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Switching From Sitting To Standing At Your Desk

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the throw-away-the-tuffet dept.

Medicine 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.'"

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Weak (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46777945)

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.

Re:Weak (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46778101)

I'd like to see you do better.

Re:Weak (4, Insightful)

Kuroji (990107) | about 6 months ago | (#46778153)

Give me omnipotence and I'd be happy to take care of that for you.

Re:Weak (2)

Barsteward (969998) | about 6 months ago | (#46778835)

thats easy, make food and air pipes separate so we can't choke to death, improve eyesight/hearing capabilities, make teeth replace themselves just for starters

Re:Weak (4, Funny)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 6 months ago | (#46778235)

If our bodies are intelligently designed, it would be by Microsoft.

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

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about 6 months ago | (#46778439)

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.

Re:Weak? No, it is not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46778495)

We can also recover from wounds that similar animals die of, have a comparatively high tolerance for trauma and can maintain a reasonably fast pace for longer than most other animals. Unlike most other animals we can also eat on the move since we can carry food with us and are intelligent enough to do so.

Re:Weak? No, it is not. (2)

NotFamous (827147) | about 6 months ago | (#46778685)

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.

Actually his papers did finally come through. However, he is still on the no-fly list.

Hmm, not really. (4, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | about 6 months ago | (#46778787)

"Capable of keep going under cold or heat in ways most animals would die"

Can't let you get away with that. My dog can go out when its below freezing quite happily. I need 2 layers of clothing plus a coat.

As for heat, yes , we're slightly better adapted due to being able to sweat but that comes with a price - huge water consumption. Not very useful in a desert. Mr Camel solved the problem far better.

"We can survive bacteria, viruses and parasites and wounds"

So can most animals otherwise the most complex life would still be a sponge. And to use my dog as an example again - he can happily drink water from streams and puddles that would put me on the toilet for 2 days.

Don't get me wrong, I don't believe in ID anymore than anyone with an IQ greater than their shoe size, but as far as comparisons to other animals goes, the human body in the raw is pretty feeble. Even compared to our nearest cousin chimpanzees we're pretty hopeless physically - our muscles and bones are much weaker and they can survive falls from heights that would easily kill a human.

Re:Hmm, not really. (2)

bondsbw (888959) | about 6 months ago | (#46778947)

FWIW, the Genesis story clearly explains that humanity's fall into sin left us imperfect and subject to death. Arguing that we should be perfect is rewriting the story.

Re:Hmm, not really. (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about 6 months ago | (#46779013)

I wouldn't use the Genesis as a point of reference.

Re:Hmm, not really. (3, Funny)

bondsbw (888959) | about 6 months ago | (#46779079)

In a discussion about ID/creation, how could you not?

Re:Hmm, not really. (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about 6 months ago | (#46778993)

"Capable of keep going under cold or heat in ways most animals would die"

Can't let you get away with that. My dog can go out when its below freezing quite happily. I need 2 layers of clothing plus a coat.

That would be a fine counter-argument if I had said that we were capable of keep going under cold or heat in ways all animals would die.. But I didn't, so...

I mean, c'mon. The context is clear, beasts of burden, cattle, foodstuff and prey, most of the stuff we compare against from the POV of being (or close to being) apex predators. Of course there are animals with better resistance to certain temperatures. Huskies and Polar bears >> us in the cold. Camels >> us in desert-like conditions.

But when you take the range of environments we were able to adapt since primitive times as a context, and we take the animals we domesticated and/or hunted/displaced, the generalization (from where I utilized the word "most animals") still stands.

As for heat, yes , we're slightly better adapted due to being able to sweat but that comes with a price - huge water consumption. Not very useful in a desert. Mr Camel solved the problem far better.

"We can survive bacteria, viruses and parasites and wounds"

So can most animals otherwise the most complex life would still be a sponge. And to use my dog as an example again - he can happily drink water from streams and puddles that would put me on the toilet for 2 days.

Don't get me wrong, I don't believe in ID anymore than anyone with an IQ greater than their shoe size, but as far as comparisons to other animals goes, the human body in the raw is pretty feeble. Even compared to our nearest cousin chimpanzees we're pretty hopeless physically - our muscles and bones are much weaker and they can survive falls from heights that would easily kill a human.

Re:Hmm, not really. (2)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 6 months ago | (#46779007)

By picking out individual species you actually support his argument. He said most.

