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Ask Slashdot: What Is the Future of Standing/Walking Workstations?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the join-the-army-and-you'll-see dept.

Programming 204

secretrobotron writes "As a developer who spends most of each day at the same desk in the same chair, I'm concerned about ergonomics and what I can do to keep my body from wasting away while I program. Some IT professionals have the relative luxury of being able to walk around on a headset, solving problems, installing equipment, etc. My utopia (albeit a pretty low-bar) is a world in which technology exists to allow me to walk about as I program. My question is, what's available? Are people working on mobile-programming in this way? Are there hybrid standing workstations which allow me to take advantage of pacing-enabled programming?"

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Treadmill desk (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40220165)

I was reading this today about someone's treadmill desk setup.

Re:Treadmill desk (1)

undecim (1237470) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220291)

I've been looking at setting up something like that as well. Though ideally mine would convert to a sitting desk as well. I've tried the standing desk thing before, but I found it difficult to play any skill-based game, such as an FPS while standing. I can't imagine walking can be any better for my accuracy.

Re:Treadmill desk (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221551)

I've tried the standing desk thing before, but I found it difficult to play any skill-based game, such as an FPS while standing.


I thought we're supposed to be working......

Re:Treadmill desk (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220439)

I have no idea how he can type accurately when walking. When typing on my phone it barely works, and there the keyboard moves with my hands - in that set-up the keyboard is fixed, making movement worse.

Re:Treadmill desk (4, Informative)

Kozz (7764) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220621)

I have no idea how he can type accurately when walking. When typing on my phone it barely works, and there the keyboard moves with my hands - in that set-up the keyboard is fixed, making movement worse.

I'm lazy and don't feel like digging up the link, but I recall an Instructable ( in which the author created a treadmill workstation. However, the treadmill was only set to move at something like 1.5mph. This is a very, very casual stroll at best. However, it does keep you off your tuchis and moving. You'll still be a long way from anything resembling "exercise" I suppose, and you won't burn a tremendous amount of calories, but it's certainly an improvement upon sitting all day.

Re:Treadmill desk (1)

TheTerseOne (2447418) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221199)

Perhaps he doesn't type while walking. Perhaps he has the treadmill stopped while he needs to type, but when it's time to read a PDF or be on a conference call, he fires it up and walks a little. "Checking e-mail and twitter" doesn't require much, if any, typing.

Re:Treadmill desk (2)

virgnarus (1949790) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220505)

I can start seeing companies adding these as incentives to meet quotas. The slower you write the code, the faster the treadmill goes. If you make a syntax error, that's an extra mph right there, and if your code fails to compile successfully in the end, your minimum speed for the next work week is increased.

Re:Treadmill desk (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220545)

Exercise? Bah. Humbug. (Bulls*$t!) I want the same setup I have at home:
- Laying down while I type.
- Ahhh relaxing.

Re:Treadmill desk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40220839)

Funny! (But ... grammar nitpick [] )

Re:Treadmill desk (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220813)

I tried reading while on the treadmill. It works.
Until the blood flows out of my head, and into my muscles, and I can no longer think. So I gave-up on that idea. The body is not really meant to oxygenate both muscles & brain at the same time.
Easier to cut meals in half,
if I want to lose weight.

Re:Treadmill desk (1)

zlives (2009072) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220913)

exercise brake every few hours... most employees at my workplace go for a walk every two.five hours or so.... i merely stand at my desk until i have to sit but then go to the gym 3 times a week... keeps me from getting worse.

Re:Treadmill desk (2)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221559)

Read that even doing daily exercise isn't enough to overcome the effects of sitting for an hour [] . The body puts metabolism way down when you sit. Boss just got me a stand desk so hoping this helps. If you get one, make sure you also get one of those checkout person mats to stand on.

Re:Treadmill desk (2)

goingToSay (1192935) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221143)

I've had a treadmill desk for about a year now. I started with a standing desk but found my legs got too stiff being still so I hacked up a $150 used treadmill. This has completely changed my work life. I had horrible back problems which made me question if I could continue as a developer. I had tried different chairs, desks, postures and had some success with software timers [] which forced me to move around every so often. After a few weeks of the treadmill desk my back was feeling better. After a few months all problems were gone.

