I'd rather have a seat

I loved my Geek Desk, but I found the experience was not as life changing as promised

Posted by Tejus Parikh on July 22, 2014

Sit or stand, that is the question when it comes to office furniture. Standing desks will help you live longer, lose weight, and focus more, at least according to articles like this one on Wired. I loved my Geek Desk, but I found that the experience was not as life changing as promised. This is the run down of my experience with it.

Standing is not comfortable. I quickly got distracted because of aching calves or tired feet. This was especially bad on days after workouts when my legs were already tired from physical activity. Trying to increase the amount of time I spent standing did not help either. I would start to focus on how uncomfortable I was instead of the task at hand. My time in the developer zone reduced and my focus was gone.

Of course, programming is not the only thing I do during the day. I found that when I was doing something social, standing did make me more productive. Standing and talking is much more informal than sitting and talking. This often made collaboration on code or a product feature easier. One also feels less bad about asking a colleague over when they are already out of their seat. Checking and replying to email was far less tedious when I could shuffle around a bit and stand.

I found the biggest advantage of a sit-stand desk was how it helped context switch from social situations, such as informal meetings or code reviews, to focused development work. Much is made of the productivity impact of context switching and having a physical marker between the modes helped.

At my new job, I had to make a choice and I chose to sit. As the sole full time developer, my programming productivity really matters and that is enhanced by sitting. For CTO parts of my job where standing makes sense, I do not really need access to my laptop. Despite all the claims that my well-being and health will improve, I found much bigger gains from lunchtime walks and taking the dog for a run. If given the choice, I would go for a sit-stand desk again, but for now, I'm perfectly happy taking a seat.

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Tejus Parikh

Tejus is an software developer, now working at large companies. Find out when I write new posts on twitter, via RSS or subscribe to the newsletter: