The Great Erection: Standing Desks Are On the Rise

Coworkers cry, "be seated!"

  • When I decided to write about using a standing desk, I expected to join the ranks of exhilarated converts. I’m not tall, don’t weigh much, and have never had back trouble, so I figured I was a prime candidate. But it’s the fourth day of the experiment, and my computer screen is angled down, and my neck is craned up, like a fourth grader.

    I am sitting at my standing desk.

    Using a standing desk seemed like a great idea a few weeks ago, when I took a tour of the Internet startup Stack Exchange, where islands of tall desks make it look like the office was preparing for a storm surge. “I love it,” said one community manager who was loitering after hours at one of the spindly worksurfaces. He looked so relaxed there, leaning on one elbow, his legs crossed jauntily at the ankle, smiling like a life-size Wellbutrin commercial. “I can never work at a normal company after this.”

    Ten percent of the employees at Facebook and AOL reportedly use a standing desk; Google offers them under its “wellness program.” San Francisco startup Asana, which actually means “sitting down” in Sanskrit, gives new employees $10,000 to customize their workstations. In 1999 the ultimate symbol of employee appreciation was the $900 Herman Miller Aeron chair; now it’s the $1,500 Steelcase Airtouch Height-Adjustable Desk by Details, which has an electric motor in the base.

    The current Internet boom is fueled not only by recent news reports on the health hazards incurred by simply sitting on one’s ass but by a pathological need to optimize. Book a doctor’s appointment from your iPhone. Connect your Google and Facebook to get personalized recommendations. Rent out that extra bedroom on Airbnb, the extra car on Getaround, and the extra parking space on ParkatmyHouse. Recently, two dueling startups launched in Manhattan for scheduling laundry pickup and delivery online.

    The standing desk mashes up two of our current compulsions—exercising and working—which makes it perhaps the ultimate emblem of our efficiency-crazed moment. Read More

Comments

  1. Ha- clever title, I love this! Thanks very much for the post. You have really pointed out just how much sitting the average person can do and not even notice it. From sitting in the car on the way to work, sitting at work, sitting in the car on the way home…
    I’ve read over and over that it doesn’t even matter if you work out for an hour a day– if you’re sitting all day at work you’re still more likely to be A) obese, B) have heart and health problems, C) less energetic, and D) even die sooner.
    Sooo after reading all of this, I decided to take a stand (ha, get it?) and get an adjustable height desk. I use the NextDesk Terra at work and LOVE it. I’m happy to be able to move between standing and sitting by simply pushing a button( I take short sitting breaks now, as opposed to the other way around)
    You can check it out on their website– I recommend the Terra for aesthetics, but there are tons of other options just depending on your taste. http://www.nextdesks.com/models
    Thanks for the post!
    Natalie

/Innovation

Looking for Betabeat?

Betabeat is now the newly launched Innovation section of the Observer. All your favorite features and columns—as well as exciting new areas of tech coverage—can now be found at Observer.com/Innovation.

Don't miss the latest and best writing on technology and the future of business innovation. Add the Innovation section to your RSS feed and follow the Observer on Twitter and Facebook.