By Melissa J. Perignat, Attorney/Partner, Holt Ney Zatcoff & Wasserman, LLP
Realistically, climbing the corporate ladder requires logging in serious hours sitting at your desk. How else are you going to research potential new clients, draft flawless legal briefs, or prepare killer power point presentations. Indeed, it is estimated that professionals spend an average of 5 hours and 41 minutes sitting at their desk each day, and, quite frankly, I think it is more.
Research is showing, not surprisingly, that sitting for extended periods of time is having markedly negative impacts on our health and wellbeing: contributing to increased obesity, type 2 diabetes, back pain, neck pain and overall malaise. But, on the flip side, research also is showing that standing all day can cause back pain, foot pain and swelling of the extremities.
My issues With Commitment: Why I Chose an Adjustable Standing Desk
When I began looking for furniture for my office, I was intrigued with the idea of standing while working. One of my law partners has been using a standing desk for more than thirty years, and it worked for him. Not to mention, over the years I have often suffered from back pain (darn kickboxing classes) and found that sitting for hours can be downright painful and miserable. As I began my search, I discovered that solid wood standing desks are beautiful, but very expensive, and metal or plastic standing desks are less appealing, but affordable. Regardless of the material, however, I struggled with the fact that if you get a standing desk, then you likely are going to be standing all of the time in your office. I could not commit to that. What if I get tired? What if I sprain my ankle?
Expanding my search to include adjustable standing desks, I found the Jarvis adjustable desk from Ergo Depot. Of the options at the time, it was the most professional-looking desk I could find that met my requirements: simple, black, motorized (no crank), moderately-priced, and large work surface. It was the perfect compromise. I can fit my computer and extra screen, phone and inbox on my desk and still have ample room to work. And, the best part is that I can stand when I want (usually in the morning until mid-afternoon), and I can sit when I want (usually in the late afternoon, when I’m engaged in a heavy research or writing project or when I am pregnant).
Before You Stand Up and Buy One: The Realities of an Adjustable Standing Desk
• You will have flexibility. You can stand or sit depending on your mood or current physical condition. You can change it up every hour if you want.
• You should experience physical improvement. The benefits of standing at least some of the day are undeniable. Humans were not designed to sit at a desk in front of a computer screen all day long. You should find that by standing for some of the workday you will have increased energy and fewer aches and pains.
• Your office will have a modern look. Most adjustable standing desks look like, well, tables. With an adjustable standing desk, your office probably will not look as elegant and sumptuous as it would with an old-fashioned solid mahogany partners desk, but it will be functional and modern in appearance.
• You also may need a standard height table or console. Because of the design of most adjustable standing desks, you likely will need a table-height bookshelf or console to store files and office supplies that you do not want sitting on your desk. Additionally, if you do not want your computer screens to block you from office visitors, then you may also need a standard-height desk or table in your office.
• You will need to go (flat) shoe shopping. Obviously, you should not wear high heels while standing at your desk all day. Thus, using an adjustable standing desk may result in the need for several shoe changes throughout the day. (I have been caught barefoot in my office a time or two as well.) You will not need to leave your high heels at home, but you will need to have a good pair of flat shoes to slip into when you are standing at your desk for a prolonged period of time.
All-in-all, the adjustable standing desk has helped me, and may help you “lean in” without having to “lean over” all of the time.
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Melissa J. Perignat, a partner of Holt Ney Zatcoff & Wasserman, LLP, specializes in and handles all aspects of complex civil litigation and pre-litigation, representing and advising corporations, small business owners, property owners, property managers, asset managers, individuals, developers, lenders and borrowers in connection with a broad spectrum of legal matters. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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