Re:Weak (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 6 months ago | (#46778623)

eh?

Assuming intelligent design for a moment, we were designed for stuff our ancestors were used to - running about and generally standing up.,

We were not ever designed to slouch in front of a TV/monitor with a little tool in our hands waggling it up and down (or side to side) pressing buttons.

So,much as I really don't care if ID is true or fantasy, citing proof of our sedentary lifestyles is not and argument against it.

Re:Weak (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 6 months ago | (#46778989)

'Weak' is your argument. Humans can perform acrobatics that any animal on earth would envy. They can balance with the best of them. They have learned to ride the thermals as well as a vulture. They have learned to think far beyond anything the animal kingdom can muster. Too bad you haven't picked up on any of those traits.

I'm not going to stand for this (5, Funny)

LQ (188043) | about 6 months ago | (#46777947)

Not with my knees.

You'll have trouble... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46778037)

...standing without them!

Re:I'm not going to stand for this (5, Funny)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about 6 months ago | (#46778445)

I once had a job that involved a lot of standing. One day the boss brought in some shoes for us to wear.
As we put them on one guy said "What's the difference? These are just regular old shoes," but it turned out they were actually orthopedic shoes, and so he said "Well then, I stand corrected."

Re:I'm not going to stand for this (2)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 6 months ago | (#46779039)

While ranked funny, I'm on board with you. I have arthritis in both knees. Standing for any length of time is excruciating.

Lying down instead of standing? (3, Interesting)

ron_ivi (607351) | about 6 months ago | (#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.

Well (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 6 months ago | (#46777955)

Your feet would get sore

Re:Well (1)

Xipher (868293) | about 6 months ago | (#46778091)

As opposed to your ass?

Re:Well (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | about 6 months ago | (#46778095)

No. Tall chairs exist. We used them all the time at our benches in the research labs. Part of the time you stand, part of the time you sit. Whichever is comfortable and works with your current activity.

Re:Well (2)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 6 months ago | (#46778641)

Some progressive offices have desks that can be raised or lowered with a little motor, so you can sit and then stand when you feel like it.

Typically the guys in the office would sit all morning and stand for part of the afternoon.

Re:Well (5, Informative)

cplusplus (782679) | about 6 months ago | (#46778653)

As someone who has been standing at a desk for the last 2+ years (programming), I can attest that a really good foam floor mat helps a lot. They make some specifically for standing desks that are quite comfortable. Standing on it in your socks actually feels pretty good. It does take a couple weeks to get used to standing most of the day.

Not sure how standing up would solve anything... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46777979)

...when the main problem isn't really sitting down, but being STILL in the same position hour after hour.

Re:Not sure how standing up would solve anything.. (5, Interesting)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | about 6 months ago | (#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.

Re:Not sure how standing up would solve anything.. (3, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | about 6 months ago | (#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.

Re:Not sure how standing up would solve anything.. (2)

Reapy (688651) | about 6 months ago | (#46778755)

I recall continual sore feet all summer from my walmart job at around 19 years old, I can't imagine what this would do to me now.

Re:Not sure how standing up would solve anything.. (1)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | about 6 months ago | (#46779109)

We got standing desks a few weeks ago. I stand for a few hours in the morning and a few in the afternoon but sit for lunch. I find that it works best to shift slowly from foot to foot and rock back and forth a bit. I also switch up my stance between wide and narrow and even stand on one leg now and again. You might thing that sounds distracting but I feel more focused while working than I do sitting down.

Re:Not sure how standing up would solve anything.. (2, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 6 months ago | (#46778167)

And the links to your peer-reviewed studies are... where?

Re:Not sure how standing up would solve anything.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46778365)

Perhaps this individual is unique, and has no peers.... didn't think of that did you huh?

Re:Not sure how standing up would solve anything.. (2)

swillden (191260) | about 6 months ago | (#46778219)

...when the main problem isn't really sitting down, but being STILL in the same position hour after hour.

This is why it's not a "standing desk" but a "sit-stand desk". The idea is that you alternate between sitting and standing, changing position every hour or two.

Re:Not sure how standing up would solve anything.. (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 6 months ago | (#46778249)

You could install a threadmill behind your desk.

Re:Not sure how standing up would solve anything.. (2)

Barsteward (969998) | about 6 months ago | (#46778859)

you going to do some sewing as well?

