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The stand-up desk craze: what is it, and how can you try it out?

Standing desks are wildly popular in tech offices and coworking spaces across the nation, and the benefits are substantial, but how do you know if it’s right for you without investing dough?



Why are stand up desks taking the professional world by storm?

Sitting at your desk for eight hours a day can become tedious very quickly, and we’ve all heard how gaining weight is a natural side effect or result of this type of sedentary behavior. Unfortunately, many of us don’t have much of a choice, as our jobs require us to sit at a computer or at a desk all day.

But the truth is that you do have an interesting option—the stand up desk. The stand up desk is exactly what you think: a desk that allows you to work while standing up.

Advantages of standing desks

There are several advantages to making the switch to a stand up desk. The first is obvious. You’ll burn more calories standing up than sitting down. This will help you be more active throughout the day so that dreaded weight gain won’t find you.

The second advantage is that it can help you become more productive. Sitting down can cause you to be more recessive in nature. But if you stand, you will feel more energized and your mind and body will know it’s time to get things accomplished.

A third advantage is that it can help alleviate back pain from being seated for long periods of time. It can build your back and torso muscles so that you can not only alleviate that pain, but get rid of it altogether, and fans of standing desks say it also helps with your posture.

Disadvantages of standing desks

One major disadvantage to using a stand up desk is that it can be hard on your body if you’re not wearing the right shoes or even standing with the right posture. Doing anything for eight hours straight – and many times even longer – is hard on your body, no matter if it’s sitting or standing.

The second disadvantage is having lunch at your desk. In your job or industry, eating your lunch at your desk while you continue to work on tasks can be cumbersome. If so, you’ll have to find some place to sit down so you can eat your lunch, and then get right back to work after.

The final disadvantage to a stand up desk is potentially a lack of privacy. If you work in a space with many other coworkers, standing up while working could mean that you’re the center of attention and everything you do within your work station is visible to everyone around you. If you need to make a phone call at your desk, some people may watch you absentmindedly. If you need to reapply some makeup or zip up a forgotten zipper, guess what? You’re basically on a stage.

The takeaway

Stand up desks have taken the professional world by storm because they promote a healthier lifestyle than the alternative. However, making the switch will take some getting used to. In fact, you may feel wiped out during the first few days or weeks as you adjust. And if you want to take it one step further, there are even stand up desks with treadmills.

Or, if you don’t want to commit to one type of desk, you do have the option to purchase a desk that converts to a standing or sitting desk. The important thing is that you’re aware and you take control of your health and your professional life. Ultimately, you’ll need to decide and act upon which method works best for you.

Bonus: try out a stand up desk right now

Before investing in a new desk, or creating your own, Lifehacker style, there are some ways you can try out a stand up desk to see if it is something you even like, as visually outlined below:

stand-up desk

Remember, ergonomics are important, and there is such a thing as a standing desk that is too high or too low, so study the visual below, and go to the Ergotron calculator and enter your height to see where your personal standing desk needs to be.

standing desk

For more inspiration, visit and do a search for “standing desk” and “stand up desk” to see what is already being used in the workplace.

The American Genius Staff Writer: Charlene Jimenez earned her Master's Degree in Arts and Culture with a Creative Writing concentration from the University of Denver after earning her Bachelor's Degree in English from Brigham Young University in Idaho. Jimenez's column is dedicated to business and technology tips, trends and best practices for entrepreneurs and small business professionals.

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  1. BullRealty

    September 20, 2012 at 5:45 am

    @mheschmeyer when you tried stand up desk, did you have sit down option? Nice to sit and then stand sometimes like when making sales calls?

    • mheschmeyer

      September 20, 2012 at 6:15 am

      @BullRealty Did not Michael. It was like standing behind a pulpit.

      • UpDesk

        September 20, 2012 at 9:52 am

        @mheschmeyer I agree with @BullRealty. It’s more about finding the perfect mixture of sitting AND standing.

  2. okaycitynate

    September 20, 2012 at 8:35 am

    @ShowMeOKC I do! I’ve been working at a stand-up desk since January and I *love* it!

