By Lauren Rust
Standing around at work has taken on a new meaning to faculty and staff at Hutchinson Community College.
These employees have new “stand-up” desks, otherwise known as standing workstations.
These desks follow the rules of ergonomics, which studies how individuals work with the most efficiency. According to Cornell University Ergonomics, extensive sitting leads to fat build-up and may relate to heart disease risks.
Sitting also uses less energy than standing, which is why ergonomists recommend standing. Experts say it can “burn about 20% more calories.”
They also recommend alternating between standing and sitting at these desks. The cycle for sitting, standing, and possibly walking can be different for each individual.
These desks come in many forms, but are usually elevated monitors and keyboards that are at the same height as the individual who uses them.
These desks can be adjustable or stationary. They can be bought or designed on your own. Some even use an elliptical trainer or a treadmill at the desk for optimal exercise.
These desks have a range in price, considering many employees have used materials available to them to build their own. Ryan Diehl, curriculum improvement coordinator, stacked small tables on his desk to raise his monitor.
Diehl said that before this, he stacked a coffee table on top of his desk to elevate his computer monitor so he could stand.
Individuals can also purchase adjustable desks from websites, such as Ergotron.com or MyUpDesk.com.
Many employees at HCC have taken on this new way of working to be more productive and active.
Glen Acheson, assistant director of ITS, has had a standing desk for about two years now.
He stands for about six to seven hours a day and admits that it took a couple of weeks to adjust to standing, but it was worth it.
“It was half successful,” Acheson said. “I wanted to burn more calories and improve posture, but standing does not burn many calories.”
He also suggests a cushion mat or an anti-fatigue mat to help with standing for the long periods of time.
Acheson inspired Ryan Diehl to create his own version of the desk.
Diehl says that he has seen an improvement in his posture, mood, and productivity.
Lisa Parson, instructional technologist, has also taken on this new kind of desk. She, unlike Acheson and Diehl, has an adjustable desk for sitting or standing.
This allows her to put into practice a routine of standing for an hour, sitting for an hour, and walking to different meetings throughout the day.
“It is best to work your way up to standing for an hour,” Parson said. She recommends this kind of desk to anyone, but to make sure that their elbows are bent at 90 degrees and that you purchase an anti-fatigue mat.
Employees can choose to sit or stand, but these desks are getting a standing ovation throughout campus.