Re:Not sure how standing up would solve anything.. (3, Insightful)

s0nicfreak (615390) | about 6 months ago | (#46778837)

Yep. The problem is the "work day" not the desks. It doesn't matter if you spend those hours sitting, standing, or switching between sitting and standing because you're going to be sitting or standing at the same desk, in a similar position (or in two positions) all day every day. .

I think we need to let go of the idea that jobs must be done from 9 - 5. Let people telecommute and get their work done whenever is best for them. A person can go biking, then sit in a park and do work one day; take a walk to starbucks and work from there the next; then spend the day playing with their kids and do their work at night, sitting in their bed. I don't understand why, despite the fact that technology makes this possible (and the fact that most hourly jobs can now be replaced with computers and/or machines, or are outsourced) we switched to treating salaried jobs the same as hourly jobs, where you get paid because you are there at your designated time rather than because you get your work done.

Re:Not sure how standing up would solve anything.. (2)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | about 6 months ago | (#46778863)

Yeap. I worked a summer on a sorting line in a recycling facility. Standing still on hard flooring is brutal. Even adding rubber mats didn't help a ton, and good shoes weren't really an option since we needed steel toed boots.

The thing that helped the most? Dancing. We put on music and danced while we sorted and it was light years better than just standing still.

Im on a wheelchair (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46777981)

You insensitive clods!

Awesome. Perfect excuse to give us less space... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46777985)

Wonderful. This is the perfect excuse to give workers even less space. We already are dealing with getting less space as companies move into "open" environments (wonderful how the top level execs still get offices though...)

But now companies can use this as an excuse to squeeze employees together even more. Someone please explain to me why companies are ok with making employees feel like they are stuck in a roach motel, but are not cool with them telecomuting, especially when a lot of folks can do their jobs from any location.

Re:Awesome. Perfect excuse to give us less space.. (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | about 6 months ago | (#46778137)

Quit complaining and get back into your work cupboard you!

Re:Awesome. Perfect excuse to give us less space.. (2)

Bryan Ischo (893) | about 6 months ago | (#46779159)

Because most telecommuters are do-nothings, which is why they are just as "effective" at home as they are at work?

I'm only being slightly facetious here. In my experience, home is almost never a place conducive to doing good work, way too many distractions and way too disassociated from the normal work environment and its easy access to communication with co-workers.

I say this having been a telecommuter myself for a time (not by choice, but by circumstance) and finding it demoralizingly difficult to be effective, and seeing the same thing in just about every person I've ever worked with who was a telecommuter.

Sure I've worked with people who still managed to get good work done from home; but in every case, those were the superstars who actually got *more* good work done at work. Working at home took away some of their productivity as it does for everyone else I've known, but they were so good to begin with that it just knocked them down to better-than-average instead of superstar status.

Well that's my opinion anyway.

How do you get any work done sitting down? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46777993)

I am a computer repair tech and I can't imagine sitting most of the day. In a 9 hour shift, I am usually standing for 8 hours of it. I'd be pretty unproductive if I was only working on 1 or 2 computers at a time in front of me. I work on at least 5 computers at a time, constantly shifting up and down my bench. Think of all the time it takes for hardware test scans to run, virus/spyware scans to run, windows updates to run. But yet if you miss clicking "OK" the computer is sitting idle.

There's a great deal of time all 5 computers I'm working on are scanning, so I'm walking over to test machines to test customer returns (like hard drives and memory) or doing data backups. Plus I have to check in parts that come in and ship out online orders. Then I have to place orders for new parts, answer the phones, and keep the place neat and tidy. There's also breakdown/stripping/sorting of e-waste that comes in for recycling to do if I'm idle.

I'm sure I do about 10 times the amount of work in a day as a tech who sits at a desk all day.

Re:How do you get any work done sitting down? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46778087)

Physical work, maybe. Unless you think that solving problems mentally does not count as work?

Re:How do you get any work done sitting down? (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | about 6 months ago | (#46778145)

I imagine he means a tech in the same line of work as he is, who's workflow involves sitting in a chair watching scans finish.

Re:How do you get any work done sitting down? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46778233)

With all do respect what do you think I do? Computer repair certainly does involve mental work. What causes this blue screen, why can't this registry value be updated, where is this file loading from, why can't I get on the Internet? All of this requires focus and concentration to figure out, all of which I can do standing just as well as sitting. In fact, it's easier to walk over to a working machine in a clear area and Google® for answers, than to try to sit at a desk with another monitor or screen crammed in somewhere to lookup the answers.