    • ShowMeOKC

      September 20, 2012 at 8:36 am

      @okaycitynate Awesome! What are the top 3 things you love about it?

      • okaycitynate

        September 20, 2012 at 9:32 am

        @ShowMeOKC Off the top of my head: My back feels great, I have more energy throughout the day, and it’s easier to manage desktop clutter.

        • ShowMeOKC

          September 20, 2012 at 9:32 am

          @okaycitynate Thank you! Those sound like major benefits.

        • okaycitynate

          September 20, 2012 at 9:34 am

          @ShowMeOKC downsides: my feet sometimes hurt, it’s harder to eat lunch at my desk, and it hasn’t helped me lose one extra ounce.

        • ShowMeOKC

          September 20, 2012 at 9:36 am

          @okaycitynate Those makes sense too. Do you move around a lot more than you did before?

        • okaycitynate

          September 20, 2012 at 9:40 am

          @ShowMeOKC not as much as I’d expected, but yes.

        • ShowMeOKC

          September 20, 2012 at 9:42 am

          @okaycitynate Thanks for the info! Really helps to have input from real-life locals 🙂

  3. desireegood

    September 20, 2012 at 8:56 am

    @ShowMeOKC I love my standing desk! I still use a chair occasionally but like the option to do either.

    • ShowMeOKC

      September 20, 2012 at 8:57 am

      @desireegood It sounds great! How long have you been using the standing desk?

      • desireegood

        September 20, 2012 at 9:01 am

        @ShowMeOKC about 6 months. I have an IKEA desk with adjustable legs but I wish it would go a little bit higher.

        • ShowMeOKC

          September 20, 2012 at 9:01 am

          @desireegood Great! So, was that desk made to be a standing desk, or did you modify it?

        • desireegood

          September 20, 2012 at 9:11 am

          @ShowMeOKC The legs are adjustable so it’s made to be taller but even though I am only 5’3″ it still needs to be about 4″ higher.

        • ShowMeOKC

          September 20, 2012 at 9:12 am

          @desireegood Ah, interesting. Seriously considering it here in the office.

        • desireegood

          September 20, 2012 at 9:15 am

          @ShowMeOKC there are about 20 of us that have gone to the standing. One guy even had custom legs made to get the height he wanted.

        • ShowMeOKC

          September 20, 2012 at 9:17 am

          @desireegood Wow! Any chance you could send a pic of how your office is set up with all those standing desks?

    • UpDesk

      September 20, 2012 at 9:31 am

      @desireegood That’s actually what we suggest! It’s all about finding the perfect balance of sitting AND standing. (cc @ShowMeOKC)

  4. jonbenya

    September 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    I’ve been wanting to switch to a standing desk for a long time.  Finding one worth buying seems to be the challenge.

  5. UpDesk

    September 20, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    @RaymondDuke Why don’t you get one then?

    • RaymondDuke

      September 20, 2012 at 4:35 pm

      @MyUpDesk still figuring out how I could make my own. I’m on a budget; on both $ and living space.

      • UpDesk

        September 20, 2012 at 4:37 pm

        @RaymondDuke Ah, gotcha! Here are some tips for you in the meantime:

        • RaymondDuke

          September 20, 2012 at 7:13 pm

          @MyUpDesk Cool – thanks! Have a great rest of your week UpDesk Twitter persona!

        • UpDesk

          September 20, 2012 at 8:24 pm

          @RaymondDuke Yes, sir! You as well! Hope those tips were helpful to you 😉

  6. Roland Estrada

    September 22, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    I love the idea. It becomes problematic if your office has built-ins. It would be nice to find add-on solutions that don’t look clumsy. 

  7. HltyOfficeSpc

    November 6, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    @hltyofficespc offers a Transition Workstation that works with your existing desk. This product is a great alternative to the D.I.Y desk because it features a slim, portable design that is easy to store when not in use.