I usually walk between 1-2 mph and have no problem typing and concentrating. The main drawback is that my work station is the treadmill desk and I can't sit. When I get tired I take a laptop to the couch (I work from home) but I'd rather be able to stay in one place were my good setup is. There are some desks which raise and lower mechanically which I plan to get at some point. [] ">This company has some but they are expensive.

With the addition of an arduino I also geek out with data from the treadmill.

Re:Treadmill desk (1)

a90Tj2P7 (1533853) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221209)

That's where something like an elliptical/exercise bike dual trainer can come in handy. Now you've got somewhere to stand and walk, sit down and pedal, or just sit down, all without going somewhere.

Re:Treadmill desk (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221229)

Hmm, isn't blood rush to the legs (and from the brain) will make it harder for you to think?

I really find it hard to think after/during an exhaustive exercise. Agreed, you don't need to be running at 10mph on this, but still.

For a more regular workplace, I think that the desk with easily regulated height, so that you can both sit and stand during the day + laptop, so that you can go outside or just lay down on a couch, is the best way to go.

Get a Geek Desk (5, Informative)

mrtwice99 (1435899) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220169)

I plan on getting a Geek Desk: [] It won't allow me to walk, but its better than sitting all the time.

Re:Get a Geek Desk (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40220227)

My spouse works at a major financial firm, and they let employees choose between a standard height desk and one that you can work at while standing. They give the "standing height" desks a tall chair, so they can choose between sitting or standing without changing their hardware.

I have seen some desks with a treadmill that fits underneath the desk, letting you walk and work at the same time. I'm not sure I could handle that situation.

Re:Get a Geek Desk (3, Informative)

neonfrog (442362) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221071)

There are many GeekDesks at my office. We like a height adjustable desk for a lot of reasons but primarily because tall chairs are rarely available in the broad ergonomic array that normal office chairs are. With a height adjustable desk you can use all kinds of things under the desk: a squishy mat under foot to provide some comfort and exercise when standing, a balance board or little stair-stepper thing (also standing), an exercise ball (sitting), etc. Sometimes I just want my feet on the floor or to use a footstool in front of me when sitting. No one has rigged up a treadmill yet, but it is only a matter of time. Height-adjustable is far more versatile than fixed height!

I would imagine (4, Funny)

james_van (2241758) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220175)

that slapping some wheels onto a standing desk and pushing it with your elbows while you type would accomplish the task. Not entirely sure what pacing-enabled programming is though.....

Re:I would imagine (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220271)

He needs to get a junior dev to push the desk from side to side.

Bonus points if you can pass it off to the PHB as pair programming.

Plantar Fasciitis? (3, Informative)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220201)

I was also interested in the idea of a standing desk, until I heard about Policeman's Heel (Plantar Fasciitis) and how standing all day can contribute to that.

Anybody in the know about that? []

Re:Plantar Fasciitis? (4, Insightful)

Loether (769074) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220383)

Planter Faciitis is a common overuse injury lots of runners get as well. Anytime you are using/overusing muscles in a way your body is unaccustomed to it can cause problems. Still, problems caused by exercise, usually have simple solutions, like easing up a little or adding a different exercise to compensate. Overall your risks of health problems are far greater from lack of exercise than from an overuse injury.

I say if you are interested in a standing desk, try it out, but have a backup sitting station as your body gets accustomed to it's newly used muscles.

Re:Plantar Fasciitis? (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221597)

Don't stand (or anything else) ALL DAY.

Move around.

I suggest sprinkling toddlers throughout the workspace. That would keep everybody on their toes.

Re:Plantar Fasciitis? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220483)

Standing bad, walking good. Our physical form made its last major changes when we were doing a lot of walking. Having a fucked up heel does not strictly prevent one from procreating, nor joint damage which tends to show up late in life, so presumably it will be some time before we evolve the ability to stand still for long periods of time before damage sets in.

Re:Plantar Fasciitis? (2)

Jahf (21968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220591)

Walking: good
Standing: not as good
Sitting: awful

No one who works at a coding job is going to find a way to truly walk all of the time. Not today (someday I easily see this happening and a few hackers could definitely speed it up). But doing anything you can to avoid sitting is going to make you healthier. Standing is the way to go.