Re:How do you get any work done sitting down? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46778285)

I think you do both, but there are jobs (like programmers) than are almost entirely about solving complex problems with the mind. Repairing PCs just doesn't involve the same level of problem solving.

Walking yes, standing no. (4, Insightful)

evanh (627108) | about 6 months ago | (#46778005)

Doing some full stride walking every day is the bees-nees!

Standing isn't going to give you anything more than sore feet.

Re:Walking yes, standing no. (4, Informative)

sdoca (1225022) | about 6 months ago | (#46779173)

Agreed. I can walk for 4-5 hours and my body isn't sore, but an hour of standing is brutal.

I'd rather die young (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46778015)

If going to work becomes like going to gym class then I will not go to work.

Let's mandate rice cakes and kale for lunch while we're at it! Idiots all.

This would go over so well on IT (2)

Draugo (1674528) | about 6 months ago | (#46778019)

Seriously, I'm a programmer at least in part because I want to be as comfortable as possible during work. It's not a huge reason but it's a reason non the less. If I in any way liked the idea of physical discomfort during work I would have gone to do construction or something else instead of programming (the pressure and responsibility as a programmer/designer in a small or medium sized company is insane, you really need to like this job to do it).

Re:This would go over so well on IT (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | about 6 months ago | (#46778081)

"Fuckin' A!" [blogspot.com]

Re:This would go over so well on IT (5, Interesting)

thesandtiger (819476) | about 6 months ago | (#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.

wait what ? (1)

Stéphane V (3594053) | about 6 months ago | (#46778021)

You need a research,reports and studies for this ? really ? Whats next ? Am I gonna learn that using too much salt on my food is bad for my health as well like those precooked food at supermarkets ? /sarcarms. Seriously, standing is not better as well. You just have to move more. I do have a good job for that which is a computer technician so I move around all the time, get under desk. True I do sit but not all day long for all week. The "secret" is to find a way to move from time to time...and do exercices out of work. if you can do that, you got more chance of being in better health rather than the person who doesn't.

Re:wait what ? (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about 6 months ago | (#46779147)

Thank you! No one wants to look at the actual problem - inactivity. You need to move around. But the problem is you will cut into productivity because that means people need to be away from their desks. This is nothing more than an attempt at a silver bullet. It won't fix the problem but it will give the appearance that they're doing something.

victorian clerks.. (1, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | about 6 months ago | (#46778027)

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...

Re:victorian clerks.. (3, Interesting)

Scutter (18425) | about 6 months ago | (#46778097)

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?

Re:victorian clerks.. (4, Informative)

bws111 (1216812) | about 6 months ago | (#46778539)

I think you're over thinking this. Executive, Manager, and Secretary are just the names for styles of chairs, not some kind of hierarchy or (current) intended use.

Secretary chairs, I believe, are not named for the person currently known as an administrative assistant, but for the piece of furniture called a secretary. A secretary is a tall cabinet, the lower part is drawers, the upper part has glassed doors to display knick-knacks, china, whatever, and in between is a fold-down panel that makes a desk. This piece of furniture would be prominent in a house. When a person wanted to write a letter, etc, they would drag a small, lightweight stool to the secretary and fold down the desk.

In the days when most people worked in factories, the only person with a desk was the manager. Hence, a 'manager' chair is basically any desk chair.

The executive chair is mostly to show that the person sitting in it is important, hence the leather.

Re:victorian clerks.. (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 6 months ago | (#46778115)

But, everyone aspired to be that cigar smoking boss, so everyone getting "comfy" chairs was progress, right?

Re:victorian clerks.. (1)

Vyse of Arcadia (1220278) | about 6 months ago | (#46778345)

I inherited a cushioned rolling chair when I inherited my desk, and it was awful. It was heavy and bulky, which is a problem when you share a small office with three other people. And jesus christ was it uncomfortable. When I couldn't take it anymore, I found a simple wooden chair unused in storage somewhere, swapped it out, and never looked back. It's comfy, I can lean back, there are no arms to get in my way (who needs a chair with arms at a desk anyway?), and it's small enough to comfortable slide into my desk when my officemates need more space.

Cheap chairs ftw.

