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Productivity Secret: Stand While You Work

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Do you tend to lose focus after sitting at the desk for hours on end answering emails and being on conference calls? Chances are, you’re probably sitting in a chair or a sofa reading this article.

Look back at your day, how much of your time did you spend sitting? Consider the time you spent driving to work, sitting in meetings or class, or sitting on a couch at home watching TV.

A great way to divert from our sedentary tendencies and to improve focus is to work at a height-adjustable standing desk. In this post, I’ll explore some benefits of these desks and I hope you find it helpful.



Our Productivity “Cycles”

improve your productivity while standing and working

I have been working in an office environment pretty much ever since I graduated from college. Even then, after a few hours of studying – I noticed my focus declining with time.  This happens to everyone some extent. We have a limited attention span, and so it’s inevitable that our productivity would decline with time. Research indicates that our prime focus is within the first 90 minutes of work.

As you continue to push yourself to push through and work tirelessly for hours on end, your body’s “fight or flight” response kicks in releasing all sorts of chemicals that are not good for you (I don’t want to bore you with the hormone action details and their consequences).

Scientists term these cycles of “productivity” as ultradian rhythms, where your brains highest frequency activity (and thus most efficiency) comes during that 90 minutes. No wonder we switch to checking into our social media, as our brain just can’t maintain focus for this long.

My solution in college? Force myself to get up and go to a coffee shop to coffee to bring my concentration back up, thinking that that was the solution.



What’s a Standing Desk?

Recently, I’ve noticed myself going down the same path at work. With my bottom firmly planted in my office chair, I would sip on coffee throughout the day to “stay awake.” I’ve simply grown accustomed to the office life. But … I’ve always looked at different ways of staying productive. I’ve attended AMA workshops – thinking that they’ll share the hidden secret to productivity. Nope, it was not it.

Since I was relatively new to the organization where I was working, I’ve began noticing that some of my colleagues were using standing desk. They literally stood while they were typing. But, the inquisitive person that I am, I had to do more research and I was pleasantly surprised at the benefits (I’ll talk more about them shortly).



Getting My First Standing Desk

improve your productivity

A little bit ago, our company went through some restructuring and some people have moved around the organization. There were quite a few empty offices with all of the “gadgets” left behind. One day, I passed by an executive assistant in the hallway who was working with facilities to re-organize the empty offices, and somehow the standing desks came up in the conversation. She offered to drop one off in my office.

No request or approval needed? No Paperwork? Sign me up!

She later wheeled the desk into my office on a dolly and we lifted it up together on my desk. And there it was … as “monster of a desk” sitting on top of my office table.

What exactly am I referring to? Well, they are sometimes referred to as adjustable standing desks, that allow you to change its height to a comfortable standing position to allow you to work standing, or switch down to a sitting configuration. Most often these desks come with specialty mats for your feet. These mats are ultra soft, “memory-foam like” pads that prevent fatigue and potential back pains. 

In fact, standing desks have become widely popular in the corporate world, and companies have ventured out to convert conventional office tables into hydraulic desks. I must say – very cool concept.

Become More Productive

This is honestly the best thing I could have discovered for myself. Today, I spend most of my day standing at my work computer while replying to emails and even attending conference calls.

I am so much more focused.

In fact, NHS study found that workers who have the convertible desks sat less (by about an hour an a half a day!) and they experienced boosts in their productivity.  Another study by Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health noted that workers with standing desks were 46% more productive than those who were not working with standing desks.

It’s quite simple, yet impressive. You get more cerebral circulation to your brain when standing rather than sitting. By increasing blood circulation, your brain gets a higher turnover of oxygen and glucose that it needs to perform effectively. 

That’s strictly research speaking.

I’ve also noticed that I’ve become more mobile around my office and way more productive. It takes less convincing to walk over to grab something or go ask someone a question when you’re already standing. 

Health Benefits of Working Standing

health benefits of working while standing

Did you know that you burn more calories while standing than sitting (approximately 88 calories/hour more, according to this study)? This is because your body uses more muscles to maintain your posture and keep you standing. Over a period of a week, those calories do add up!

I’m not suggesting that this is a great way to lose weight, but it definitely helps.

According to this study, other health benefits of working at a standing desk include:

  1. Improve back pain
  2. Improved mood and energy
  3. Improved satisfaction with work
  4. Decreased risk of heart disease
  5. Decreased risk of type 2 diabetes
  6. Decreased risk of obesity.


I highly recommend you try to work standing. This doesn’t mean you run out and buy a standing desk now … But you should consider it. But you can improvise by putting a box on top of your table and work off your laptop on that! And if your work allows, ask your boss to see if you can buy and expense it out. 

Leave a Comment!

I love hearing from you and as always would love to learn your ideas, perspectives, and comments. You don’t know, what you don’t know and I am all ears to hear about what you have to say. And if you just want to say “hi” – would love to take the opportunity to say “hi” back!

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