Re:Plantar Fasciitis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40220853)

Walking all the time isn't good for you either. For many professions, worn-out knees is a professional decease caused by too much walking about. This was not a problem when people were lucky to reach 40 but today you still have a large chunk of your life ahead of you and you don't want every step to hurt. The best thing to do is to take short bouts of heavy exercise - not running of course! - and have a healthy and balanced diet.

Re:Plantar Fasciitis? (2)

Jahf (21968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220487)

The difference is:

1) Especially at a desk you can alternate regularly, which you should, which will vastly lower the risk.

2) Plantar Fasciitis sucks (I've had it) and can take up to a couple of years (since every time you walk you are possibly re-injuring it) to recover from ... but ... you're alive after those couple of years. Current research shows the amount of time we spend at our desks flat-out removes years from our lives.

Best solution: stand for at least 50% of the time.

Ok solution: stand for 100% of the time.

No solution: sit all the time.

Re:Plantar Fasciitis? (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220491)

Yeah, it feels like someone driving a spike through the sole of your foot.

Re:Plantar Fasciitis? (5, Informative)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220513)

ANY pose that you keep for long time is bad for you. Your body is made to move, to change position frequently.

To break the sitting posture, walking a few steps now and then is enough. Have your printer a few steps away making you get up to pick up a print-out is a great way to accomplish that.

Sitting all the time is bad. Standing all the time is bad. Lying all the time is bad. Especially when it's in the same pose. Having a good sitting/walking/standing posture helps a lot but it's no replacement for changing position every now and then. Ask any supermarket cashier that has to stand all day long on how demanding and tiring that is. Police constables have the advantage that they can walk around more, giving them more movement.

Re:Plantar Fasciitis? (1)

bazorg (911295) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220529)

Clearly the solution for office workers' woes is to have a desk setup that *allows* standing, without forcing it for longer than is comfortable. Last time there was this kind of debate on Slashdot, people pointed out that draughtsman chairs, coupled with a properly sized desk will allow comfortable sitting when that is preferable.

Re:Plantar Fasciitis? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220557)

The best solution would be to find a way to prevent wasting away while sat in a chair.

Re:Plantar Fasciitis? (1)

jj00 (599158) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220613)

I try to combat this issue by standing on a foam pad and breaking up my day by sitting on a tall office chair (called a drafting stool) once in a while.

Re:Plantar Fasciitis? (2)

ScottSClark (2655413) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220629)

I stand about 8 total hours each day, but never more for 2 hours at a time. Sometimes I sit to take a call. Other times it's walking around to talk to folks or sit in meetings. This is one of those times when "balance" is key. Don't *just* do one thing. Never just sit or just stand or just walk. The body wants to keep moving to spread the exercise around the body. I personally am at my worst when I'm not following a regiment, as I err on the side of physical laziness. But that's what Outlook is for. I typically try to space my meetings so they *don't* all happen at once, giving me time to sit, stand, walk, etc throughout the day. I'm not coding fulltime though. For that I'd second what someone else said: drafting table. They can get pricey, even used; however, if you get one that is easy to raise and lower, you can stand and sit on an hourly rotation. The good ones can bear a LOT of weight. Back in the day, I had my big CRT right and keyboard right on it and the pneumatic bore the weight just fine. So any modern device is gonna be effectively weightless for the table.

In bathroom (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220209)

If you manage to put all the gadgets in the bathroom, i would develop day and night, night and day.....

treadmill desk (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40220217)

The future? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220219)

The future will be a virtual reality where you sit back in your easy chair and do everything in your head.

Now, as to how far in the future??? Well, that's a question for another /. submission.

Re:The future? (1)

Bigby (659157) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220355)

I think that is the answer the post is looking for. When will programming leave the desktop? It has been there since people (well most people) stopped soldering.

When will we be able to program, just by thinking of it? Or speaking it?

The future is (kinda) here (5, Insightful)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220283)

I'm currently working at my treadmill. I've clamped a cheap-ass particleboard shelf to the thing, and I walk at a nice relaxed 2-2.5 mph while I work. It holds my laptop, tablet, and phone, with plenty of room to spare for a beer. Works wonderfully. Granted, I'm not actually going anywhere, but it's an excellent way to get a long, easy, steady level of physical exercise in without actually impinging on your productivity one whit. Between this treadmill and carefully tracking my intake (using a Fitbit,) I've lost nearly [30 pounds|14 kilos] since January.

