If you sit in a chair all day, as most software developers do, a standing desk might be a good option for you.
Any software developer should be familiar with what’s like to sit all day. You know the drill.
After a few hours, or perhaps sooner, your body starts to get stiff. The day continues and you are still in your chair. Your butt starts hurting. You might get some neck and shoulder pain — perhaps even some back pain. Your fidgeting, your body’s uncomfortable, and worst of all, you just can’t focus on work.
That’s a feeling that I knew all too well. It sucks and it was affecting my ability to perform as a software developer.
A big problem is that most chairs lack flexibility — you are essentially locked into one position. What does this mean?
5 hours in a chair == 5 hours your body isn’t moving. And that’s a problem.
No movement, no blood flow — it’s no wonder so many software devs get into bad shape.
I first learned about standing desks a few years ago from a Linus Tech Tips Youtube Video. In that video, Linus and his team talked about their impressions of a certain standing desk.
“Wow, these things are cool!”, I thought to myself.
They go up, they go down — that’s awesome!
I knew that I wasn’t exactly living a “healthy” lifestyle, and I thought this would be a great way to become more active. A standing desk was something I planned to get eventually, but I didn’t prioritize it.
Well, fast forward a few years:
I was having a ton of pain all over and sitting in a chair all day just wasn’t helping.
I figured now was the time to make the switch.
So, I did some research, found a desk that I liked, and I took the plunge.
And… I love it.
Standing desks are great, but you need to know how to use them properly.
What Not To Do
I highly recommend that you do not get one of the non-adjustable standing desks.
A common trend is to regard sitting as “the new smoking”. Seriously — and if you don’t believe me, here’s the google search results page.
Taking this argument to it’s logical conclusion, a lot of people will tell you to throw out your chair and get a pure standing desk.
I don’t agree.
If you’ve ever worked a retail job, standing for 8 or 9 hours a day isn’t exactly kind to your body either.
The idea is to have a nice balance of standing and sitting. That is why getting a sit standing desk is key.
Both standing and sitting can be comfortable or uncomfortable depending on the situation.
Just like programming languages, frameworks, and libraries, sitting and standing are just tools.
And like tools, you need to know when to use them.
I start the day by standing. It wakes me up, gets my body moving, and it just feels like a nice, refreshing way to start the day.
Once my feet or lower back start to get tired, I switch to sitting. Sitting acts as a nice change of pace, and I’m able to be productive once again.
Once I get tired of sitting or feel like my concentration is waning, I stand back up and stretch a bit as I work.
Throughout the day I monitor my body and mood, and will sit or stand depending on what I need to keep myself an alert, well-oiled, software developing machine.
I consider my standing desk to be an indispensable part of my home office set-up and I have no intention of ever going back to a traditional desk.
I feel so much better every day and my health has definitely improved.
If you happen to be interested in software developer health, you can also check out my article How Diet Made Me a Better Software Developer.
If any of the problems I mentioned in the article resonate with you or you just want to try living a healthier lifestyle, getting a standing desk might be a good option. Of course, I am not a doctor, and if it’s a health issue you are having, don’t forget to consult a physician first.
Conclusion: standing desks are awesome!
If you have any questions or thoughts about my sit standing desk experience, please comment below.