What to Stand for at Work

Walk and talk

Changing the culture of static meetings

After reading the research on how bad for you sitting for prolonged periods can be, even if you are very active, many of us are looking for answers.

How about standing desks?

I enjoy my adjustable desk. I try to stay standing as much as possible, which is quite an easy task these days as I am rarely at my desk so my stamina is not often tested. Standing burns calories and is generally good for you, but standing for too long can have detrimental effects, so it is nice (and important) to be able to change it up. When I am sitting I try to work on my posture and have gotten value out of my back support.

In my path to West coast hippie-dum, I am even looking into the Grounding/Earthing movement and wondering if I should try a mat!

Standing has another interesting side effect. People seem to interrupt you more often. My hypothesis is that normally when you see someone that is standing they are in-between tasks, and this more open for an interrupt. Has anyone else noticed this?

It has me curious about having a system that watches what you are doing on the computer (e.g. Typing in a code editor) and a display shows “coding” so people who walk by know what you are doing (also broadcasting via Campfire for your remote folks?). I also want to hook this up to see “On Facebook” show up too. Or worse!

Walk with me

As I looked for reasons to get out of sitting around I noticed that a slew of meetings are 1 on 1, and if we don’t need a whiteboard / presentation, could be held in a much nicer environment than a boxy room. Thus started my quest to default to walking and talking versus jumping in my touch base. I have had a few giggles when I yet again say “mind if we get a coffee?” or walk around the block.

I have seen some nice side effects beyond the benefits of getting off your bum:

  • It allows for others to use my touch base (e.g. If they have more than 2 people, or need that white board or privacy)
  • I often have different types of conversations. I think there is something different about talking when walking side by side versus being face to face in a conference room. This is subtle, but I find more intimate conversations occur even though (or because of?) you aren’t staring at each other
  • Since you are outside of the work environment you see less distractions. People aren’t coming to your area to bother you, and you aren’t overseeing things that you want to jump into.

At first I was tentative at making this change as I didn’t want people to think “wait, did Dion read the Steve Jobs book and now wants to ‘go on walks’ to be like Steve?” Then I got over it and stopped projecting my concerns on others.

There are some downsides too though. One that I am cognizant of is the feeling of “where is he?” Since I am often traveling or in meetings, it is easy for folks to feel like you aren’t around. You can also lose touch of what is happening in your area (the other side of not being able to jump in to something that you witness).

All in all though I am excited to get outside into the fresh air more.

There is no reason why as a group you can’t get out there. I often try to persuade people to walk to lunch, which seems to shock people in the US culture (and for some reason my band of Swedes are scared of a good walk too….. I am looking at you Steffie!)

I have had a few instances of walking around the block to really think about a problem and use the lack of distractions and get my head into another space…. And it has often been a good thing. I am trying more and more to map out time to think. One example is giving myself a few minutes before a meeting to really get myself ready for the topic that is coming. That couple of minutes can make a big difference versus running from one meeting to another and feeling like you are on an Improv circuit.

I have much more to learn and experiment with. As we work out how to help teams be effective I think we will see a lot of changes to the typical corporate environment.

What do you do to hack the work situation?

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