As for mobility, we're beginning to hit the point where tablet apps can be used for real, if not necessarily heavy, work. Diet Coda is a good example. There's some nice connectivity out there, too: the company I work for uses Lync and Adobe Connect, both of which have surprisingly rich tablet apps available. If you do meetings and/or collaborative work, they're quite nice.

Re:The future is (kinda) here (1)

Tigris666 (197729) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220371)

Loving this idea. I just rebuilt my office to house the treadmill on the wall behind where i work, so anytime i want a break i can just jump on. As I read this I turned to look at it for a minute and yeah, it makes a lot of sense, I could quite easily strap some spare chipboard to the arms of it and sit my laptop on there without a worry. I just wonder if walking at 2mph will affect my typing.

Re:The future is (kinda) here (1)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220875)

It's easily an order of magnitude cheaper than the various uberdesks out there, to be certain, and it does the job quite well. The handles of a treadmill are already positioned at a natural height for the typical person. I'm using a pair of trigger clamps to hold the board in place, which works quite nicely--you can take the desk off in a matter of seconds if you want to do a proper treadmill workout, and pop it back on just as fast.

I walk at a good clip most of the time, so 2mph feels a bit slow--I'm up to a more natural-feeling 2.3 and still typing just fine. Wouldn't want to do too much precision work in Photoshop or Illustrator, but for plain old typing and point-and-click stuff, it's just fine.

Get a used drafting table (1)

trout007 (975317) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220303)

Here is an example in Orlando where I live. []

You can adjust height and angle. I work on one similar to this and I stand all day. It was tiring at first but is great now. The tops are removable so you can customize it to your hearts content.

In REAMDE... (1)

Vireo (190514) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220307)

In REAMDE, one of Stephenson's character is a prolific writer who is constantly active. He litterally lives on a threadmill. Being rich, he works in a room equipped with an industrial robot that supports keyboard, displays, and a head-tracking camera so that the whole setup is bobbing exactly in synchronicity with his head and arms.

I guess it *is* a solution. I'm just not sure anybody tried it for real yet.

Re:In REAMDE... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221657)

He also lives in a trailer park and is batshit insane.

But whatever floats your boat.

I want.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40220321)

A pony.

Just when you thought zombies were bad (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220325)

Now Introducing Walking Workstations with 2x Brain Eating Power (tm)

How about... (1)

boaworm (180781) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220337)

A warm pool and a waterproof laptop?

What's the whole picture? (1)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220339)

As a developer who spends most of each day at the same desk in the same chair, I'm concerned about ergonomics and what I can do to keep my body from wasting away while I program.

Our people here pretty much do the same thing. Hours on end in meetings or at a desk. Yet the fitness of the people varies wildly from morbidly obese, to triatheletes. Fixing your work situation may be part of the "wasting away" issue, but it's a small part. What you eat, and what you do during off hours in terms of exercise is likely to be a bigger part. As a desk jockey, you probably should be most concerned with repetitive stress disorders in the office, so your focus on ergonomics is good. Carpal Tunnel and the like. Focus on those first at work, then adopt a healthy lifestyle for your off-work time to solve the rest.

Re:What's the whole picture? (1)

supercrisp (936036) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221435)

A lot of recent research, which I will unkindly not cite, since you can get it with the Google, says that, no matter how much cardio you get otherwise, sitting at a desk all day is trashing your heart. Something about chemical signals sent from inactive leg muscles.

Yes, there is a way: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40220345)

The iPad.

Re:Yes, there is a way: (2)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220407)

The iPad.

Oh, and The Cloud. Don't forget about The Cloud.

Re:Yes, there is a way: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40220945)

Go back to VB Lan or F.Net toy.

Re:Yes, there is a way: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40220517)

No Cloud, just SSH & Vi. You are not a programmer.

Two computers (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220353)

Work on two computers at the same time, and have them be not near each other. While a command runs on the one, run to the other and do stuff there, and vice versa.

Been there, done that, but not because for the exercise.

Re:Two computers (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220663)

Work on two computers at the same time, and have them be not near each other. While a command runs on the one, run to the other and do stuff there, and vice versa

Shop for RAM?

