T Nation

Standing Office Setup (No Chair)

Hey everyone. Has anybody here converted their office (either at home or office) into a standing workstation as opposed to the traditional chair/desk setup?

Honestly, with all the talk and my experience of sitting at a desk all day contributing to overall tightness and posture issues, I am giving it serious consideration.

Yes, I do what I can to alleviate these issues by doing stretching/foam rolling/etc, but sometimes it feels like a never ending battle that would probably be gone with for good if I were to switch to a stand-up solution or a hybrid setup of some sort.

Anybody with experience in this?

Why dont you just sit with good posture?

My summer job consists or more or less standing, among other things, for 20 hours total over saturday and sunday. By the end of the weekend, I can feel my posture getting worse.

I think you’d be better off just sitting on a chair with better posture. Or even a swiss ball as a chair to see how that works.

Have you ever tried just standing for long periods of time? You get tired rather quickly, your knees, feet, and ankles will get sore. You’ll want to sit rather quickly.

IMO, its not worth it.

I worked at a radio station in college. Although we had a stool, I often preferred to stand for my whole shift. I found it offered more freedom of movement. Now I am precariously perched over my keyboard on the edge of an office chair… not the best for posture.

[quote]phatmike wrote:
Hey everyone. Has anybody here converted their office (either at home or office) into a standing workstation as opposed to the traditional chair/desk setup?

Honestly, with all the talk and my experience of sitting at a desk all day contributing to overall tightness and posture issues, I am giving it serious consideration.

Yes, I do what I can to alleviate these issues by doing stretching/foam rolling/etc, but sometimes it feels like a never ending battle that would probably be gone with for good if I were to switch to a stand-up solution or a hybrid setup of some sort.

Anybody with experience in this?[/quote]

I know what you mean…Im desk bound 10 hours a day…constantly thinking about posture but CONSTANTLY finding myself hunched over…

yes I stretch like crazy, foam roll, etc…

looking forward to more comments…

[quote]rrjc5488 wrote:
Why dont you just sit with good posture?

My summer job consists or more or less standing, among other things, for 20 hours total over saturday and sunday. By the end of the weekend, I can feel my posture getting worse.

I think you’d be better off just sitting on a chair with better posture. Or even a swiss ball as a chair to see how that works.

Have you ever tried just standing for long periods of time? You get tired rather quickly, your knees, feet, and ankles will get sore. You’ll want to sit rather quickly.

IMO, its not worth it.[/quote]

I do sit with good posture. My main concern was more with hip flexors and hamstrings being in a shortened position for 8+ hours a day. Not to mention the fact that I have been doing this kind of work for the past 8 years.

Hopefully somebody has done this. I know I saw on TV one doctor who did all of his office work while walking at a (very) slow pace on a tradmill. It was fitted with a work area where he had his notebook among other things. I thought that was a very cool idea as well.

Yes I stand most of the time at the comp just set a box to set the laptop or my keyboard and mouse on and if not standing sit on a swiss ball really helps the back.

Pretty easy to make the change.

Phill

[quote]rrjc5488 wrote:
Why dont you just sit with good posture?
[/quote]

A recent study found that sitting with good posture (90 degrees) may be bad for your back. It found leaning back in your chair (135 degrees) may be better.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6187080.stm

Former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld used a podium style wood desk at the Pentagon. I could never work while standing at a desk, at least not for long periods of time. After a back injury, I have always tried to sit leaning back slightly in my chair to relieve the pressure off my lower back. It seems to help quite a bit.

[quote]Loose Tool wrote:
rrjc5488 wrote:
Why dont you just sit with good posture?

A recent study found that sitting with good posture (90 degrees) may be bad for your back. It found leaning back in your chair (135 degrees) may be better.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6187080.stm

[/quote]

Since my major deals heavily with ergonomics, this study was of particular interest to me.

The study showed that leaning back at a 135 degree angle caused less stress on the lower back then sitting fully upright. Well obviously. If you put your hamstrings a more relaxed position, then you will be reducing the amount of tension on your lower back. However, most chairs are not equiped to recline, and many people take this to mean that slouching is preferable to sitting up straight. It is not, this is an incorrect interpreation of the study. The subjects were in reclining seats, which allowed them to keep a nuetral back. Most people can’t do work if their upper torso isn’t upright, so this is interesting, but not functional.

I think ergonomic kneeling chairs or a swiss ball would be better alternatives to standing.

