5 Top Tips to Standing Desk Success

Here''s what I learned

standing desks - my tips for success

5 tips to a smoother start for your Standing Desk transition

Yesterday I updated you regarding my experiments with moving from sitting to a standing desk.  I’ve found it a positive experience but not without a little pain and some adjustment.   

So, for anyone wishing to make the move from sitting to standing, I thought it might be useful to summarise my advice on how to approach the transition.

The evidence is mounting on the benefits of standing and moving rather than sitting for long periods of time (move hut article, five thirty eight.com article).  However, when embarking on any significant change in how you work, it is worth learning from others where possible.

Here goes:

1)    Don't be all or nothing. I was very tempted to go all in and buy an expensive desk and give it a shot. Past experience, however, has taught me that this can be an unwise strategy when trying out something new for the first time. I decided to take small steps into the unknown.   

Top tip: start small select an area where you can create your own makeshift desk and retain your seated desk area for the time being.

2)     Try DIY. Inspired by a friend of mine who simply bought a few basic items and created his own experimental standing desk I decided to do the same. I therefore found a couple of bits of furniture around the house (see my first blog), and a couple of boxes and thick books. These I cobbled together into my trial makeshift desk (health and safety note: be very aware of risk of tipping, overloading or the creating an unbalanced desk area.  Be sure that the foundation for your desk is steady and solid.  Don't create something which may tip or collapse and risk injuring someone or damaging equipment).  

Top Tip:  Play around with the workspace, computer screen and keyboard heights.  This is a very individual thing and slight variations can add or ease aches and pains in your body.

3)    Chunk it down.  Moving from sitting to standing for any length of time can prove to be a shock to the system.  Retain your sitting desk.  Work at your standing desk for time periods of 20 to 25 minutes to start with.   It is amazing how many aches, pains and blisters you might develop in your back, neck hips, legs and feet.  

Top Tip: Build up your stamina over time and have patience. The benefits in the long run will be worth it. However give yourself a chance to adjust. Learn what works for you.

4)     Keep moving.  The health benefits of a standing work routine appear to be significant.  However, you will find it easy to fall into other bad habits relating to your posture, head and neck position.  Be aware of how you are standing.  Remember to move your feet position regularly, stretch off and move around.

Top tip: Try the Pomodero technique -  work in slots of 25 minutes followed by a five minute break to walk away from the desk, step outside, or put the kettle on. As a productivity tip this in itself can be very beneficial.  For those of you wishing to adopt standing as a long term working practice, movement becomes even more important.

5)     Build in the 'sit' time. As you do spend more time standing, it is worth ensuring some seated time. This may occur naturally, but if not, introduce it back into your working routine.  From a personal perspective I found this useful in breaking up the monotony of standing for extended periods of time and for varying the tasks completed. I found, for example, standing very good for carrying out productivity type tasks (doing stuff). However when it came to more creative type work or planning (thinking stuff), I found moving to a seated position in a comfortable chair created a more relaxed atmosphere allowing things to flow. 

Top Tip: Have a more comfortable chair or seated area nearby for the more creative/ thinking type work. 

Bonus tip:

6)       Wear sensible shoes. I found to my cost, that when standing at my desk in bare feet or in socks, I developed some impressive blisters on the balls of my feet.  I found the best footwear for me (and it is a personal choice worth experimenting with) were leisure shoes such as training shoes.

Top Tip: Try something with some cushioning in the sole and a little ankle support.

I hope you find these tips useful.  Let me know how you get on yourself and share any tips you pick up along the way.   Remember my tips are based on my own personal experience and experimentation.  Don't treat them as a definitive 'how-to.'

Adopt your own experimental approach. Have fun, but be safe.   Try different things and, above all, get moving.  Reduce the amount of sitting around you do. And you never know it may well lead to better productivity and thus lower stress.

Keep an eye out for the next blog.

Dave Algeo

Motivational Speaker on resilience and men's mental health.

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