I've now been working at my stand up desk for a few days, a concept I brought back from my trip to Japan, and I'm loving it. Ok, I will admit the first couple days were pretty rough, and had it not been for a good pair of shoes and a hot tub, I might have even re-thought this idea. But today was great. I really do feel more productive and energetic. And the steady stream of employees stopping by to see their "wacky president" has been entertaining. Many of them leave wanting to join the wacky club… perhaps that's leading by example?
I have received a boatload of emails from people who have also taken the wacky plunge, every one of them positive. I've also heard of several companies that have gone or are going stand up company-wide. All positive again. And there have been several emails from people relaying an apparently popular modification of the idea: a treadmill coupled with the stand up desk.
Here's just one example.
Shimon Rura pointed me to a few articles on the benefits of standing up. You might also want to check out his own blog post on the treadmill-enhanced stand up desk, including a photo.
The New York Times had an article a couple years back on some Mayo Clinic studies on standing versus sitting, which coincidentally convinced one of the study docs to go stand up himself.
and spent two more hours a day on their feet – standing, pacing around
and fidgeting. The difference translated into 350 calories a day,
enough for the heavy people to take off 30 to 40 pounds a year, if they
would get moving.
30 to 40 pounds a year at just two more hours on your feet. So going stand up for eight hours… hmmm… I should be ready for the beach in a month or so. After which I'll keep my eye on the nearest pizza parlour. Or pub. Or both.
meetings, he stands instead of sitting. Talking on the telephone, he
paces around. In his office he has a treadmill in place of a desk. He
got it last year when he saw the data from the study comparing lean
people and obese ones.
installed a second treadmill alongside his own, and he encourages
visitors to hop on and stroll while they talk to him. It takes some
getting used to, but, he says, envious colleagues at Mayo have been
clamoring for treadmill desks.
"Walking at work, first of all
it's addictive," he said. "It's terribly good fun. I actually feel
happier, particularly in the afternoon. You might think you come home
exhausted, but you don't. You come home energized." For him, the treadmill has eliminated the afternoon slump, when a lot of people feel sleepy and crave candy bars or caffeine.
"I've become convinced we really can generate an office environment where people are on the move and are happier," he said.
So energy and happiness are other effects. I like that. Many years ago Fortune described how standing helps the brain work 20% faster and can even ward off Alzheimer's. I like that, too. Bernard Wechsler has an interesting article on the benefits of standing up, with a couple of the points being,
Sitting all working-day affects our immune system and is disease causing. Sitting reduces fat and cholesterol metabolism and produces more of both. Standing and strolling around our desk and office awakens our enzymes
activating good metabolism. Blood vessels to our leg muscles are shut-down after sitting a couple of hours.
I like my marbles. I like energy and happiness and being able to wear a Speedo… not that I'd ever do that for other reasons.
I guess I like being wacky. Who else is joining the wacky stand up club?