Simple experiment (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220363)

I have a treadmill at home; I have a laptop; I have wood and saws and clamps and stuff. Doesn't take much imagination to guess what I tried years ago.

Results were it seems to be an almost stereotypical example of "sounds like a good idea but it doesn't work". I found walking made my arms/hands wiggle so much that mice/trackball were impossible, and even typing is hard. Also I stumbled a lot (insert jokes about can't chew gum and walk at same time here). Finally small detail is hard to see on a screen while walking, I found myself stopping to study error messages and find syntax errors.

If I could magically walk while it builds or while I think, that would be great.

Frankly I have a treadmill in front of the TV at home, and both socially and mentally I walk around at work every hour and go to the can or something. Since I work with guys who take ten minute smoke breaks every half hour, taking a five minute break every hour is actually a heroic effort on my part, I guess it depends where you work.

I did use the "laptop on treadmill" to watch videos and listen to music, worked pretty well for that.

Also the "whirr" noise of a treadmill would be pretty annoying 8 to 10 hours per day for me and my coworkers.

Natural Bobbing Motion Makes This Difficult (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220375)

The problem I've found with pacing-enabled programming or even reading is that if you're moving your body has a natural bob to it. What follows is that it is incredibly tiring to try to train your eyes on something smaller than a person on a screen. So while I can hop on an elliptical and watch TV, it's much more difficult to read and even more difficult to try to coordinate in a programming way. I have coworkers who use standing workstations that they can swivel to alternate to a sitting position and then can swivel further to be on an aerobics inflated ball. Personally, I don't see the benefit of this and it seems half the people who try it love it and the other half hate it. It is expensive, swiveling the monitor, having the space to be either standing or sitting in two different ways.

At work I'm allowed to walk around outside. If I am about to start a problem, I'll often go for a walk while thinking about the package structure (yeah yeah Java sucks, whatever) or pattern usage and then come back and sketch it out. But when I do serious cardio, I just do serious cardio. There's no room for me to be able to do that in tandem with something. Whether it's a treadmill or erg machine, it's just too involved and bouncing. Until displays that are anchored to your head become better quality and cheaper (maybe the Google goggles will do this?) it's just not going to work for me. Everything I've seen today is just too gimmicky.

I commented on this years ago [] and still firmly believe that proper wrist exercises are necessary and probably the most important workout for my lifestyle. Since then I've learned some more from friends: wrist curls, reverse wrist curls, wrist rolls and wrist rotations. You can google them to see how to do them with a bar or ask a professional at your gym to show you how to do it properly (doing them improperly can be worse than not doing them at all). I have one of the Gyro Wrist Exercise Balls but it's a loud little device and is usually annoying for those around you.

Re:Natural Bobbing Motion Makes This Difficult (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220563)

At work I'm allowed to walk around outside.

Must not work for Foxconn...

I commented on this years ago and still firmly believe that proper wrist exercises are necessary and probably the most important workout for my lifestyle

You and me, both. Er, wait...

Please ! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40220403)

Put you sneakers on and run 3 miles every day. Takes no more than half an hour. And your body will be in better shape and you can comfortably sit on your ass while programming.

Giant Ball "Chair" (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220415)

I've heard a number of folks tout the wonders of replacing your standard office chair with a big-ass inflatable ball.

Wouldn't know myself, the cube farm I currently occupy has a standing ban on anything that might be construed as personality.

Re:Giant Ball "Chair" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40220735)

big ass-inflatable ball.

What I read.

Anthro (1)

Jahf (21968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220427)

I've been using an Anthro (brand) Fit System (product line) Console unit (product name) for a few years now. As with other solutions posted already, you aren't going to get to walk with it, but it allows for quick switching between standing and sitting (the keyboard tray has a huge travel range). The product is rock solid after years and a couple of multi-state moves, so I am happy to endorse it.

If your paying from your own budget, Anthro isn't cheap (I spent over $4000 on a console with 3 shelves and some doodads), but go through their products and you'll find smaller solution that will likely work.