I usually either stand or kneel. It’s a little tough to get used to standing all the time but it’s worth it. Kneeling puts pressure on the knees so that could be a negative, but i believe Bill Hartman has recommended that so basically it’s the way to go.

[quote]phatmike wrote:
Hey everyone. Has anybody here converted their office (either at home or office) into a standing workstation as opposed to the traditional chair/desk setup?

Honestly, with all the talk and my experience of sitting at a desk all day contributing to overall tightness and posture issues, I am giving it serious consideration.

Yes, I do what I can to alleviate these issues by doing stretching/foam rolling/etc, but sometimes it feels like a never ending battle that would probably be gone with for good if I were to switch to a stand-up solution or a hybrid setup of some sort.

Anybody with experience in this?[/quote]

Besides all the odd looks you’ll receive from your co-workers and the added stress put on your feet each day, I’ll pass on this arrangement.

Have you thought about just getting up and walking around the office, network with fellow co-workers, at least once an hour? You’ll find ways to get your job done better, and you’ll reduce the strain on your neck and back.

Just a thought.

[quote]phatmike wrote:
I do sit with good posture. My main concern was more with hip flexors and hamstrings being in a shortened position for 8+ hours a day. Not to mention the fact that I have been doing this kind of work for the past 8 years.
[/quote]

So then get up every hour or so and do some lunges or squats.

I used one of these kneeling chairs for most of my middle school and high school years at my desk at home.

I didn’t really have any concept of correcting my posture at that time, it was just extremely comfortable, and is apparently very good for your back/posture.

I think it’s best to change the posture every once in a while. If you sit down, get up and walk. If you’re standing, well, duh, take a seat for a while.

It seems to me that maintaining the same position for too long is the problem, not just the position per se.

i just recently tried this standing computer stuff… raised my monitor and keyboard and placed them at perfect ergonomic height

my experience was not good. yea it was much better for hip flexors and spine, etc… but it totally wrecked my knees. i would stand with my knees almost locked and not moving at all, and after the 2nd day i could feel my knees starting to wear down

i tried moving more and shifting positions when i stood, but that didn’t help. there just isn’t a way to not remain relatively stationary while on the computer, and it really took a toll on my knees. i didn’t want to sacrifice my knees for better hip posture so i went back to sitting

i dunno if anybody else has had that problem. my knees aren’t in the greatest condition so maybe it’s just me

[quote]wressler125 wrote:
Most people can’t do work if their upper torso isn’t upright, so this is interesting, but not functional.
[/quote]

“Most people”? You have a citation for that?

If “most people” work bolt upright, it’s likely the result of constant harping by their mother and/or the corporate ergonomic officer. On the otherhand, every office chair that I’ve used in the past twenty years has a setting that allows the back to recline to about 135 degrees.

Funny thing is, I find myself leaning back and working all the time. Very comfortable, and productive.

[quote]Coldiron wrote:
Former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld used a podium style wood desk at the Pentagon. I could never work while standing at a desk, at least not for long periods of time. After a back injury, I have always tried to sit leaning back slightly in my chair to relieve the pressure off my lower back. It seems to help quite a bit.[/quote]

Yep, he works(ed) 12-15 hour days and never sits, always works at standing desk. This at the age of 73, amazing.

I have a theory that once you condition yourself to do this it actually takes less energy that sitting all day.

[quote]neanderman wrote:
Coldiron wrote:
Former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld used a podium style wood desk at the Pentagon. I could never work while standing at a desk, at least not for long periods of time. After a back injury, I have always tried to sit leaning back slightly in my chair to relieve the pressure off my lower back. It seems to help quite a bit.

Yep, he works(ed) 12-15 hour days and never sits, always works at standing desk. This at the age of 73, amazing.

I have a theory that once you condition yourself to do this it actually takes less energy that sitting all day.[/quote]

This is interesting, considering forced prolonged standing is actually a known form of torture.

Crap, I didn’t notice your thread before I tossed a similar one in “get a life”.

I think Stuart McGill in his book Low Back Disorders states that there is no “correct posture”, and that the best thing to do while sitting at a desk is to change positions often to give some muscles a break while other muscles take the load. He suggests getting a comfortable adjustable chair.

There are as many sitting variations as you can imagine: stretching your legs out in front of you, bending the knee to 90 degrees, sitting Indian style with your legs under you, leaning forward, leaning back, even standing or kneeling.

Just switch positions about every 20 minutes.

Based on Mcgill’s idea, I don’t think the Swiss ball would be a good idea; how many different ways can you sit on a Swiss ball?