July 24, 2013 by benbunk
A standing desk is basically any desk where you can work while standing. Typically the monitor, keyboard, and mouse are elevated to match the ergonomic position required to operate while standing.
Standing desks are fairly popular and tons have been written about them including why sitting is slowly killing you, why people switched to standing, and which standing desk is the best … so I won’t bore you about the origins or the established reasoning behind them.
For me standing at a desk isn’t about posture or avoiding impending health risks. My back tends to hurt when I’m standing up straight for too long; maybe its the several motorcycle and car crashes I’ve been in. My feet hurt because I don’t bend my knees enough and most of my weight is on my heels which can be mitigated with a ground mat or a solid pair of gym shoes.
No, for me the choice to stand comes down to the psychological benefit.
Something about standing keeps me more engaged. My mind wanders less and for some reason I feel a bit more energized to work even though in reality my legs are fairly tired. So what gives? It is a question I’ve been pondering even before I setup my standing desk. When I was working with a pair of guys who had standing desks I always found myself more effective standing at their desks. Standing somehow always seemed to motivate my senses in some way.
I think I finally found the answer in this TED talk by Amy Cuddy – Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are (& how to create confidence and influence out of thin air). I’ll summarize but basically,
Your body produces more testosterone and less Cortisol by positioning yourself in certain, “Power Poses”.
Amy scientifically proved that standing in these poses for as little as two minutes could be enough to make noticeable change in your physiology. The standing desk by definition naturally positions you in one of these power poses which is why I think the standing desk is so effective at subconsciously changing my work habits.
So, long story short, try the standing desk because its cool, because it seems convenient or ergonomic or will save you from an early death. You’ll probably find yourself staying with it for the psychological benefits that you might not even realize are occurring.