For standing, I just don't see you getting a truly free mobile desk. But ... with as advanced as text-to-speech is becoming, I'd be surprised if you couldn't rig a speech translator up and train it to recognize "code" words. I just hope for your co-workers' sakes that you telecommute :)

I think your best bet is probably hybrid: use pacing time as a way to brainstorm ... use voice dictation to take notes ... and then walk to a standing desk to start immediately working. Then if you have a long boring call or your back aches (my reason for getting the Anthro, lots of congenital back problems) swing it down to a sitting position for a break.

related: the Winnebiko (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40220447)

It's not exactly the same thing, but closely related, I hope most nerds have not forgotten the Winnebiko, a mobile workstation / bike first ridden in 1983. The guy has now branched out into other things like that.

Proper terminology, please (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220463)

I believe the correct term for standing/walking workstations is ROBOT!!!

Standing is good (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220471)

By itself, just standing is much better then sitting.

If you want to mix it up a bit, set up a treadmill. But try one out first (before buying). Some people have complained that they can't type or aim a mouse/trackball properly while walking. You might also want to try out a recumbent stationary bicycle. The seat might hold your body steady enough to eliminate the trackball shakes.

Wouldn't a Stationary Bike be easier? (2)

Bob535 (639390) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220493)

If you're doing it to keep fit, wouldn't a stationary bike be easier? The motion of walking is much more difficult to compensate for. A bike would also be lower impact, which would be better for something you are doing for a long time.

Not in IT (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220503)

You can only work while walking when you are a manager [] .

Not many good computer desks out there (1)

locopuyo (1433631) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220519)

I've been looking for a desk for the past several months and came to the conclusion that if I want something good I will have to build it.

I currently have 6 monitors and plan on adding more and there aren't any computer desks big enough to handle them. I also wanted the ability be able to use it as a standing desk as well.

I came up with a design to suit my needs but I haven't built it yet. Basically it is 2 desks. One is used for all of the monitors and the other is used for the keyboard, mouse, and whatever other input devices you may have.

Ideally your arms should be at a 90 degree angle which typically puts your keyboard around 28" or so depending on your height.
The center of your main display should be at about eye level. It is easier to look down so if you have a second row of monitors they should be below and angled at your eyes.

I came up with this design, but ideally there would also be some way to adjust the height to convert it into standing mode. concept image []

Re:Not many good computer desks out there (1)

trout007 (975317) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220671)

Look on Craigslist for a used professional drafting table. []

They are counterbalanced to handle heavy desktops. You can easily take the desktop off and put your own customized one on. They are not only adjustable in height but angle as well.

What Is the Future of Standing/Walking? (0)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220537)

My observations of the younger generations indicate that it's going to die out.

Where's the Easy button? (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220555)

Give it two years before Siri is adapted to understand programmer jargon. I'd like to walk around with a headset saying "she-bang slash bin slash bash -w"

Get Multi-level (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40220565)

I've been using a stand-up desk for over 10 years and am very happy with it. Mine is/was adjustable but I find that I leave it at the stand-up height and have a lab counter height chair for if I want to sit at the desk. My desk has multiple surfaces with adjustable levels - higher shelf for monitors, lower for keyboard/books/papers, etc... - I would recommend that rather than a single level.

What the fuck, slashdot? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40220567)

Seriously? What a fucking retarded question. Reflect for a moment, and you'll answer your own question. I suggest that you, as a programmer, get a gym membership and exercise either before or after work. Do you really think you can do your job effectively in any position other than sitting down? Have you imagined this scenario for more than one second? If so, you should probably have an answer to your own question. The reason everything you're imaginingg is awkward is because writing code for 8 hours in any position other than sitting at a desk IS FUCKING AWKWARD.

A year of standing (3, Insightful)

jbessie (325895) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220569)

I'm approaching a year at my standing desk. Here are the benefits I've noticed:

- I've got more energy
- I'm more productive, I don't seem to have that power down after lunch any more
- Less loitering around my desk as people can't seem to stand for very long
- Great conversation topic, people are extremely interested in the idea
- The most surprising aspect of this has been that sitting has actually become a relaxing break. It feels great to take a load off and I feel much less lazy about going home and watching a show or two since I've been up all day.

After some research I ended up using an Ikea Fredrik desk and it's worked quite well. [] I also picked up one of those anti-fatigue mats at Home Depot. It was too painful without it.

