How a standing desk transformed my productivity

You’ve probably heard already that sitting is the new smoking. Over the past few years, everyone in the start-up world has been talking about working from a stand-up desk, and the hype is still going. From small to large companies, everyone has started encouraging employees to use a standing table…

The standing-up desk is just like a regular desk, only higher. While some of them have an adjustable height, there are also basic versions that have a standard size. Besides contributing to the overall health and wellbeing, it is said that working from a stand-up desk can also improve your productivity – something I myself have first-hand experience of.

My full-time job as a marketing manager at Monitor Backlinks, involves a lot of writing, and therefore, a lot of sitting throughout the day. That translates in at least eight hours each day of inactivity that can only do harm for anyone's health. Even though I’m an active person in my free time, the hours when I only move my fingers on a keyboard can have a severe impact on my health.

Just like me, there are millions of people around the world, trapped in an uncomfortable chair where they are forced to spend an important part of their day. It’s not uncommon to feel sore after the end of the day, something that makes most people unhappy. Any self-respecting business that claims to care about employee’s wellbeing should consider offering them the opportunity to work from a stand-up desk.

Studies conducted by the American Cancer Society found that women that sit for more than six hours a day are with 37 per cent more likely to die prematurely than women who sat for less than three hours. For men, the early death rate is 18 per cent higher. Considering most people also spend, on average, 90 minutes per day sitting in their car while commuting to work, the demand for stand up desk is fully justified. 

While I love working from a stand-up position, I appreciate that I can adjust the height of my desk, in case I need to work again from a sitting position. Going 100 per cent on a stand-up desk is not recommended for your health either, hence why you have to find the right balance that suits you. Some prefer to work 50/50 while others never want to see a chair again. In my case, I decided to go for 70 per cent standing and 30 per cent sitting.

Read: Is it time for a technology curfew?

Needless to say, when working from a standing position, my productivity is much better, as I can concentrate more on the tasks that I am doing and I rarely waste time with distractions. Procrastination is a thing of the past for me. As for the health benefits, I am definitely more active, because I move more when working and I feel much better.

Many studies have suggested that working from a standing position is more natural and recommended for the overall wellbeing. These are the most popular benefits of sitting less:

  • Reduced risk of obesity
  • Reduced risk of type two diabetes and other metabolic problems
  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduced risk of cancer
  • Lowers long-term mortality risk

Short five minutes breaks away from the computer can also have a noteworthy impact on anyone’s level of concentration, and also help get rid of the fatigue accumulated while staring at a monitor. While most people know that taking a break is useful, very few take the time off to do something else other than checking their Facebook.

To make sure I respect my deadlines and follow my to-do list, I decided to use the Pomodoro technique. That’s a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 80s. Using a timer, you can break down tasks into a maximum of 90 minutes interval, separated by five minutes breaks. Once a task is completed, you can take a break and go to the next task after.

There are many Pomodoro applications available for Mac, Windows or even smartphones. The one I used is called Pomodoro One. This, coupled with my standing regime, has transformed productivity levels.

Working from a stand-up desk is great for your health and can boost your level of productivity. However, do consider that at the beginning, you might want to alternate the period of working from a standing with a sitting position. Overall, you feel better and get more things done in the same amount of time.

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. Thumbnail from gettyimages.

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