Standing Desks Aren't For Everybody, Techies Discover

PHOTO: Crew founder Mikael Cho explains why he killed his standing desk in favor of a more relaxed work station.

Mikael Cho, 28, thought having a standing desk in the office would be the bee's knees, transforming his sedentary job to support his active lifestyle. But despite the trendy stories of health and productivity benefits, after about three weeks, he kissed his standing desk goodbye.

"A lot of us are focused on work and producing good work. The challenge was it interrupted your flow because I would think of physical things rather than the work," Cho said.

Studies warning of possible health dangers for those with sedentary lifestyles (shorter lifespan, for example), moved Cho, founder of Crew in Montreal, Canada, an independent network of mobile and web designers and programmers, into building his own standing desk made from Ikea furniture.

Read More: Stand Up for Better Health? Maybe Not

For about $22, he loosely followed a popular how-to guide for a do-it-yourself standing desk.

PHOTO: Crew founder Mikael Cho explains why he killed his standing desk in favor of a more relaxed work station.
pickcrew.com
PHOTO: Crew founder Mikael Cho explains why he killed his standing desk in favor of a more relaxed work station.

"I didn’t want to buy a $1,000 desk before I knew how it felt," he said.

And it's a good thing he didn't splurge for his experiment. Cho said he gave the standing desk a good college try, but it was too distracting and tiring during his three-week trial. He details in a company blog post how, day by day, he focused too much on the pain in his body than his work.

Instead, he settled on a more relaxed position: a chair that leans back 135 degrees to relieve pressure on his back, and a stool on which to rest his feet to improve circulation.

As the "guinea pig" in his office, the other four people also have voluntarily followed suit and have similar workstations with chairs that lean in varying angles and elevated feet.

Marc Hamilton, a professor of inactivity physiology at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., led studies that demonstrate the health dangers of inactivity or sitting for long periods of time. He told ABCNews.com in November there is little doubt that long periods of sitting carries health risks, but he has not seen evidence directly linking the use of standing or moving desks to improved health.

Cho said he was able to complete short tasks, such as reading and answering emails, on his standing desk, but he struggled when work required elongated periods of concentration.

Cho, who used to play soccer competitively as part of the Olympic development program, said he tries to maintain a level of activity by walking and stretching during the day.

He also plays soccer and trains every other day.

"That’s where I get my workout -- not trying to get a workout while I’m writing," he said.

ABC News' Liz Neporent contributed to this story.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Left, Sabrina Allen, 4, is shown in this photo provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; right, Sabrina Allen, 17, is seen in this undated handout photo.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children|Courtesy of PI Phillip Klein
Kelly Ripa
Seth Poppel/Yearbook Library
PHOTO: Earths moon is pictured as observed in visible light, left, topography, center, and the GRAIL gravity gradients, right.
NASA/GSFC/JPL/Colorado School of Mines/MIT