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Desk Envy? How Standing Desks Can Get You Noticed at Work

You’ve heard about the health benefits of a standing desk, but did you know getting off your duff could benefit your career? We talked to Roman Paluta, an award-winning, Minneapolis-based advertising executive who ditched a derrière-friendly chair for a standing desk more than two years ago and knows the career upsides to being upright.


(Photo courtesy of Roman Paluta)

Boost creativity and productivity. Can working upright lead to upward mobility?  History points that way: Leonardo da Vinci, Ben Franklin and Winston Churchill are just a few successful folks who stood while working, according to an article in The New York Times on the trend of standing desks. (In the 19th and early 20th centuries, office workers such as clerks and accountants mostly stood.) “Am I more creative standing at work? Yes, I absolutely believe that I am,” Paluta said. “When I sit, I eventually slouch, slip into poor posture positions, and quickly grow sluggish and lose energy. When I stand, I feel more confident, more in control. Even my voice over the phone projects louder and more confidently. My lungs fill up more easily, my blood flows more easily, my mind is more clear, my body and brain operate more productively and efficiently.”

Build relationships. Paluta hates that email too often replaces face-to-face communication in the office. “When you sit all day, it's easier to hit the forward or reply buttons,” he said. “I transition more easily from my standing position to a walking position as I seek out co-workers and teammates to collaborate and make decisions together.”

Become a better leader. In a creative business like advertising and branding, sitting alone in your office is hardly conducive to generating the best ideas, Paluta said. “In reading the biography of Steve Jobs, the visionary behind Apple, I got the sense that he was constantly on the move, walking from one engineer's office to another. Standing fuels that sort of work and leadership style. Sitting is the antithesis of that kind of style.”

Avoid long, inefficient meetings — and hot air. “Some office cultures and people enjoy long meetings. I despise them,” Paluta said. “We've all worked with individuals who speak to impress rather than express. Or that simply aren't as busy as the others on the team. Give those kind of people a comfortable chair to sit in, and you are asking for a meeting to run over its time limit. Scheduling meetings in my office at my WorkUp Adjustable Table ensured that meetings ran efficiently and never too long.”

Be the envy of the office. Actually, Paluta described this a little differently. “I have not noticed any drawbacks (to using a standing desk), other than co-workers clamoring in my space wanting to try my desk,” he said. “They all have seemed envious.” So, if you’re the type of person who likes to catch your co-workers’ attention, a standing desk is your ticket.  

OK, and it’s healthy. 

Paluta said the biggest benefits of standing at work are improved health and vitality. “I feel better, my mood and attitude are better and my annual physicals have shown positive results as to heart health,” he said. 

There recently was a similar testimonial in this Lifehacker article. In case you’ve missed all this hoopla about the health benefits of standing at work, it’s based on scientific research showing the drawbacks of sitting. Scientists have determined that production of fat-burning enzymes slows by as much as 90 percent after an hour or more of sitting, according to a Forbes’ article, “What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages of Standing Desks?” Scientists also said in the article that extended sitting slows the body’s metabolism of glucose and lowers the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol in the blood — risk factors toward developing heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. 

Others in that same collection of Lifehacker articles point out a few drawbacks, like spider veins and leg fatigue. 

Tell Us What You Think

How else are standing desks beneficial or detrimental to your career performance or the workplace environment? Share your story on Twitter or in the comments section below.

More from PayScale

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3 Comments

  1. 3 Emma Harris 23 Aug
    Being a desk worker for years, I have experienced all the

    possible problems that result from the routine of sitting for hours on end. This is exactly why I decided to work standing up more often. I use this: http://tinyurl.com/6p844yk. This is a table that will quickly and easily convert any sit down desk into a stand up desk. The great thing about this is that I can simply revert back to a sit down desk once my feet grows all tired from standing.

  2. 2 Boxing Equipment 14 Aug
    I read this article as myself do favor working effectively and efficiently and working by sitting whole day gives you a chance of sleeping and your performance hits badly.
  3. 1 DayMartin 13 Aug
    I started standing over a year ago and love it. I definitely agree on the point about walking over to speak with someone rather than hitting reply. You just don't realize the inertia you have when sitting, and the afternoon "blah" feeling it creates! I like the Stand Steady because it is affordable and the height adjusts. www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C344VMY Also, be sure to wear comfortable shoes and get an antifatigue matt so standing doesn't end up hurting you feet!

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