Other developers here at the office are now planning to transition as well too. I'd encourage anybody to give it a shot. If you can make it past the first week or two of leg and foot pain you should be fine. It's not that bad and the benefits are worth it.

the secret is (2)

fluffythedestroyer (2586259) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220617)

Just get your ass up and walk around for a couple of minutes (your break ?). Just go outside or walk around. Change your environment, the air, your surrounding for a couple of minutes, its free, relaxing and after a while, it will act like a drug. But you gotta start doing it and sometimes it acts like a car, it's slow to start this type of attitude, but once your doing it, you wont stop. besides, your boss cant make you work 12 hours non stop no break no lunch, that's just impossible and if thats the case, change jobs...seriously

Re:the secret is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221391)

I take breaks during the day and do push-ups and situps. This helps especially when I feel overwhelmed, the endorphins after doing push-ups helps clear my head so I can go back to solving problems.

We have a small server room which nobody goes in and there's just enough room inside for one person to exercise. It feels great to be able to work and work out all in the same 8 hour block. Just don't do it too much -- people at my job ask me what I'm doing in the server closet all the time...

Get a ball (1)

curunir (98273) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220707)

Get a balance exercise ball to replace your chair. Keep your chair for the first couple of months as it will take some time until your back is strong enough to sit on one for the entire day. In the end, the working position is just as comfortable as a chair but you spend a large part of the day working your core (not strenuously, but it adds up.)

These [] are the ones that many people in my office have (adjust size according to your height.)

Physical Multitasking (1)

rgbfoundry (1916834) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220741)

It's about as good as any multi-tasking. If you're really good, you can get away with it looking productive, but studies have show managing a single task at a time works best. You will get a better machine/body interface if you're not trying to walk around. You could argue that standing is slightly more healthy than sitting, but the counter argument would be that maintaining any position for prolonged periods is bad for you. I think we're moving toward a "Ghost in the Shell" machine interface where our electronics wrap around us. Just look at the Mad Catz Gaming Mouse, or the mind controlled gimmick electronics. We're working on interfaces that work around a sedentary body, and eventually we'll replace the parts of the body that have a problem with sedentary behavior.

focus on one activity at a time (1, Insightful)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220745)

When you write software, write software. When you exercise, exercise, hopefully on a daily basis. Mixing the two will degrade each.

COWs (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220763)

Doctors sometimes use COWs (computer on wheels) in patient rooms instead of notepads and pocket references (or memory). This practice seems to be waning, since tablets and tablet applications have improved. And the pocket reference has already mostly given way to PDAs and now smartphones. Real hospital-grade COWs are hundreds of dollars, but if you feel it improves your health and productivity then it's not any more ridiculous than a high quality chair that suits your posture.

And I thought... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40220791)

walking and texting was bad.

20/3 Minute Pomodoro with exercise (1)

Flammon (4726) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220799)

The point is to give your brain a break and move your body. Working while standing will do neither and you'll only get half the benefits if walking.

The best combination that I've found is work for 20 minutes then take a 3-4 minute break. During the break, do moderate exercises. My routine is 20 squats with 5lb weights, 6 burpees, 6 chin-ups, 20 jumping jacks and I finally run for the remaining time.

I've been doing this for a few months now and not only do I feel great, my productivity has more than doubled.

It's based on the Pomodoro Technique. []

Dreaming... (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220831)

Why do people keep dreaming of getting exercise from a desk job or of sitting in air-conditioned comfort while shovelling dirt?

The very nature of those jobs dictate their sedentary/active styles. If you want exercise, join a gym.

Personally the last thing I want in an office is some yahoo wandering around behind my desk, yapping on a bluetooth and tapping away at some tablet device because they want "freedom to move" while interrupting my ability to get work done.

Soft surface keyboards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40220865)

Hi my name is janne and i've been working on idea of making pillow with printed keyboard as virtual keyboard+ mouse... You could have that on your lap and "the leap", cameras or interlaced pressure sensors inside the pillow could work. Install workrave so it reminds you to stand up/ keep mini breaks. Buy small basket ball and throw it around during breaks. Also I suggested to dragon talk and google that they should do swipe+ speech recognition and use both data to do actually working input method. You could say "leftie","righty", "doubly" for clicks and use tablet or pillow mouse for pointer positioning. Standing too long won't be good for your back.

Hey, watch out for that... (1)

FridayBob (619244) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220871)

... bus.

