I’ve been working standing up for about three and a half months, so it’s more than time for me to provide an update on that experiment. Which is: somewhat to my surprise, I’m still doing it! I’m not going to go out and start proclaiming that it is the way everybody should work, and I’m not even going to promise that I’ll still be working that way a year from now, but I haven’t stopped yet.
As expected, it stopped being actively annoying after a few weeks; my feet are still relieved when I give them a break and sit down, but they don’t hurt enough when I’m standing up for them to be on the forefront of my mind. I’m not completely sure whether the net effect on my aches and pains has been negative or positive, but I think I’m doing okay. Reading my earlier report, I noted that my back used to hurt sometimes when working sitting down; I haven’t thought about that for a while, so that suggests that my back is doing better. I occasionally wonder if it’s making my knees hurt, but I haven’t wondered that recently. My right foot did start hurting in a new way when walking a few weeks ago; I’ve changed shoes for now, and it’s getting better, but if that continues to hurt and correlates with working standing up instead of being a coincidence, that would be a problem.
It may have caused me to lose weight; I’m not completely sure, since we don’t own a scale, but I’d thought of myself as being in the 190-195 pound range. So I was surprised when we got Wii Fit a couple of months ago that I only weight 185 pounds. If I really have lost weight, though, I don’t know if working standing up is the cause; it’s possible that it’s instead due to my dietary changes. If I continue to lose weight, then I won’t worry about joint problems, because I figure that removing pounds will help my joints more than working standing up might hurt them.
None of that, however, is the reason why I’m continuing to work standing up. I’d read others report that working standing up gives them more energy, so I was hoping to start feeling peppy; that didn’t happen, alas. What did happen, however, was that, on days when I’d gotten to bed a bit later than wise the previous night, I didn’t feel like I needed a nap the next day. So that’s all to the good: while I still try to get to sleep at reasonable hours, I’m definitely glad that I have less of an early afternoon lull than I used to. (There is a flip side, though: on days when, for whatever reason, I’m not working standing up in the middle of the afternoon, my body seems even more likely to fall asleep than it was before.)
Which is enough to keep me going. As I said above, I’m not completely wedded to the practice—part of what makes it workable is that I’m doing isolated manager stuff much of the day, whereas if I were pair programming more then it would start to become a problem, and I’d stop the experiment. But the truth is that I’d like to experiment even further: if I find myself working from home regularly at some point in the future, for example, I think I will see if I can create some sort of treadmill desk. I don’t think I’ll follow Kathy Sierra’s lead and work while sitting on a saddle, but I totally believe her that it works: anything that makes it easy to keep your back straight and get your muscles moving around a bit sounds like a win.
This post has not been revised since publication.