  8. NatalieGrigson

    November 23, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Thanks very much for the post. I know there are advantages and disadvantages to standing all day– which you pointed out very succinctly and clearly, thanks! But it is also no good to sit around all day. I’ve read over and over that the best solution is to switch between sitting and standing, moving and staying still throughout the day. Once I found this out, I switched, not to a standing desk, but to a NextDesk. NextDesks are adjustable height desks, totally eco-friendly, easy, beauuuttiful, and even have adjustable keyboard trays (which is apparently much better for your wrist comfort and posture. 4 months after starting to use one, I see that it is!)
    Anyway, I’ve been very happy with my adjustable height desk so far. If you’d like to check them out, here is their website:
    Thanks again for the post!

  9. NatalieGrigson

    December 11, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Hi Charlene,
    Have you thought about using an adjustable height desk? Don’t get me wrong, some of these standing desks pictured look very nice, but what do you do when you want to take a break for a moment and sit down?
    I use a NextDesk at work– it’s a type of adjustable height desk. I really like it. At first I was sitting most of the day and taking “standing breaks,” but now I hardly ever sit down. When I do want to, though, it is nice to have that option without having to have two desks or a stool (stools usually don’t have the best back support, which kind of defeats the purpose of having an ergonomically friendly standing desk, no?)
    Anyway, I just thought you might want to check them out. They also just came out with a smaller and more affordable model, good for home offices, etc:

  10. H_Phillips

    February 10, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    I evolved my standing desk from:

    1) boxes propped up on a desk with keyboard on top.
    2) Encyclopedias placed under a desk to prop it up.
    3) Working on top of a tall dresser.
    4) Finally built a custom desk out of IKEA.

    I can’t say how gratifying it is to have a REAL desk and not working on a stupid collection of boxes or staring at a stack of books on the floor. Do yourself a favor and make the jump…get rid of your sitting desk and buy/build yourself a dedicated standing desk. Here is the one I built. I used about $115 of IKEA stuff and bought a kit online ($79) to extend the VIKA Artur desk to accomodate my height (I’m 6’3″).

  11. Pingback: Stay Healthy and Productive with a Standing Desk - Revedecor

  12. Pingback: OfficeHealth: the crucial app for anyone that sits at a desk all day - AGBeat

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Business News

Claire’s deep debt may force them into Chapter 11 bankruptcy

(BUSINESS NEWS) Millennial nostalgia reaches peak levels as decades-old jewelry store Claire’s declares bankruptcy.




Poor, sweet Claire’s. The place I got my ears pierced in fifth grade along with countless other tweens over the years. Where nearly all my accessories from age nine to 19 were purchased.

The place I swore to stop shopping because apparently my skin is allergic to every material they use. Looks like losing me as a customer has had a huge impact, because Claire’s is filing for bankruptcy.

Formerly the go-to haven for all things sparkly, cheap, and sold in multipacks, the fashion accessory chain is now suffering the same fate as many other mall-based retailers.

Although inexpensive accessories remain popular, mall foot traffic has slowed significantly enough that Clarie’s and other retailers are suffering from crushing debt.

Claire’s current debt load is $2 billion, with a $60 million interest payment due March 13 of this year. More pressure is added with $1.4 million due to mature next year as well. Their debt load is over 10 times a key measure of their annual earnings.

Filing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy means the decades-old store can remain open while a more formal plan for turnaround is established.

The chain has been around since the early 1970s after a merger. Longtime Claire’s owner Rowland Schaeffer founded Fashion Tress Industries in 1961, which at the time was a worldwide leader in fashion wigs.

By 1973, Schaeffer acquired jewelry chain Claire’s, and renamed the merged companies Claire’s Fashion Accessories. For several decades, the Schaeffer family ran the business, with Rowland’s daughters eventually taking over.

In 2007, Apollo Global Management LLC acquired the business from the Schaeffer family for $3.1 billion. From 2010 to 2013, the company added an additional 350 stores, and had over 2,700 stores globally.

Although the takeover was successful in terms of adding stores, it also added a huge debt to Claire’s, from which it has not been able to recover.