Re:victorian clerks.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46778403)

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

I think you (and others) are mssing the point. The "Victorian clerks" poprtrayed as an example had high desks and stools. This allows easy transition from sitting to standing and back as you feel. I worked 15 years like that, at a drafting table with a stool (w/ padded seat and arms) ,and I can assure you it was far more comfortable than doing engineering sitting at a low desk in front of computer screens like I do now.

Re:victorian clerks.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46778471)

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

Like you, I too get all my history from the movies.

Re:victorian clerks.. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 6 months ago | (#46778727)

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).

Well, I use my rotating and rolling chair all the time. Besides the value to sysadmins, which I have found to be significant, it's pretty much mandatory for anyone who has a filing cabinet right next to their desk. I also sweat in plastic chairs, maybe because I am fat. Still, it's true. Actually, I found this to be true way back when I was a child, when I was not fat. That didn't really happen until Jr. high.

The only office chair I know of which is worth one tenth of one shit is the Aeron. It's still one of the most ergonomic chairs around in spite of not actually having been designed to be particularly ergonomic. The goal was to create "the office chair of the future" and obviously in the future, your chair should be fully adjustable. As it turns out, there's many different body types and sizes of human, so full adjustability is what's needed for ergonomics. I literally sit down in this chair when my back hurts. The combination of good posture and good lumbar support is unbeatable. And I bought my Aeron used, so I didn't get completely mauled on the price. And it doesn't have cushions to stink up or make you sweat, either.

If you spend a lot of time sitting in an office chair, you want an Aeron. I don't care how much markup they have. Of all the shit that startups wasted their money on back in the dot-com bubble, the chairs were the least senseless.

Re:victorian clerks.. (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | about 6 months ago | (#46778735)

We have 'L' shaped desks and the high traffic carpet. If someone comes to my desk to ask a question, I use the wheels to back away from the computer and the rotation feature to turn and face them.

It would be quite annoying if our chairs did not have these features.

Re:victorian clerks.. (4, Interesting)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | about 6 months ago | (#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.

Victorian clerks (1)

mutherhacker (638199) | about 6 months ago | (#46778031)

Of course Victorian clerks stood and moved around a lot more. They had to go bring the file from the file cabinet or go refill their Ink etc. Go light the candles on the chandelier etc. There was a bunch of different things to be done away from the desk so perhaps someone who moved around so much would consume more energy if he actually sat.

Pseudoscience at it's best. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 6 months ago | (#46778033)

There is zero real proof of this. Where is the 20 year study comparing the office workers to the shop workers? This is as bad as all those GNC studies on how their products make me healthier.

Re:Pseudoscience at it's best. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46778259)

I basically wait until there's overwhelming scientific consensus before caring. People with an agenda will seem to always cite studies they agree with (like Fox News citing studies that say marijuana is more unhealthy than previously thought, and skipping over the flaws, or some pro-marijuana guy citing studies he agrees with while also skipping over flaws in the study itself), and many studies have numerous flaws or things that weren't considered, so it's best to wait until the science is settled.

It is indeed healthier simply to stand (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46778067)

And, it doesn't matter if you are moving much at all.

Sitting in almost all but perfectly designed, custom fit chairs has all kinds of direct physical effect on your body including circulatory and respiratory changes.

Here are only a very few of my sources:

Circulation in general: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2094039,

Blood pressure: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/70/4/533.full.pdf

Back problems: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9383867

Not ergonomic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46778079)

The straight chair that we all use for sitting, is not ergonomic. You put too much pressure on the back of your thighs and their vascular system, and it skews your blood pressure. People with thin legs and lack of supporting muscle are more susceptible to health issues from prolonged sitting.

Re:Not ergonomic (2)

DriveDog (822962) | about 6 months ago | (#46778189)

Yep. Tilt the back and the seat backwards, shift much of that weight resting on thighs to back. Straighten legs out and rest feet on something tilted towards you.

Cynic (2)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 6 months ago | (#46778107)

>> Advocates of sit-stand desks

Sorry, I read that as "vendors of sit-stand desks"

Seriously, does anyone still work at a tech job crappy enough where they care if you sit, stand or bounce around on a pregnancy ball all day?

I'd love to give it a go (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 6 months ago | (#46778127)

I'd love to give it a go ... but I think in trainers rather than work shoes!

