I recently woke up in the middle of the night with a stabbing pain in my back. After two days of hobbling around, Tom told me to go to his chiropractor, as I was “walking like the Tin Man.” As a result, I have had any number of adjustments made – one of which was to begin using a standing desk.
The data about standing desks floods most of our newsfeeds – “sitting is the new smoking” being the battlecry. Standing at work has been linked to any number of positive results – lower rates of obesity and cancer; along with better posture and life expectancy. I have probably looked at desk models any number of times over the past few years, but a doctor’s firm order made it finally become a reality.
The result? My back feels much better. The best part of the standing desk is that it ends up making you a walking worker. As much as it pains me to admit this, I am probably 400% more likely to step out of my office to ask someone a question from standing than from a seated position. There is something about already being up that makes activity seem more natural – similar to how I ask my kids if I can get them more milk, etc. while I am up at dinner time. This means my daily step count has increased and according to any number of studies, I will burn 50-100 more calories for each hour I swap sitting for standing.
As a result of my standing desk, I find myself now taking lengthy standing breaks in meetings, allowing me to observe content and group interaction from a different perspective. It is interesting to see how distancing yourself by only a few feet – both vertical and horizontal – can impact your experience and how you perceive others. It has made me appreciate the need to structure board meetings, retreats and other key opportunities for connection with more movement and different locations in mind. Just as some of our best work conversations happen on the walk to the deli, so can important conversations about leadership and strategy within the volunteer leadership of the associations we serve.
I recently toured an office where someone had my model of desk – along with a balance board, which is my next challenge. I like the idea of literally “thinking on my feet” as well as increasing my health and overall energy level.
And yes, I wrote this standing up.
Erin Fuller is the president of MCI USA’s association solutions, and uses a Varidesk in the office and a portable aluminum folding model while at home.