No, I did not embark on some Houdini-style test of my endurance – I tried standing at my desk for an entire week. Overall it was pretty nice but I’m back to sitting down this week. I thought I’d share my experience and so I jotted down notes every day while I stood.
Day one: My heels are hurting some, knees hurt some, and I find myself leaning on my desk every now and then. Not when I’m completely focused on what I’m doing but when I’m watching a video, reading email, or otherwise doing a passive task.
Day two: Because I worked for the morning at Zummo’s Cafe, while I was waiting for my car to be repaired, I stood for only about 4 hours in the afternoon. Which was a really great balance I think. So, no soreness today really and not much leaning either.
Day three: I stood for most of the morning and then had some errands to run in the afternoon. I’m finding that while I don’t mind standing and, in fact, I feel good about standing – I’m noticing that I am able to focus less. An interesting side effect to standing is that, at the end of the day when I’m finished working, it feels really good to sit. Almost as good as it feels to sit after a workout or mowing the lawn. Feels good.
Day four: Standing is nearly second nature now. (Wow, that is an odd sentence, isn’t it?) I’m not leaning and my overall alertness for the day is higher than it used to be. Typically I have an daily alertness and productivity curve. I start off on fire early in the morning, lull around lunch time, and really pick up again right before stopping for the day. During this standing experiment I’m finding that my overall alertness stays at a much more steady height with no lulls.
Day five: I think I’ve found that there are times when I like standing and times I’d rather sit. An example of when I’d like to sit is when I’m tasked with fixing a bug in some bit of software I support. When I really need to “hunker down” and dig into the application to find out what could be happening – for whatever reason it feels more natural for me to sit down and focus on the problem-at-hand. I can’t seem to get the same level of focus, the same level of “digging” while standing. I don’t know why.
I’m back to sitting this week and I really think it is all because of this focus issue. I do find it much easier to focus on code (and I don’t code too much at work anymore) when I am sitting. If I had a desk that could raise and lower at the touch of a button (rather than using a series of allen wrenches like I need to use now) I’d probably stand in the morning while doing email, conference calls, and web browsing and sit in the mid-morning or after lunch while I’m really trying to concentrate.
I see Shawn Blanc is grabbing the torch from me (whether he knows it or not) and so I recommend subscribing to his blog to see how it works out for him.