1 year now and it's been great (1)

profBill (98315) | about 6 months ago | (#46778143)

I got a standing desk about a year ago and it has been great. I have a pretty small office and manage to fit in a standing desk and a small, "sitting" desk. Coding/writing when standing is actually pretty good, but you do get tired at which point you sit down for awhile. I have a simple setup with a laptop so if I sit I can still work. While standing you just naturally move around, shifting your weight etc. so you get some constant movement in. Some tips:
  • get a good, solid standup desk, one you could lean on. There's a lot of cheap crap out there. Mine is a 4'x3' wood top, lots of space. Something like this [google.com] but not this [google.com]
  • get one that's adjustable. There are all kinds of weird things out there (motorized for example), but mine has a simple crank to set the height. It isn't clear for awhile what the height should be and you should be able to adjust it.
  • get a standing mat. I just picked one up a Sears like this [sears.com] but you can get one anywhere. This made standing a lot easier. In the beginning, my feet hurt much more than anything else

By the way, I'm 57 and have had operations on both knees. Not a problem.

Re:1 year now and it's been great (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 6 months ago | (#46778183)

Why do you need a stitting and a standing desk? just get an engineers or draftsman chair and sit at standing level when you need to.
Or go all out and buy the power up/down desks. I prefer the tall stool chair that way I can change it up as I need.

Re:1 year now and it's been great (1)

profBill (98315) | about 6 months ago | (#46778277)

Good question. Actually I had the sitting desk already so it was kind of natural to keep it .For example, when I'm meeting with people it is convenient to sit and talk.

However, I have to say that when discussing code, it is really nice to be standing as it is easier to gather around the screen with others and look at things. I'm a prof, so this is great for teaching a couple of people at once.

Also, I had some extra money at the end of a semester and bought a muvman [amazon.com] stool. It is really great . The center post sits in a stiff ball-and-socket joint at the bottom and allows you to move around while you kind of sit/lean. Only thing is the price.

$559 chair? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46778713)

That muvman is $559. I don't know a company anywhere that will spend that kind of money unless you have a medical condition. As someone mentioned, buy a good stand up desk. Once again, what's the cost of that?

Most complaints you'll hear from office workers are in regard to cheap furniture. Me, I found a 1950s office chair on Craigslist and I bring to everyone one of my jobs. $50. It doesn't pretend to be ergonomic, but it's solid and I can sit on the edge when I type. The new chairs all have a slanted front that, when I type at the edge, falls our from under me. I don't have back problems at all. In fct, the only time I had back problems was when an ergonomics expert set up my desk. NUmb hands and back pain.

Re:$559 chair? (1)

LDAPMAN (930041) | about 6 months ago | (#46778833)

$559 is actually on the low side for ergonomic office chairs. Ever priced an Aeron? A low end model is $899 on Amazon right now. I've been in many companies where these are standard equipment.

http://www.amazon.com/Aeron-Ch... [amazon.com]

Classroom (4, Insightful)

Tokolosh (1256448) | about 6 months ago | (#46778147)

This should be extrapolated to the classroom. In particular, to boys in elementary and middle school.

Open both eyes, and quit squinting! (2)

DriveDog (822962) | about 6 months ago | (#46778157)

I don't know about you. I can walk at any speed all day long, and it feels great, but standing still gets uncomfortable quickly, and my back starts giving me problems after just a few days of that. I still have minor foot issues left over from working in a retail department store for just a couple of years, 30 years ago. So no. No standing desks for me under any circumstances. You're welcome to one. I'm going to be up walking around every 30 minutes and frequently pacing around the cube farm to think, but I'm going to sit while I'm not walking. And I expect a decent chair to go along with a decent monitor. What we all really need is a half hour of walking every 2 hours. The productivity of the sitting time would increase at least enough to offset the time walking.

Re:Open both eyes, and quit squinting! (2)

MrNemesis (587188) | about 6 months ago | (#46778691)

Same here - standing gets very uncomfortable very quickly for me, but I can happily walk up hill and down dale until the cows come home.

I no longer smoke, but I still take fag breaks at work just to give me a reason to stretch my legs and have some mental downtime once every hour or two. Pacing around is great for thinking, but for doing I need to be sat down.

Important detail (3, Funny)

Katatsumuri (1137173) | about 6 months ago | (#46778201)

You must also grow a mustache, otherwise it only changes your sitting-down-still problems to standing-up-still problems.