Timebox the work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40220925)

in to 15 minute increments. Jump around and flex between. Let that code sprint commence. Your heart will thank you eventually as the eight hours of constant sitting will kill you according to some recent research. Even if you would run two hours between the workplace and home in the before and after the work that wouldn't be sufficient.

Agile Development (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#40220947)

As a developer who spends most of each day at the same desk in the same chair, I'm concerned about ergonomics and what I can do to keep my body from wasting away

So you are the jerk that isn't showing up to the stand up meetings we have twice a day?

Not (1)

whitroth (9367) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221057)

So, you want management to spring money for a treadmill, or whatever, in *addition* to your desk and chair? Just to add to the noise already, where so many jobsites are going for lower cube walls, because managers are enamored of "bullpens" (and how many of *them* don't have offices with doors)?

No, what comes next is the old Dilbert cartoon: Velcro on our backs, and they'll stick us to the walls for cheaper office space.


LifeSpan TR1200-DT Treadmill Desk (2)

wirefall (309232) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221095)

I've had this for a couple of months and it has significantly changed my health for the better. []

I have this setup next to my recliner. I use a splitter and dual monitor stands for both stations, so all I have to do is grab my wireless keyboard and trackball and move from one to the other.

I found fine control of a mouse while using the treadmill to be very challenging. I would definitely recommend using a trackball.

Sitting is killing me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221107)

Sitting increases your chance of dying:

Check these out, it explains how to build your own for $39.

The 'LifeSpan TR1200-DT Treadmill Desk' is a new product and is getting good reviews:

It'll happen soon (2)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221157)

I think within the next 10 years, this will be entirely possible. Medical researchers are making some great strides for mapping the brain and reading synapses firing from outside of the head. I think that as soon as it's practical, it'll be marketed like crazy, and it'll be a cheap technology very, very quickly. I think in 10 years we'll be thinking, instead of typing or using a mouse, and if you can program in your head as you walk/run, then sure, you'll be able to do it.

Recent article with video []

They've got most of it figured out pretty well. It's just a matter of refinement at this point.

Adjustable desk (1)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221189)

The right way is to work about 20 minutes while sitting and then another 20 minutes while standing.

For that you'll nedd one of those desks whose height can be adjusted easily on the fly. Just like ergonomical office chairs they are extremely expensive. I've had one when a was working at University in Scandinavia.

A tablet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221261)

When you can use a tablet and just get up and walk around. This is possible when reading docs, debugging with a graphical debugger, using a CASE tool etc. . Not so much when typing code.

"standing" chairs (1)

Dripdry (1062282) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221333)

I don't recall what they're called but there are "half-standing" chairs which help keep the body more engaged than merely sitting. Of course, the desk has to be taller which could be an issue, but it eliminates the bobbing and distraction of walking while also engaging the body a bit more.

I have had this chair concern lately too. I sit basically all the time now. I exercise, but my understanding is that it still isn't very healthy to sit this much.

What about the toilet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221355)

I suppose we could install fold-down desktops in the toilet stalls so you can be productive at both ends.

Re:What about the toilet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221381)

The name is Devol, Bill Devol. Anonymous no longer...

Ergotron (1)

ukemike (956477) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221455)

I got an Ergotron adjustable standing workstation earlier this year. I probably stand 4-6 hours a day and sit once my feet get tired. It was cheaper than the next cheapest adjustable standing desk by a factor of 2. I'm loving it. It clamps onto a regular desk and it has some internal counter weight so it glides up and down without fiddly cranks or buttons. []

I got it after hearing that sitting all day, even for people who exercise, is bad for heart health. []

John Medina uses his laptop on top of a treadmill (1)

Smigh (1634175) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221479)

John Medina is a molecular biologist, author of the book "Brain Rules". It's a great book, I bought the audiobook which is read by himself, I can't recommend it enough. Anyway, he uses his laptop on top of a treadmill in his office. His reasons are different than yours, they're about a connection between our brain's activity and certain kinds of exercise, and it's all in the book.

Just standing alone will have a big benefit! (1)

Anonymous Crowbar (692255) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221627)

A number of us where I work are cube dwellers. The good thing about most modular cube systems is the table rails run from floor to the top. It takes about 15- 30 minutes to convert a standard desk high cube to be an elbow high one. Will need a screwdriver & a hammer.
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