What Is Your Work Preference? Stand Or Sit?

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Stand or Sit

Update: I have completed 2 full weeks of alternating between standing and sitting while I work. In that time I have made some changes in my office to better accommodate the experiment. I work from home so you may not have the freedom to do what I have done. To give the whole ‘standing while you work’ experiment a fair trial I purchased a ‘technology pier’. It is not a proper standing desk, but it works just the same. The reason I purchased this unit was because in the event that the experiment failed and I went back to my old way of working, I could still use this piece of furniture in a useful practical manner. It is exactly the right height for working while standing and has 3 lower shelves to store things like printers. 

I have also done some additional rearranging to accommodate the second work station for my day job. Yes. I use 2 computers for my day job – not to mention the ones I log in to remotely. That’s a story for another post. Both of my day job work stations are now ‘standing’ work stations. At this point I am fully intending on purchasing another one of those ‘technology piers’ for the second computer. 

My personal computer is my ‘sitting computer’. From previous posts you already know I have my MacBook Air set up with an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse so it acts like 2 computers rather than one. I also use the ErgoPROP to elevate my Air so that both screens are at equal level. Since I have moved things around I now have considerable more work space on my ‘sitting’ desk. And… I have my iPad sitting next to this in its ZAGG case. 

At this point I would have to say that this experiment has been a success. I like moving around while I work. Since I work at home I find myself moving back and forth between standing and sitting fairly frequently so that I can address personal items as well as work items throughout the day. Moving around is healthier for both the mind and the body. 

So… have any of you tried this yet? What were your results? Does it work for you? Thoughts…? 

I have been reading a lot about people setting up their offices so that they can work standing up at their desks. This does not mean they stand all day. It does mean that they spend at least some of their time standing while they work. It seems to me that this is both healthy and logical. Create a way within your office space to alternate between sitting and standing while you work.

I am putting this to the test to see first-hand how it works and, more importantly, if this works for me personally. Since this is an experiment I am not investing funds in to new office furniture. What I am doing is creating a make-shift standing area using everyday household stuff. I have stacked up packages of reams of printer paper in combination with empty boxes and placed them on my desk to raise the levels of my computers so I can use them while standing. Looks crappy, but it will do the job for testing purposes. I also have an area that remains untouched so that I can sit down while I work. I will alternate between the twos spaces throughout my work day and see if I like it.

How about you… How do you work? Do you sit all day? Do you stand all day? Do you alternate? What do you think of the idea of alternating between sitting and standing while you work? 

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  1. Johnny Bravo says:

    Hi there Geek Girl. That should be an interesting experiment. I know for my office (work office, not home) I don't have much room to stand up while working but I try to use the printer at the other side of my office so I have to get up consistently to get my prints.

    Not only am I having to stand up and walk to get them, I'm using less paper because i don't want to walk over there haha.

    ~Johnny

    • Geek Girl says:

      Now there's an interesting side benefit I had not thought of…. save paper by making you go retrieve it from across the room if you choose to print. Having to go collect what you print at least gets you up and moving occasionally. 🙂

  2. findingourwaynow says:

    I actually do both. There are times that I can't really type and stand at the same time. However, when I am on the phone or a webinar I am often up and walking, talking and listening. That doesn't work as well when I'm on FaceTime, Google Chat or Skype… LOL. I find it really helps to get up and move around when time and opportunity is there. It helps with the thinking process for me. I can use all of that I can get… LOL

    • Geek Girl says:

      'Helps the thinking process' … another side benefit I had not thought of. 🙂

  3. Dan Meyers says:

    I'm pretty similar to Susan on this one… although I have put a milk crate up on my desk so I can stand and type on my laptop. I totally agree that are minds work best when thinking is used in concert with moving. Sometimes this can be really dangerous if we're thinking deeply or distracted (exhibit A: people walking into things while texting!), but I feel like when I'm stagnant too long my mind also becomes stagnant.

    • Geek Girl says:

      Interesting view point there. Stagnant position… Stagnant mind… I also agree that you must keep safety at the forefront – no texting while walking, not a good way to make friends. 🙂 I am having high hopes about this test I am doing. Maybe my creativity will flourish… that would be so cool.

  4. projectwhitespace says:

    Hmm..this is very interesting. My first question is, did you set this experiment up in your home or office? Because I don't think I could do a testing scenario like this at work. They would probably tell me it's dangerous or something. The computer might fall on my toe or something. :-)_But I would like to try it. I think standing and sitting both is a good way to go about it. Typically I sit at my desk. But there are times I do a lot of moving around–taking pictures, working on some new technology to see how it works–it's great when I get to do this because it means I'm not just sitting–i.e. getting stagnent like Dan said.

    • Geek Girl says:

      I guess I should clarify that I work from home so this experiment is in my home office. I would never get away with this in the main office. It would be frowned upon. 🙂

  5. projectwhitespace says:

    Here's another reason I think being able to stand would be better–I totally have a concentration issue. I am the kind of person who needs to be moving around a lot anyway. I think for that reason alone standing might make me more productive. Also, if I were standing, I would be more likely to do healthy stretches every so often, like touch my toes a couple of times to keep the blood moving and the legs limber. _You know, we have a person in charge of healthy posture workdesk stations. I should ask her about this. I think I just talked myself into it. 🙂 I liked this post. It was thought provoking.(P.S. I struggled posting this comment–your blog just wouldn't let me and then I saw the note that politely told me my comment was too long. Haha!)

