Benefits of working at a standing desk

At the FreshBooks office you’ll find folks sitting at both regular desks plus a handful sitting a little more unconventionally. In fact, you’ll find they’re not sitting at all. Support Rockstar Tim Lee was recently filmed by HRReporter right at his amazing new standing desk, a trend that’s gaining popularity amongst many FreshBookers (the standing desk count is now at 12!).

Not sure how you could get work done while standing all day? It might not seem so bad when you consider the evidence pointing to the perils of sitting too long. Research shows that long stretches of physical inactivity can have harmful effects and even be as bad as obesity and smoking. While it may sound extreme, a recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine reported that spending between 8 and 11 hours sitting increases a person’s risk of death by as much as 15 per cent, compared to people who sit 4 hours or fewer.

According to the study’s lead researcher, Hidde van der Ploeg, long hours of sitting may increase fats in the blood and lower “good” cholesterol levels: “When you are standing or walking, your leg muscles are constantly working which helps to clear blood glucose and blood fats from the blood stream. If you are sitting, this is not happening because the muscles are not active.”

And in case you’re wondering, unconventional work setups don’t stop at standing desks. The Saskatchewan-based children’s author Arthur Slade has walked 2,633 kilometres since January 2009, all without leaving his home office. He writes from a treadmill desk, which means he can work longer periods without fatigue (and eat more chocolate). He built his own standing desk for $500 (including treadmill), and says it took him only 15 minutes to get used to walking and typing at the same time. “Now I feel much more awake and aware than when I was sitting,” he says. “I certainly think it’s helped my productivity and it’s helped my health.”Judging by other treadmill desk blogs popping up out there, Slade is one of a growing number of devotees.

So if you’re still sitting down as you read this, we highly recommend you add some standing into your day! For all you standing desk converts, tweet us a pic of your workspace @freshbooks

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  • Daisy Jiang

    Hey, cool feature! Where did you guys source your stand-up desks? Thinking about incorporating it into our office set-up too.


  • James

    What percentage of the employees at Freshbooks would you say are standing? and are they doing it all day or mixing it up?

  • Elliot Boudin

    I read about this and have seen some videos – this seems like it would get tiring at first. Do they take sit down breaks?

  • DL Lieberman

    I have used a stand up desk for several years now. It is the only way to go! There is nothing like it. The times passes very fast.

    Actually, it seems natural and less confining.
    Dancing and stretching are a lot easier for circulation! lol

    Once you try in you will never go back to a chair… boring!

  • Natalie

    Hi Sharon,
    Thanks for this post. I’m glad to see people learning about the benefits of standing and the harm that sitting for a long time can do.
    I recently started using a standing desk at work and honestly, I can’t imagine going back to sitting down for so many hours a day. I even made my own “homemade” standing desk at home for when I work from there.
    The good news is, NextDesk just released a smaller and more affordable version of their adjustable height desk (I use the Terra at work) which is good for small apartments, small offices, etc.
    Anyway, you might want to look into it: I’m really excited to get one for my own home– standing at work has really given me more energy, better posture, and made me that much more productive.
    Thanks again for the post!