By Chas Wagner
You know the saying “monkey see, monkey do.” Well, here at the RunKeeper offices, we’ve made a slight modification to that saying with “Monkey see, monkey STAND.”
That’s right, the standing desk phenomenon is alive and well here at 60 Canal Street. In fact, 18 of our 37 full-time employees have went with some sort of standing arrangement. Not quite mainstream, but definitely past early adopter, hipster territory. Perhaps main-ster or hip-stream?
If you’ve been thinking about making the standing desk switch or just want to learn the lingo, we thought it’d be neat to give you the “rundown” on standing desk culture at RunKeeper:
Why Standing is Awesome according to Standers?
It’s great for collaboration. Face it, when you’re sitting, you’re really comfy and in your own little world. You hunker down, maybe even getting in the zone after cranking through all your Runkeeper FitnessReports, but, sadly, you’re not looking to connect with others. Standing signals to others, “Let’s chat. Let’s brainstorm. Let’s be human, and not zombies!”
Your cube farm confidants at other companies will be super jealous. Get rid of that trapped feeling. Break free of the cube chains my sedentary friends, straighten thy legs and stand for all to see.
You’re more efficient when standing. Since we’re talking work and the office, productivity is definitely a priority. When sitting, it’s really easy to go down that browsing rabbit hole and forget where that last hour of work went. Twitter anyone? Standing, on the other hand, demands focus…and some really strong legs.
Oh yeah, it’s kind of good for your health. Even the big boys say so—Inc., New York Times and Mashable. Besides, who would want to look like this guy? He hasn’t even finished his morning coffee yet!
Why Standing isn’t so Awesome according to Standers?
Afternoon Fatigue. Even if you’re a runner (which most of us are!), being on your feet all day long takes a toll. At least in the early stages of standing. Plus, it definitely impacts your shoe decision, especially for women. Heels and standing don’t play nice, according to Rebecca O’Dette.
People are more willing to chat with a stander. More collaboration means more conversations with passerbys. This can lead to more distractions and a hard time focusing. Luckily, we now have a Quiet Room. I’d definitely say more standers frequent this room than sitters. Whether it’s to rest their feet or get away from all the distractions, it’s too early to tell.
Sometimes you want to slouch. Even if you’re the biggest health nut, there’s nothing like an amazing chair slouch. Like getting at least 135 degrees back in the chair, popping on a good YouTube video and taking off your standing hero armor.
Why Sitting is Awesome according to Sitters?
It’s easier to get away with browsing Facebook. According to Max Freiert, stand-nerds create a tremendous, natural cubicle.
Better focus. You’re expanding more energy standing up, which is probably taking away from your mental energy. What’s more, Saul Jacobowitz brings up a good point with, “pretty sure there are studies that productivity drops for people at standing desks, but that doesn’t take into consideration long-term health problems.”
Royalty knows how to get their sit on.
Things to Consider when Getting Started with a Standing Desk
Just do it. Similar to not running a marathon your first time out the door, don’t expect to stand all 8 hours those first few days. In your first day, maybe stand for a simple 15 minutes after that mammoth Chipotle lunch. The burrito will go from feeling like a bowling ball to, let’s say, a baseball. As you became a trained stand-itician, you might even get to golf ball stage.
A good mat is a stand-saver. Your feet will hurt. Don’t be silly and go at it alone. Invest in a good anti-fatigue mat to save those foot aches for the trails!
Be resourceful. Official standing desks are ridiculously expensive. That said, it’s highly unlikely your company is going to drop that kind of money until they see the benefits. There’s many ways to have a standing arrangement without having a real standing desk. So, grab a pile of boxes, paint cans, books, printer paper or file cabinets, like I did for nearly 3 months. Once standing catches on with others, your company will be more willing to invest in a more official set-up. Or, if you’re a startup like us, they’ll be up for investing in a more economical set-up, like an IKEA TV Stand and keyboard tray. A whopping, wait for it, $29.99. Score one for standing :)
(Way too many cardboard boxes for my previous set-up!!)
So, there you have it. Standing 101. Civil War hasn’t erupted just yet between sitters and standers, but as hardcore sitter Larry McShefferey puts it, “my chair will definitely be used as the primary weapon.”
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the standing desk revolution. Have you tried it? Does it work? If you haven’t, what’s holding you back? Let us know in the comments below and send over pics of your standing, sitting or cube set-up to email@example.com.
Chas is a Community Manager at RunKeeper