Taking a Stand at Work (Literally)

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Posted by The Editors on September 8, 2011
Taking a Stand at Work (Literally)

In an office-wide meeting last month, we discussed the future redesign of our conference rooms. One of the ideas was for a small conference room without chairs. I shuddered at the idea of standing around a small conference table, leaning on it for support, and shifting from left to right foot to get comfortable. I can’t even deal with standing-room only tickets at a baseball game without whining. Standing for a meeting sounds crazy, right?

Turns out, standing at work is a new trend. The Wall Street Journal reported that many companies, including Google and Facebook, are allowing their employees to opt for a standing desk. The desktops are raised high, like a counter, and there’s an optional stool to lean or sit on, if necessary. Apparently, standing employees report feeling more comfortable and energized. 

As I read the article, I pondered (in my plush, ergonomically correct chair) the technicalities of standing for eight hours a day. It seems impossible. Besides being incredibly uncomfortable, we’d all have to reconsider our footwear. Goodbye heels, hello sneakers with arch support. It also sounds like a lesson in posture—I think I’d be leaning on the desk the whole day.

But I have to admit, the health benefits are enticing. According to the article, sitting for more than six hours a day leads to increased chances to die prematurely (Really?! Maybe I need to consider standing while watching TV too…). In addition, some further research led me to discover the act of standing up instead of sitting may help you burn as many as 50 more calories per hour, depending on your size. That’s a lot! For four hours of standing instead of sitting, you could burn off a Frappuccino.

The other main benefit to offering meeting rooms without chairs is that participants will get to the point faster, rather than spend hours in an unproductive conversation that has spun completely out of control. Forcing people to stand makes them more inclined to discuss the topic at hand and get back to work.

So I guess my company’s decision to offer a standing conference room is in my best interest. But as for giving up my ergonomic chair—I’m not yet ready.

What do you think? Would you prefer to stand at your desk? Do you already stand up at work? Let me know!

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