Early in 2017, the company withdrew their initial public offering and continued struggling despite operating over 3,000 stores worldwide.

As part of the Chapter 11 agreement, business control will pass from Apollo Global Management LLC to other lenders.

To stay afloat, they plan on selling merchandise in CVS Pharmacies and Giant Eagle supermarkets in hopes of reaching customers outside of the standard mall habitat Claire’s previously occupied.

So while Claire’s isn’t dead quite yet, you may want to stock up on BFF necklaces and 20-pair earring sets while you still have the chance.

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Business News

Toys ‘R’ Us to close all stores by week’s end?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Toys “R” Us just announced they’re dying, and fast. As in SURPRISE, all their stores might be closed by the end of the week fast.



toys r us

Following on the heels of Claire’s filing Chapter 11, the bankruptcy boogie man took things to the next level with Toys “R” Us, passing their fate along to the grim reaper of retail.

Last September, the toy retail giant filed for bankruptcy. A $3.1 billion loan kept them alive for a while, but so far, lenders haven’t issued a debt restructuring, and no buyers have stepped up.

In January this year, the store announced around 180 of their 880 U.S. locations would be closing, affecting over 4,500 employees. Then in February, another 200 stores got added to the chopping block due to poor performance over the holiday season.

Recent closures began in February, and are expected to take place through mid-April. Oh except that actually all of the United States stores may be closing. This week.

According to anonymous inside sources, Toys ‘R’ Us may end up liquidating their U.S. stores if a deal can’t be reached to settle the debt.

A huge portion of corporate staff will also be laid off. Worldwide, Toys R Us has over 1,600 stores that stock major brands, who are also suffering from this announcement.

Hasbro’s stock fell 3.5 percent last Friday, and Mattel took a 7.0 percent hit. Recent regulatory filings from both companies indicate that Toys ‘R’ Us made up nearly 10 percent of their overall sales.

Spin Master, owner of the crazy popular Hatchimals brand, fell 3.0 percent on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Amazingly, even Lego reported their first sales drop in the last thirteen years.

While Toys R Us closing everything would certainly have an impact on major toy companies, fortunately, several other avenues exist for getting products to customers.

Other major retailers like Walmart and Target will likely see a boost to their toy sales, and local toy stores may fare well with at least one giant competitor slain.

So it’s not like you’re totally out of luck if you want to buy the next new thing. You just probably can’t go to Toys “R” Us anymore.

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Business News

3 educational models that apprenticeships are stumping

(BUSINESS NEWS) Apprenticeships are taking off, and disrupting various sectors, including education – but how?




We’re obsessing over the rapidly growing concept of apprenticeships as a way to accelerate careers and give employers meaningful ways to educate and employ. The internship model is often useless and people leave with little more than having memorized a list of coffee orders. One of the few success stories in the apprenticeship game is Digital Creative Institute (DCI), which is headquartered in Texas right near us.

Have a five minute conversation with anyone at DCI, and you’ll see why they’re leading the apprenticeship movement. I recently asked them about how the model disrupts education – they had so much expertise on the topic, that we asked them to put pen to paper, and boy did they.

Below, in the words of Alexis Bonilla at DCI are the three educational models that apprenticeships are stumping:

“Apprenticeship” is the word on the street right now – the hot topic everyone is talking about. You probably know the basics, but we’re sure you still have a few questions. We’re going to try and answer the big, looming question: How does it compare to more traditional learning platforms?

We recently had a conversation surrounding technologists and the best way for them to learn coding. We explored Master’s Programs, bootcamps/coding schools, and teaching yourself while on the job. Then apprenticeships came up, and we decided to talk to the ones who designed the digital marketing apprenticeship here in Austin – Digital Creative Institute.

To sum it up, an apprenticeship is an educational structure where you work while you learn. A few nights a week you’ll take classes and work on projects and certifications, all while holding down a full-time job in the field you are studying. For a more in-depth look at apprenticeships, check out our article, ‘Apprenticeships: How focused training can jumpstart your career’.

