#9-Hidden Benefit of Standing


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 CuddyYour 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.


3 thoughts on “#9-Hidden Benefit of Standing

  1. Paul says:

    I’ve noticed a different feature of standing, that is the social aspect. I find it to be more welcoming to be attending when people walk in to talk to you. It also makes it easier to talk about something on your computer. Is easy to step back from the desk and let your guest step up and look at your monitor or even take over and start typing.

  2. Jon says:

    Great thought Ben! Saw your post referenced over at Lifehacker. I made my own treadmill desk about a year ago which is a pretty similar concept to a standing desk. Your observations are right on! I feel more creative and focused when I am on my treadmill desk. I also feel more energetic at the end of a day of walking and working than I did when I was sitting all day. I look forward to checking out the TED talk you referenced.

  3. Danielle says:

    When I was in high school I used to do work at my kitchen table standing up reading or studying flashcards. I’ve always enjoyed the feeling of being more engaged over my work. This is true. The way you carry yourself says a lot about how you treat your work, mind, and body. this applies to men. But especially as a woman, I feel this blog post is fantastic.

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