In February, we had the pleasure of learning some great tips from Michelle Judd at Ergotron for making the most of a height adjustable workstation. One of the questions that didn’t make it into that first post was, “What kinds of tasks are better to do standing up vs. sitting down?” Here are a few of Michelle’s ideas along with my own for how to divvy up work between sitting and standing:
- For casual tasks like filing and collating that don’t require quite as much focus, standing is great. These activities often require bending, reaching, and stretching. Having more range of motion can keep you limber and might even help reduce your risk of strains or sprains.
- Standing is a must for any time you have to spend on hold when you’re on the phone. Pacing a little (or bopping to the hold music) can make the wait seem less tortuous. Conference calls are another good time to stand. Other callers can hear the energy in your voice when you are feeling “up” rather than just sitting there waiting for 5 o’clock to roll around.
- Impromptu in-cube meetings are an excellent opportunity to work standing up. When people are standing, they are more likely to get to the point. This could save you from getting sucked into a meeting that lasts longer than it should.
There is a Time to Sit
If you need to be “in the zone” with maximum concentration over a period of time, sitting (in an ergonomically adjusted chair) may help you stay focused. Sometimes, having your body very still lets your mind run at full speed. It’s also helpful for tasks that require lots of eye-hand coordination. For many of us, that includes things like typing emails or manipulating spreadsheets. Just don’t sit for more than 20-30 minutes without a break. Set a timer notification on your computer if that helps you remember to take a break.