Master’s Programs

For a lot of people, getting your Master’s Degree after graduation seems like the logical next step in their career path. But have you ever compared everything that goes into it to what you get out of it? On average, you spend about $60,000 on Grad School and 2 years in the program. The digital marketing apprenticeship structure is $12,000 and only takes one year. Because you’re in a full time role, apprentices graduate from the program with little or no debt and still earn throughout the year. Apprenticeships require only a fifth of the cost and deliver twice the experience.

You get training from the program, but the most valuable experience is what is acquired in the workplace. That’s the big differentiator. Instead of theoretical career situations, you are really experiencing them, and what makes it even better – it’s with the support of peers, mentors, and career coaches.

Of course the downside to apprenticeships is that there is a lack of recognition that exists in the United States right now compared to the more universal recognition you would get with an MBA. In the apprenticeship structure, that is made up for in the presentation of the portfolio work. Instead of simply presenting a degree to an employer, imagine presenting the prospective employer a presentation on how you created an email marketing campaign, how you solved a broken automation workflow, and how you achieved an impressive coding project. Which is more compelling?

Digital Bootcamps

Bootcamps began in 2012, and since then have grown more than 10x. They started off with about 2,000 enrollments and since then have jumped to around 22,000 in 2017. There’s no arguing that this educational model is on the rise, but we would argue that apprenticeships are preparing to make that same jump.

Bootcamps are quick courses on a specific subject that offer some kind of certificate of completion. They are great for getting overviews and basic knowledge, all while being time sensitive. So if you need a quick informational or refresher course, bootcamps are the way to go.

The benefit to apprenticeships is that you get more relevant and in-depth training for whatever it is that you’re studying. For example, the Digital Creative Institute Digital Marketing Apprenticeship doesn’t just look at marketing automation, email marketing, or web design, it looks at all of it and more. You might think you are going into it wanting to specialize in a certain topic, and then learn about something that is much more well suited to your needs and skill sets.

The average cost and timeline for a coding bootcamp is $11.4k for 3.5 months. The 15 month approach to the apprenticeship allows you to apply learning over a longer period of time, that way you have an even greater opportunity for application and personal transformation. A few weeks for a bootcamp just simply isn’t enough to answer all of your questions – some that you may not even know you have yet!

Apprenticeships have the advantage of situational and experiential learning, whereas bootcamps are limited to the examples the instructor thinks of. And because a majority of bootcamps are online, questions are limited as well. The apprenticeship structure allows for a year of personal development and professional training.

Again, it’s pay and pray vs earn and learn. Pray you paid to get the right resources in a short amount of time, or earn a salary while you invest 15 months into your career.

Teaching Yourself

Why not just teach yourself? It’s all on YouTube. There are millions of articles, infographics, and resources. Why pay for something when you can do it without any help?

Perhaps the greatest resources that apprenticeships offer are mentorship and career coaching. This takes your journey from a limited perspective to an experienced one. Coaching gives you direction and guidance from industry leaders in your field, and that’s really hard to put a price on. Forbes did put a price on it, however, reporting that the mean ROI of career coaching is 7x the initial investment. You gain the value of connections, resources, and lifelong relationships as well.

Just one introduction or opened door could be game-changing for your career and in itself prove the ROI of an apprenticeship. In fact, 70% of people in 2016 say they were hired somewhere where they had a connection. In the apprenticeship structure, you won’t have the same teacher week-by-week. You have industry leaders such as CEO’s, CMO’s, authors, and more teaching you specific sections of the curriculum based on their specialized experience. You present work, ask questions, and most of the time, you stay connected long after the class. You make connections it would have been really hard to make otherwise.

So although there may be a lot of time and money saved in teaching yourself certain skills, having the input of industry leaders, peers, and coaches will always be more valuable. There will be more time and money saved in mistake prevention, and you will be pleasantly surprised at the depth of knowledge and wisdom you gain in carrying out your career path.

Apprenticeships are a new wave of education, skill building, and career preparation. They create a learning environment while maintaining a professional standard. Apprenticeships are changing the way we look at education by seamlessly integrating the world of work and learning.


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