After an interesting conversation last weekend about sitting vs. standing while doing computer work, I decided to jerry-rig a standing setup at my desk at work to see if it would work for me. I’m now at the end of the first week of at least 2 weeks experiment, and some interesting things so far.
You need to get used to standing. I sort of knew this from vague memories of working at a deli in the high school / college era. Day 1 is pretty brutal, and you find yourself only able to do it for about an hour at a time. You also are spending all your time thinking about standing, as your body is really not used to doing this on it’s own. Don’t worry, that changes over time. By Day 3 doing 3 hour stints (which between meetings and lunch is about the longest run I’m going to get anyway) is fine. If your back starts hurting (it will, it’s not used to it), sit down until it doesn’t any more.
Context switching is different. I can’t yet say better or worse yet, just different. There is inertia involved in sitting down, or more importantly in standing back up.
Pair Programming is easier. There is just a different notion of space in standing vs. sitting, so showing someone something else seems less intrusive.
There is no afternoon slump. I’m someone that definitely suffers from that afternoon slow down where you get kind of sleepy. That’s entirely gone away.
Sitting starts to feel unnatural. By friday, I was just itchy to get back on my feet after any time I was in a meeting and needed to sit down. That wasn’t entirely expected, but I think it’s a good thing.
I’m going to run this experiment another week, then if it looks like I’m able to get back to the same concentration levels standing as sitting, I’ll look into a more permanent standing desk setup (probably also one at home). I’ll also probably get another pair of shoes, as doing A / B swap of shoes is really helpful when you are on your feet all day. I’m actually less tired when I get home, though it’s possible that’s just a result of it being a change of any sort, not specific to the kind of change it is.
If nothing else, it’s good to try something different from time to time just to shake up your world a little bit.