Workplace TrendsFeatures

Thinking On Their Feet

Wherever you weigh in on the hazards of sitting vs. standing all day or alternating between the two, there’s no denying that standing (and also walking) desks are populating offices everywhere, even McNair Hall at the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University.

An informal poll of faculty at the business school revealed different reasons, from health to height to hoping for increased productivity. Here’s what the research is telling us:

Ben Lansford
Director of the Master of Accounting Program
Professor in the Practice of Accounting

  • Neck pain
  • All day sitting

“I’m tall (6’4”), so a regular height desk means I have to hunch while I type on my computer. Starting in my Ph.D. program days, I developed pretty bad upper back pain. So I actually use my “standing desk” to raise my computer and keyboard to just the right height for when I’m sitting. It works like a charm. It has completely removed my neck pain!”

Brian Akins
Assistant Professor of Accounting

  • Back pain
  • All day standing, barefoot with two anti-fatigue mats

“I’m more productive in the afternoon. You can’t fall asleep standing up. I found I was getting a lot more done.”

David De Angelis
Assistant Professor of Finance

  • Back pain
  • Alternates sitting and standing

“I’ve only been doing it one semester, but I’m moving more and more to standing when I need to think.”

Jefferson Duarte
Associate Professor of Finance and
Gerald D. Hines Associate Professor of Real Estate Finance

  • Walking desk, alternates between two desks (walking and sitting) with two computers connected remotely. Speed: 1.1 mph

“I didn’t want to be sitting all the time. At this speed, I can read and write without any problems. It helps a lot with my productivity in the afternoon.”

K. Ramesh
Herbert S. Autrey Professor of Accounting

  • Avoid late afternoon lethargy
  • Hoping to improve focus

“With just four months of use, can’t be confident in identifying specific positive outcomes, but that won’t stop me! Time seems to fly faster. My productivity has gone up in terms of quantity, but only time will tell about its quality!”

This article originally appeared in the Jones Journal, Spring 2016.