms. If our bodies are garbage, so are the bodies of all Eukaryote organisms. I guess the only Eukaryote whose body is not garbage is Superman, but he is an illegal alien from Krypton so he doesn't matter.

  • by thesandtiger ( 819476 ) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @09:34AM (#46778529)

    I do development and I work a standing desk (and for a couple of years did a walking desk when I worked at home). I'm actually vastly more comfortable not just at work now but in the rest of my life since switching:

    - issues I had with sciatica went away
    - I am in better shape/have more endurance & energy
    - I sleep better
    - I used to feel like shit if I went on a 10 hour coding binge (sluggish and exhausted) but now I just feel pretty much normal

    It's only uncomfortable at first, but once you figure out good shoes to wear, good anti-fatigue mats to use and good posture it's much MUCH more comfortable (at least in my experience) and makes your non-work life better as well.

    At my office we have 5 people in our engineering team (some IT, some developers) who use standing desks and a few more who are considering making the switch. The oldest stander is me (42) so it's not just something 20-somethings can do.

  • by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday April 17, 2014 @09:43AM (#46778589) Homepage Journal

    I'd recommend a standing desk to anyone with the willpower to make it through the transition.

    And I'd recommend a sit-stand desk to anyone at all. Even if you don't stand all the time (I don't), being able to spend part of your day standing will make you feel better without discomfort, in fact being able to switch back and forth is more comfortable than sitting.

  • by aaarrrgggh ( 9205 ) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @10:16AM (#46778845)

    I'm 42 and I have been using a balance ball at my desk for 5 years. Love it; by its nature you are always doing small movements, posture is better, and my back problems have pretty much gone away. The pièce de résistance is that I can bounce on it to stay awake during boring conference calls.

    The only times I have problems with it is when I am doing high-intensity focused work on the computer and start to lean and cheat support by leaning over desk and resting more of my arms on the desk.

  • by ron_ivi ( 607351 ) <sdotno@cheapcomp ... m ['exd' in gap]> on Thursday April 17, 2014 @10:38AM (#46779071)
    Had a job that had conference rooms set up with hammocks in some rooms and couches in others so you could work from different posiitions. Seems healthier than just the focus on sitting or standing.

"The way of the world is to praise dead saints and prosecute live ones." -- Nathaniel Howe