A new way of working


One of the highlights of my week has been the acquisition of a new standing desk. This was previously used by a colleague who left the University at the end of June, and so I’ve abused my Head of School privilege to liberate it. I’ve suffered with back problems for many years (including a spectacular herniated disk in 2012, which I have never really recovered from) and so I’m going to see if standing for some of the day makes things better than slouching in a chair all day.

The import of a new desk has created a lot more room in my tiny office and so I’m feeling quite excited by all the space too.

My desk has an electric control that allows me to set it to any height, and so the plan is to spend about 3 hours a day with it raised up to about elbow level for standing work (as in picture), and the remainder of the day has it down in seated mode. I’m finding that I am automatically selecting different types of task for each position. Reading and intense writing gets done sitting down, whilst I answer emails and do editing jobs standing up.

Among the positives I noted so far are:

  1. I’ve actually had some standing up meetings with visitors to the office. That keeps them shorter and by standing by the screens we have focused on specific tasks.
  2. I’ve taken a lot more steps this week- I wander around when I’m thinking if I’m working in standing mode
  3. When I am standing I am less prone to procrastination or daydreaming- in standing mode I am very focused

So far the negatives that I have noticed are:

  1. I am a lot more tired at the end of the day
  2. My feet and knees are hurting- they aren’t used to working so hard
  3. I still haven’t worked out the best ‘mode’ for different tasks
  4. I like listening to music while I work and there is a tendency to either dance, or pretend that I am playing keyboards in a band, whilst I am working. Both are very embarrassing if someone comes into the office without me noticing. The new layout has me with my back to the door. Thufir Hawat’s admonition to Paul Atreides is ingrained in my brain, so I’m most uncomfortable.

One thought on “A new way of working

  1. Great stuff Simon – some of my team use these and have similar experiences- they’re all keyboard players in the afternoon … this is good to hear that you’re embracing modern and agile working !

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