I recently switched. couldnt be happier. (5, Insightful)

nimbius (983462) | about 6 months ago | (#46778205)

I switched to a standing desk last tuesday, and found my company supported the idea as part of our wellness initiative (I got free fruit for deciding to do it.) The first two days were kinda rough, but afterwards it just becomes a normal part of your day. What i was surprised to find was im way more refreshed at the end of the day, and find it a lot easier to communicate with people who are at my cube than if im sitting.

A few other coworkers do a 'part time' standing desk by elevating their normal work surface using cardboard boxes from the datacenter. im also told a stress relief mat helps make the transition a lot better. Either way, I dont see myself going back to a sitting desk anytime soon.

Re:I recently switched. couldnt be happier. (1)

YalithKBK (2886373) | about 6 months ago | (#46778595)

I agree with being able to feel a difference. I work in a research lab and my time is split about 50/50 between computer and benchwork. On the days that I sit at my computer for the entire 8 hours I feel more sluggish and tired. But they days where I am at the bench even 5 out of my 8 hours, I leave feeling more awake and less stiff. I would love to get a standing workstation or even a treadmill desk for every day use!

Bad Example... (2)

mighty7sd (1233176) | about 6 months ago | (#46778211)

It's a bit narrow-minded to compare any work being performed today to work that was performed 100 years ago. There were almost no knowledge workers then. Factory work was the norm. We have advanced to using our brains more which requires concentration and less movement distracting us. By all means, get up and move around more, but I think looking to the past is faulty.

I switched from sitting to standing. (5, Interesting)

DamnRogue (731140) | about 6 months ago | (#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.

Re:I switched from sitting to standing. (4, Interesting)

swillden (191260) | about 6 months ago | (#46778589)

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.

Re:I switched from sitting to standing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46778605)

I agree with this.

I'm a software developer and I switched 2 years ago. It took some time to adjust - mostly feet getting tired. Now I wouldn't go back, I find sitting for any length of time uncomfortable. Standing with a properly organzied workspace is key. With the right ergonomics, no back pain at all. I can sit when I need to give my feet a break (a few minutes) and I move around a lot more.,.. I would never go back to a sitting desk job.

AC

Not Okay. (5, Funny)

fellip_nectar (777092) | about 6 months ago | (#46778327)

No, it's not okay because if they make me, if they, if they make me, me stand then I...I'll...I'll have to, I'll set the building on fire...

Standing/Walking desk (1)

thesandtiger (819476) | about 6 months ago | (#46778329)

When I switched from working in an office to working from home for a couple of years, I went to a standing desk and then to a treadmill/walking desk.

Took me about 3 days to get used to standing all the time - as in, able to do it without feeling too much pain in my feet at the end of the day.

The walking desk took about a week to get used to, at first I could only read emails etc. while walking, but after I got used to things I was able to do 4MPH indefinitely while doing basic stuff, and about 2.5MPH while doing stuff that required a bit more precision with a mouse etc. Put it at a 5% incline and it's not a bad workout. My best day was 20 miles.

I wound up losing some weight - 10 lbs. - which wasn't strictly necessary but wasn't a bad thing. My productivity took a hit at the beginning but got back to normal after the first couple of weeks. My energy level went up dramatically after the first month and my general sense of well-being was much improved. Even better, issues I was having with sciatica went away and I would sleep much better.

At my current job I am at a standing desk all day and while it's not nearly as active as my walking desk, it's still working for me.

Some research suggests that it isn't that much better for you (or at all better for you) than a sitting desk, but my personal experience defies that; I'd recommend trying it for a month - commit to it - and see how it works for you.

Weird chairs (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 6 months ago | (#46778367)

Does anyone still use those radically uncomfortable Scandinavian chairs where you sit on your knees? Back in the Seventies, having one of these was synonymous with being the office crank.

Me me me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46778473)

I sometimes spend a day coding while standing, but couldn't do it every day, as the second day starts to hurt my feet... And I've tried a few different shoes (sandals) that were supposedly created for prolonged standing. Didn't help thou...

Been doing it for a while, like this. (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about 6 months ago | (#46778485)

Switching From Sitting To Standing At Your Desk

I started doing that a few weeks ago, and the benefits have been enormous. My setup is nothing fancy, just some props and books to elevate my keyboard and trackball, like this:

http://bit.ly/1j6DFbN [bit.ly]

I got inspired by Marco Arment's DYI soda-can standing desk [pinterest.com] . I was struggling for a while thinking "what should I buy, how can do this". Arment's solution is so simple that inspired me to use whatever I had on my desk to put together a solution.

