I have been working for Boost New Media for about 2 years - all of which sitting a desk all day long. I know the bad effects of sitting all day, like Deep Vein Thrombosis etc.

I have been following Gina Trapani for a number of years and I was interested to read that she switched to a standing desk. As she was a fellow software developer, her journey held more weight. One year later, she blogged about how she found the last year standing. At the time my then-current employer was not going to switch the 150 or so people all to standing desks, so it slipped into ‘one of these days’ category where things very rarely return from.

Then, working at Boost, my boss got the idea of switching the company to standing desks. There was initial interest, so 3 desks were ordered as a trial.

Trial Pod of Standing Desks

I was super keen to try them out so jumped on board the initial trial. I knew from reading, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy …

Trial Pod of Standing Desks

However, I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was. There have been multiple benefits so far:

  • Generally feeling much better. My shoulders are broader and less hunched and thus feel like I can breath deeper
  • Stretching while standing is much easier and therefore more likely to happen naturally
  • Conversations seem to be more concise and more frequent, which for a company which values [individuals and interactions over processes and tools”:http://agilemanifesto.org) is always a good thing
  • It has mixed the teams up. While working in the trial pod of 3 I stood with 2 other people who wanted to stand, not who I worked with on my project
  • At night when watching TV on the couch, it feels like a well deserved rest which is great!
  • Sitting at lunchtime feeling amazing, especially if you can sit with your feet elevated somewhat
  • Moving desk is an excellent chance to clear all the old cruft which accumulates over time
  • As we have motorised desks, they can be converted into normal desks within 10 seconds meaning that you don’t feel like you need to push yourself to stand all day (which I hear is a bad thing initially)
  • I am much more inclined to move around the office to talk to people. Also, because it’s hard work, I often change the way I stand which is good as people often say it doesn’t matter how you sit, but you need to change position every 30 mins

However, there a few ‘negatives’, at least initially:

  • Sore feet and knees. After a few days standing (with occasional sitting on tall chairs) my heels and inner knees are pretty sore. I’m not sure how much of my knee soreness can be contributed to my almost-torn ACL (a long story). We are investigating getting mats or maybe wearing old soft running shoes in the office
  • The desk may not be high enough for you. I am tall (~6 ft 3in), but not a giant and I have the desk at it’s maximum height. It’s not exactly right, it would ideally be an inch or so higher. This may be fixed by wearing bare feet or raising the desk off the floor
  • We do daily standups as part of our Scrum agile process, and sometimes this is a little painful after standing for a long time just prior. Maybe we should harden up!
  • I was very easily distracted for the first few days as people asked how it was going and my body was sore. This has reduced as the novelty wore off

I have now been standing for 7 working days and am loving it. My feet and knees are still sore, but I hope that will reduce soon. We will see!

I plan to blog semi-regularly about standing desks so watch this space. Boost has also blogged about standing desks