Vouchin’ for no slouchin’
I’m jumping on the “standing desk” bandwagon!
Jigowatt (work) paid for a brand new “VeriDesk Pro Plus 36” for me to work with after my shoulder/neck/back issues seemed to be getting more and more frequent.
Read about my first working week being a "stand up guy".
TL;DR (lazy douchébag version):
Standing desks are ace, get one, but beware the drawbacks & hidden cost.
“Exercise your back”…
… said the physio I saw second to last time.
Let’s face it, us designers/developers – we’re not known for our bulging biceps, rough “working man’s” hands or “pressing the bench” are we?
I’m obviously self-referencing, before you start getting all high-horsey about the sexism.
So… aside from doing more exercise (which I’m going to do this year), I needed to change my working habits. One of the best ways I could see of doing this, was to switch to a standing desk instead of being slumped over a keyboard all day.
Ask your workplace
Your workplace may, or may not buy you a standing desk. It’s worth asking.
I already had a desk, so I asked for a “VeriDesk Pro Plus 36”, and within a week, it arrived.
“But my employer doesn’t care!” I hear you cry.
Ask, you might be surprised! The budget may not be there, but if they really don’t care, then perhaps it’s time to ask yourself if you want to work for heartless, money grabbing douchébags.
Days 1 & 2
My shoulder is already seeing the benefits.
I’m amazed by this – just one day in.
Not just that, I just feel more “with it”, more awake.
You can’t just slouch down and slip into your 2pm, post-lunch, inert stupor.
Added bonus: I’m technically exercising while I work too!
I can’t stand still for long periods, so I find myself stepping about, wiggling on the spot, and moving a lot more.
It’s no longer an effort to get up to fetch drinks, or stretch my legs on my screen break.
Don’t judge me, you’ve done it too!
“Urgh, can’t be bothered to get up and make teas for everyone”.
I’ve got a slight ache in my lower back, but I expected this because I’m using muscles I don’t normally.
Days 3 & 4
The lower back ache is subsiding and standing already feels “normal”. It feels a little “naughty” to be sat down, like I’m misbehaving.
I woke up with cramp in my calf muscle on the 3rd day, but I’m not sure this is directly attributed to the desk.
The final day of the “week at work” using the VeriDesk.
I’m not returning to the chair.
The ache in my lower back has gone.
My shoulder feels loads better.
I don’t get sleepy at my desk.
I’d even go as far as saying my productivity has increased too.
Yes, after all that praise, there are a few drawbacks.
It’s the same with anything else – unforeseen issues that nobody warned you about, no research you did exposed, and most of all you didn’t think about while you were in writhing agony from putting your back out… again.
The VeriDesk is heavy.
More accurately, the packaging and the VeriDesk are heavy.
Prior to accepting delivery, I joked with my colleagues about putting my back out accepting delivery.
Oh the irony.
If you have a frail frame or no upper body strength (I’ve got some, despite previous allusions), then you should probably have help setting it up on your desk.
If you have them, make sure they reach. I’ve had to re-organise the wires behind my desk to work when the it’s fully extended.
Check the desk specs, check the length of your wires, make sure they reach.
Aches & pains.
Yes, I asked for one to prevent aches and pains… and yes, in the first week or two you will experience more. But they’re the good kind! My lower back ached for the first few days. You will use muscles that you just don’t normally… especially if you’re sat for 8-10 hours a day!
It does’t stop with the desk.
I will be looking into buying or creating a means of avoiding “hard stances”.
You know the one, leaning on your left leg, or right leg for extended periods of time. It’s just as damaging as sitting all day, and I need a way of stopping this.
After a bit of research, there are those that suggest "soft mats" that go under your feet, but these don’t stop hard stances, they make them more bearable.
This leaves the other option, something which requires a shift of your weight regularly. A balance board, or half-inflated something or another. Something unstable.
I personally love the idea, and the look of the Fluidstance Level.
I can’t afford the price of one (yet), so until then, I’ll probably have to create a cheap alternative out of MDF or something.
It’s expensive, it’s heavy, wires can be a pain in the backside… but it’s totally worth getting one.
I’m more awake; more productive; not sleepy during the day and I don’t hurt, or have to re-position to ease an ache or pain in my shoulder/neck.
If I had the money, I’d buy a Fluidstance and I’d be sorted for life with regards to how I work.