A Standing Desk

Standing Desk

My desk is currently covered in boxes, and I’m loving it.

I work at a little table that fits in the space between the window and the bookcase, opposite the lovely large table with the sewing machines on it. I use a laptop that sits directly on the desk and a cheap office chair. It’s crowded with paperwork, rubbish, cords and electronic equipment, things I looked up a while ago and random offerings from my children. I’m a fidgeter and I swing, wrap my legs around the chair base, lean sideways and twist.

None of this is ergonomic, and I’m used to waking up in the morning almost unable to walk because my back has set solidly. Sometimes I’m tempted to get a sling to support my right arm after a night of heavy mousing.

I knew I had to rearrange and get at least the basics right, when I was prompted by a blog post on standing desks. I’ve seen them talked about before in an educational setting, and as a science teacher I love┬áthe fact that I get high benches and stools. So I thought I’d try it out.

Two of the boxes I’ve been meaning to unpack from under the sewing table put my screen at exactly eye level. Some paper trays with a shelf on top and more with a favourite hard-cover picture book now hold my keyboard and mouse so my elbows are almost at 90 degrees – it’s not quite perfect. A cleared shelf of the book case holds boxes with all the sorted crap.

And I stand in front of them, rocking from foot to foot while I think, stepping back and considering, even a little pacing and handwaving while I work out the next paragraph. I swing, move, stretch and stand on one foot, then come back and stand in an ergonomic position while I type.

My shoulders are back and my back is straight – I don’t know if it’s even possible to slouch and type when you’re standing. And it’s definitely cut down on my procrastination – standing and flicking through Facebook just doesn’t have the same effect.

I do have sore feet and knees, about equivalent to when I started teaching and was standing all day. And just like teaching, decent shoes make a difference. It makes me appreciate sitting down to relax, but then I find myself fidgetting and want to spring to my feet again. (I don’t work full time, just at night or when my daughter is at preschool.)

The absence of stiffness in my neck is a revelation. I find myself stretching my neck and turning my head several times a day just to feel how freely it moves. I know this probably has more to do with the screen height than the standing but for God’s sake people, MOVE YOUR SCREEN UP TO EYE LEVEL NOW.

I am filled with an evangelical zeal and want to tell the sitting world to cast off their chairs and stand. And can you imagine how cool this would be in a classroom? Difficult to see, sure, most teenagers are taller than me. But look at all the energy they would use productively and possibly even healthily. The difference in perspective and focus I’ve discovered is huge, and I’m someone who loves my work. I could be really annoying for my next line manager.

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