- Stand Up Desks are very, very uncomfortable. I went into my current job optimistic about the idea of standing all day. My boss relayed the sentiment shared via the newspaper articles he had read and hung up in the workspace, and it seemed like a positive and refreshing change of pace. Sadly, within a week, my back hurt. The knee jerk remedy offered to this is twofold: improve your posture and adjust the height of the desk. I did both, and the discomfort continued. Eventually, my back pain subsided to a dull throb, but the biggest issue for me long-term has been neck pain. As my workplace subscribes to the sitting on a tall stool/standing alternating method (which even the biggest advocates recommend) there is literally not a position wherein I can place my monitor that does not require me moving my head up or down like a pet following a ball. By Friday afternoon my neck is a wreck, and I can’t think of another rhyming word to explain how the pain goes away during the standing desk-free weekend.
- The discomfort will make you less productive. The amount of time spent shifting around in the futile hopes of diminishing soreness is time spent not working. Your focus will be broken or compromised with each pang of pain or need to crack your back.
- The data is at best inconclusive, and at worst wrong. Despite what trendsetters, health nuts, and standing desk manufacturers would have you believe, there is no conclusive evidence that standing at a desk is healthier than sitting. Hell, there’s not even any conclusive evidence that it’s healthy at all. Furthermore, there is doubt as to whether occupational sitting is unhealthy. A good amount of the data out there seems to rely on the old standby of correlation equaling causation, which is a pretty standard educational crutch.
The obvious fact that seems to get ignored time and time again is that a person who is likely to choose to use a standing desk is more likely to be health-conscious than the person who chooses to sit at their desk. Sitting in a desk, as research shows, is not a cause of heart disease. However, as a person who opts to sit is more likely to lead a sedentary lifestyle, it’s not a stretch to presume poor diet and a lack of exercise are to blame. Our country is largely not a healthy country; people are to blame, not chairs.Any assumptions about health benefits are false or ambiguous.That said, I know of people who use standing desks and bewilderingly like them. The sit/stand method works for some people, and they find a greater focus in their work. Standing desks aren’t the Antichrist, but they’re not for everyone and any assumptions about health benefits are false or ambiguous. Realistically, they make the most sense for people who are constantly on the go- they’re ideal docking stations, allowing a user to stop for a few minutes, plug in their laptop, respond to some emails, and then run off to their next meeting. As a solution for someone who spends eight hours at their desk, I can say I’ve never been less comfortable while working.