Nem here, the Web Marketing Specialist. Hope your journey to a healthier workplace is going according to plan. As part of this month’s workplace wellness blog we thought it would be worthwhile to do a mini-study on myself, by myself (not sure if this one will be a part of any peer reviewed journals) with regards to the sit and stand workstations.
Many of us at our office got outfitted with these options and we’ve been trying to implement a good balance between sitting and standing. My personal goal was to reach a 50-50 balance. And as a little background on my daily activity; I do not do much moving around – my tasks consist mainly of working on the computer, unless we have to move tables, throw out old equipment or carry stuff into the storage room (Raf, the graphic designer and I are the internal moving team). The only times I get up are for lunch, grabbing coffee or restroom breaks.
Below is a chart where you will find my sitting vs. standing schedule over a week. You will notice I only hit that goal once during the week, and as a first timer using a sit & stand extension I think that is not too bad. Most of the time I would forget to stand (caught up in doing work) and then I would have to make up the time by standing for prolonged periods of time as opposed to doing timely and balanced intervals.
Summary of my experiences during this week:
1. Making a daily schedule of when to sit and stand helps remind you to actually stand.
We all get caught up in our responsibilities and our brains have been basically wired to sit (if your job is computer heavy like mine) at work. I made a schedule for each day and followed it (for the most part) to gradually increase my standing time.
2. Doing short intervals between sitting and standing is much better than trying to stand or sit for longer periods.
When I would sit for too long, I tried to balance it out by standing for the same (if not longer) amount of time. Let me tell you, your feet get sore! It’s not too bad but at some point you start to lean on one leg, then the other to avoid soreness. I found myself shuffling my feet, anything but to stay stationary. We even got a Steppie (balancing board for your feet while you stand, it rocks left and right) that I used but it elevated me past my monitors so I went back to alternating my legs while standing. Short intervals > long periods of time.
3. My focus increased while standing.
Usually I would lock in and chip away at a specific task continuously. Perhaps it was the increased blood flow as the manufacturers claim, or it could have been the fact that when you stand to work it’s almost like raising your hand in class. You are put on the spot to answer (or ask a question) and “everyone” is watching. Probably a little subconscious trick of the brain to get you into another gear.
4. Another interesting thing I found is that if any of my colleagues near me were standing, we would be more collaborative (or communicative).
Being eye level with someone (as opposed to being separated by a cubicle wall) made it easier to ask a question directly while working instead of sending an email and waiting for a response. Actually the same case can be made for colleagues in different locations of the office. I found myself walking over and having a conversation (assuming they were not busy or in meetings) regarding certain tasks as opposed to just emailing back and forth.
5. First thing in the morning and first thing after lunch were NOT my standing times.
I would usually take the 1st hour after coming into the office and about 30-45 minutes after lunch to sit. Any other time of the day was fair game.
So there you have it – my initial experiences with the sit & stand workstation on the road to a healthier workday. I would love to hear if anyone else has had a similar or different experience using one of these. I would also be very interested in hearing from people who don’t necessarily work at a computer all day – do you find sitting breaks necessary sometimes?