365 days with a sit-stand, flip-flops and envy

Sitting is the new smoking, slowly killing us all, linked to weight gain, and causing obesity. Over 365 days ago I made “the stand” and had a fancy sit-stand installed in my workspace.  This was not to create the freedom to hop up and down on one foot while on conference calls and simultaneously type meeting notes to burn more calories (although I may have to try that)!  The breaking point came when I had my spondylolysis slip in my back, triggering chronic pain that skyrocketed while sitting and was slowing down my recovery. After three months of physical therapy, still not being able to get back to running, it was time to take other measures. If you want the history you can read an old blog post here about getting Put Back Together.

The sit-stand changed my work vibe, and what happened within the 24 hours of installation was surprising. The simple act of standing initiated an open door policy more than the typical cubicle. This thing had gained some serious attention. Instantly complete strangers, what I like to call the “sit-stand envy’s” began flocking and stopping to take a look and tell me their health issues from having to sit all day!  Some spoke of their make shift home-made contraptions, piling books, boxes, plastics bins on desks so they could stand.  I listened, sympathized, and my cube started to feel more like shrinks office than my place of business at times. But more importantly I wanted to help, and was genuinely concerned. I recommended  Dr. visits and explained the process that afforded me the contraption and felt a huge obligation to explain my story and diagnosis.

The interruptions and spotlight on my desk was the first of many adjustments. Getting used to standing the majority of day took a month for my body to stop yelling at me to sit. Normal right?   But here area few other unexpected experiences I encountered.

Taking Notes: Standing and being able to take notes does not mix.  I found myself hunching over my desk to write while on conference calls. Sitting I soon found out has its place…. when writing.

Lose the heals: No one should stand in heals all day. I started to l keep a pair of flip-flops handy, and slip on my big girl shoes for meetings. This however started to cause foot pain from prolonged periods of standing with little arch support. The flip-flops are now replaced with sneakers.

Home made contraptions:  Standing was so great, I needed it at home too and did just what the sit-stand envies talked about, and created a make-shift standing contraption. This back fired increasing neck pain from looking down given the inaccurate height. Now I plan on purchasing a legit product for home.

Privacy: The monitor was very high up, lending work and sensitive content to be exposed for any passer-by to glance. I opted to downsize the monitor and installed extra privacy screens on top of the cube walls to lessen exposure.

Productivity/Energy: Energy level increased having the ability to stand when I felt my an afternoon slip and has at times snapped me out a few lulls.  Having the ability to stand while presenting virtually also enhanced performance and more importantly voice projection on the phone.

Sitting Guilt: I had this coveted contraption, and now should replace sitting all together right? No! But at first that was the thought, especially with the envy passing by to sneak a peek. I quickly learned to  stop feeling guilty and take 30-60 minutes to alternate between sitting and standing.

365 days later the sit-stand has not lost it’s luster. Recently moving my desk location to a different floor has caused some attention, more drive by’s to take a look and several inquiries! I recommend making the switch but do however caution to limit the amount of hours per day on your feet to eliminate causing other issues.  Although not as many issues as smoking, and it won’t kill you to give it at try!

Do you alternate standing during the work day? Have a home-made standing contraption? Or better yet a model you love? Maybe even a fancy treadmill desk?  How is it working for you?




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