Stand Up! Everything You Need to Know about a Standing Desk

by Ruth Lincoln, Head Editor INALJ Washington, DC

Stand Up! Everything You Need to Know about a Standing Desk

Ruth Lincoln, INALJ DC Head Editor

Ruth Lincoln, INALJ DC Head Editor

While our jobs as information professionals can run the gamut, we often find ourselves sitting. A lot. All that sitting can take a toll. For the past six months, I’ve been working behind a standing desk, and I wouldn’t trade it for the most luxurious office chair.

As a government contractor, I did not work during the recent shutdown. Besides the paycheck, I really missed my standing desk. Since I began standing I’ve noticed the following:



  • Improved Posture. Standing requires you engage your core muscles (abs, low back, hips). Strengthening your core can help improve your posture.
  • Sounder Sleep. I immediately noticed I slept more soundly at night. While a standing desk doesn’t replace regular exercise, it definitely exhausts your muscles more than sitting.
  • Alert afternoons. I’m far less likely to feel sleepy around 3:30 when I stand. Really!  

How to Get a Standing Desk


If you work for a large company or organization, odds are there’s some sort of “ergonomics expert” on staff. Ask your boss or administrative professionals if it’s possible to install a standing workstation. Every desk is different, but it’s sometimes as simple as raising one board.

Hack it. 

A standing desk is easy enough to build or hack yourself. You don’t even need to be an IKEA genie. There are ample guides to get you started:

Tips and Tricks

Have a Tall Chair or Stool. Let’s be honest. You’re not going to stand all day. Everyone needs a break, and having a tall chair or simple stool is vital. Be sure to consider necessary back support. A stool might not be suitable for all.

Start slow. Don’t expect to stand 8 hours on Day 1. Ease into your standing desk. I began standing for 45 minutes, sitting for 15, and repeated that throughout the day. Gradually increase the standing:sitting ratio.

Consider a Mat. The floor might seem harder after standing for a few hours, and comfy mats can alleviate this stress. You can go fancy or simple. I fold my yoga mat over a few times, and it definitely creates more cushion for my feet.

Wear Comfortable Shoes. This is the hallmark of everything librarian-related conference, so I’m guessing you have a few pairs. Standing in heels for hours is far different than standing in supportive, comfortable flats, so pick your soles wisely. On a day you have a big event (maybe an interview?!), wear flats in the office and switch to heels when it’s show time.

Sit as Work Requires. There are some intensive activities that require more thought and effort, and I definitely need to sit for those.

Practice Proper Posture. Standing isn’t a golden ticket for proper posture. You still must make a conscious effort to stand up straight, stretch, and move throughout the day.

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