I'm thinking to build something similar with aluminum cans. But I do not drink soda, only beer, and I do not know if a standing desk made out of beer cans would be corporate appropriate :)

Anyways, my sciatica is not bothering me that much anymore since I started working standing. Once in a while I sit down (and I always sit down when I have to read a paper or report.) But I do most of my coding standing. The key part for me was to get a trackball for my set-up, to save elevated real-state.

In addition to the health benefits, I think coding standing helps me focus better. Entirely subjective of course.

Later, I plan to build a wood standing desk for my 5-year old daughter. I hope I can get her into the habit of doing more of her homework standing than sitting.

This is office fascism. (1)

Roxoff (539071) | about 6 months ago | (#46778665)

They'll be wanting us to take the STAIRS next. It's almost like exercise.

I'm a coder who stands all day... (3, Informative)

cplusplus (782679) | about 6 months ago | (#46778715)

...and I've been doing it for over two years now. I used to experience back pain when I sat all day, but that went away after a month or so. I used to get sleepy after lunch when I sat all day... not so much anymore. You really do get used to it. A few suggestions for those who want to try it:

1) Make the switch the first day you get back from a longer holiday and are already out of your normal routine.

2) You *must* get a nice floor mat, preferably a dense memory foam mat designed for standing cubes. Working in your socks (if your employer will let you) while standing on said mat almost feels like a foot massage.

3) Another *must* - don't get a desk-height chair! At least, not for a while. You'll find yourself sitting way too often and never get adjusted to standing all day. Most of my fellow "standing" co-workers that have tall chairs sit at least 80% of the time.

4) It takes a couple weeks to get used to standing. Stick with it.

The problem is being at a desk all day (1)

Subm (79417) | about 6 months ago | (#46778805)

"'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.'"

If you look at any time in the past million years of our history, I doubt you're going to find a time when people stayed nearly perfectly so still for so long, standing or sitting. We even sit still when we travel from one place to another, which I can guarantee never happened before, even when we rode horses.

The difference between sitting at a desk all day or standing at a desk all day seems to me like the choice between someone punching you in the face or slapping you in the face. The position of the hand is small compared to someone hitting you in the face.

If you're at a desk all day and took a car to get there, whether you sit or stand seems to me a negligible difference compared to how anyone you inherited genes from behaved, except, maybe, when they were sick or about to die. I suspect that before the industrial revolution even when people sat around, they still moved around a fair amount relative to today.

IT'S A TRAP!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46778919)

This isn't really about gaining better employee health. This is part of the continuing plot to reduce the size of cubicles since a standing person takes less space than a sitting person who also needs to be able to maneuver a chair. I am opposed to this purely on this principle.

Great for Code Reviews (1)

Maltheus (248271) | about 6 months ago | (#46779055)

We have these at my office. I love them. Health benefits aside, these are ideal for code reviews. People don't have to crouch or drag chairs into an (already too small) cube.

Other benefits include: nobody sneaks up on you, while you're standing, and it helps wake me up after lunch.

That being said though, most people use them in sit down mode and forget to raise them, most of the time. Still, it's wonderful to have the option.

2yrs in, and still standing. (2)

Kevin by the Beach (3600539) | about 6 months ago | (#46779089)

I've been working from a standing position for 2 years and I have no intention of ever going back. It's never to late to start, (I'm soon to be 52) I first found an existing spot that I could place my computer and try it out... I was fortunate to both work from home and have a 42" countertop off the kitchen that was the perfect height. After working for several weeks at my kitchen counter, I went out and purchased some simple track shelving from the home depot. It cost maybe $150 to set up shelves for my keyboard/mouse, laptop, 24" monitor, and IP Phone. I've never felt better, and don't miss sitting on my ass all day long.

I got a Kangaroo at work and at home. (1)

aseth (893952) | about 6 months ago | (#46779185)

It's a standing desk from ErgoDesktop that trivially converts to a sitting desk - turn one knob and push it down, or raise it back up.

It lets me stand most of the time, and sit if I want to.

http://www.ergodesktop.com/ [ergodesktop.com]

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