    • Geek Girl says:

      You do realize that WordPress is not expecting your comment to be a post, right? LOL I would also be interested to know what reaction you get when you mention this at work. This whole idea came to me because of my reading it all over the internet. You can even get DIY instructions for creating your 'standing while working' desk. It's important to remember that standing the entire day is going to the other extreme. It's the mixture that seems to be trending right now. WordPress may think your comments are too long, but I enjoy reading your thoughts. 🙂

  6. The Management says:

    In a past (and perhaps soon to be current) life I worked in radio. As part of that, when it was time to voice ad copy or record news packages, I usually stood in the production studio. I enjoyed it. Standing helped to get the blood flowing and it kept my concentration sharp — as opposed to getting nice and comfy in a chair.

    • Geek Girl says:

      Seems like this standing thing has some merit after all, based on the responses so far. I think standing does encourage concentration. You can fall asleep in a chair. Pretty hard to fall asleep while you are standing, not to mention a little dangerous. LOL

  7. John says:

    This is a great idea. The more you can alternate between sitting and standing the better the blood circulation and muscle stimulation which improves health overall. Staying in one static position for long periods of time increases the risk of blood clotting and gaining weight. Another good way to move while sitting is to bounce you legs up and down on the balls of your feet. Some people do this naturally and it can seem like a nervous habit but it actually stimulates blood circulation and contributes to burning fat.

    • Geek Girl says:

      Your comment brings to mind the recommendations for flying for long periods. They tell you to get up and move around to prevent blood clots. I had not thought of the added benefit of not gaining weight. For me that would be a bonus! Also a good tip to move the legs while sitting. Thanks!

  8. namirusso says:

    You're going to laugh – well, if you saw me you would, but I push in my chair and use the back as an elbow rest and bend over the table. It's kind of hard to stand whilst working on a laptop since the sceen can't be eye-level. It's also hard to incorporate the word "whilst" but I guess they can both be done.

    • Geek Girl says:

      You are right. I did laugh. And congratulations! You did incorporate the word whilst in to the conversation. 🙂 BTW – I love reading your blog.

  9. Cheryl, it's definitely healthier to alternate between sitting and standing. Read somewhere that if you sit all the time you shorten your life:-)

    Seriously, have been active all my life and the worst you can do to yourself is just sitting, or lying, around. Look at what happens to old people when they get into that habit.

    • Geek Girl says:

      I have been thinking about that very thing… getting older and what will my body look like. I have a day job that is all computer and phone work. My blog is my 'other job'… all computer work. So when I began reading about how many people are incorporating alternating between sitting and standing while working I decided that I want to try it and see if it will work for me. My body is already showing signs of too much sitting…. not pretty at all. So I am looking to get healthier with healthier practices. Hopefully this experiment will provide good results toward that goal.

  10. Adeline Yuboco says:

    I do both. I recently read that for every 30 minutes of work, you should stand and move around for 10 minutes. It actually helps you become more productive at work and healthier too.

    • Geek Girl says:

      Sounds like my little experiment has hit on something solid and important. 10 minutes moving around per 30 minutes of sitting. Good to remember. 🙂

  11. joannerambling says:

    I spend a lol of time sititng on my big bum but I do get up and have a walk around from time to time…………

    • Geek Girl says:

      I know you do. You hang clothes out on the line. 🙂

  12. Susan Oakes says:

    I can only sit at my desk for about 30 minutes but haven't thought of changing it so I can stand and work. I usually get up and move about for a few minutes as it clears the head.

    • Geek Girl says:

      It would seem there are many benefits to alternating between sitting and standing and 'clearing the head' is one of them. 🙂

  13. namirusso says:

    Wow – good for you that you've found a working order between standing and sitting! Maybe a "Ninja Warrior" obstacle course is next to grab that PDF you just printed!

    • Geek Girl says:

      LOL I am not ready for that yet… but I bet I could lessons from the master!

  14. Cheryl, it's great to see someone as passionate as you are about both sitting and standing when you work. And even better that it works out so well for you!! Keep up the good work!

    • Geek Girl says:

      Thanks Catarina! 🙂

  15. projectwhitespace says:

    I'm glad you wrote an update. This was interesting.
    The lady in charge of these things at my work told me that she is waiting for our consultant to arrive and that she had not forgotten my request. So, I'm still waiting. I will let you know if anything happens.
    Your results makes me think I should do this at home though.

    • Geek Girl says:

      Do let me know if this works out for you at work. I will be very interested to know. Obviously you have much more freedom to set things up as you wish at home.

  16. joannerambling says:

    I don't work so doesn't effect me but what I will tell you is that I can only stand for short periods of time before I am in so much pain I can't stand it

    • Geek Girl says:

      I am so sorry to hear that. I am looking toward the future and I know if I do not make some changes it will be bad for me and my health. This was just one of them. 🙂 BTW – glad you are on the mend.