We spend a lot of time at our desks each day. Though many of Boulder’s tech workers hole up at coffee shops and teahouses, the majority of us wind up at desks to demolish the bulk of our tasks. We take a seat in a comfy chair, adjust our screens for optimal viewing pleasure and settle in for a productive block of typing time.
However, not everyone is content to park their supple buttocks in a seat for hours and hours. Nay, there is a small population of local geeks that have decided to work standing up — like, literally all day. Standing desks, which are desks that have simply been elevated to accommodate a standing worker instead of a sitting one, have become perplexingly popular.
As with the whole sitting-on-a-yoga-ball thing, I just don’t get it — so I reached out to someone who does.
Tim Miller, CEO of Boulder-based Rally Software, an Agile application lifecycle management and coaching services company, explained that his company’s relocation earlier this year prompted a handful of employees to request the option of standing desks. This number soon snowballed as it caught on among their colleagues.
“About 30 people in the Boulder office have converted to standing desks,” Miller said, adding that Rally employs 212 people locally. “The ones who have made the switch are extremely excited. Not only do standing desks look aesthetically cool, they also promote health as it makes employees feel more energized and active throughout the day.”
The health benefits are intriguing. An often-cited article from Men’s Health (based on a study from the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise) found that people who are seated for most of the day are 54 percent more likely to die of a heart attack. Good gravy! The explicit conclusion is that spending your workday on your toes will keep such a grisly fate at bay.
I don’t know if I could do it. The only time I type while standing up is while using a kiosk at the Boulder Public Library or playing with new hardware at the Apple Store. The prospect of conducting an actual workday on my feet fills me with dread. Won’t my feet get tired? Won’t I be exponentially more exhausted at the end of the day? Miller allayed my fears like a kindly wizard.
“The main benefit of a standing desk is increased mobility since people are less sedentary throughout the day,” Miller said. “Some people believe this can lead to more energy and increased productivity.”
So standing up all day, like I’m at a Journey concert waiting for Steve Perry to take the stage, is supposed to give me more energy? I think it would take a while for that kind of result, with the adjustment period being pure agony. Miller agreed that I’d have to be in it to win it if I were going to make the transition stick.
“One of the drawbacks of a standing desk is that it can be a full-time commitment,” Miller said. “Adjusting back and forth between standing and sitting is a hassle.”
Given my love of waffles and waffling, I know I’d have difficulty dedicating my twiggy legs to a nine-hour standing marathon each day. I don’t think I could… stand it. Heh.
Ef Rodriguez writes about geeky stuff for the Colorado Daily once a week.