I know sitting all day is bad for me, even if I’m getting exercise, so I’d like to try a standing desk. Some of my coworkers would, too. How do I approach my boss about potentially making a change to the way his employees do their work? I have the same question for getting new chairs. I know they’re expensive, but many of us are uncomfortable. How can I convince him that it’s a good idea to spend the money?
You know, I’m on your side here. In fact, not only would I like a standing desk, I’d really like to try a treadmill desk. I actually wear a Fitbit and compete with my friends. Boy could I kick their heinies if I did all my work while walking! Then I would be insufferable as I bragged about my achievements.
Also, I visited an office supply store a few days ago. They had all sorts of chairs and balance balls and these interesting kneeling things that are supposed to save your back while writing. I would totally love to try those out as well. So many cool things are out there.
But, the reality is, I’m writing this while sitting at a very normal desk. Actually, I guess it’s technically not a desk because it doesn’t have any drawers. It’s simply a glass table, with my inboxes on one side and my microphone (for podcasting) on the other. My printer is on another little table, and my chair is a normal, boring chair. It doesn’t even have wheels. When we have dinner guests, it gets appropriated as a dining room chair.
Why don’t I have any of the cool stuff? Well, you’ve already pointed out the first reason: cost. These things are expensive. But the second reason is probably the one you need to conquer if you want your boss to buy one for you — they’re fads. I can’t say whether they are going to help or hinder your productivity or whether they’ll keep you healthier. There’s also a possibility that a new standing desk will be the coolest thing ever for about three days and then just take up space in the office. Expensive space. And if he buys one of the adjustable ones, he’ll have that great reminder of money wasted.
It’s pretty normal for employers to ask for their employees’ opinions when ordering new office furniture, but it’s not normal for employers to buy new furniture when the stuff they’ve got is perfectly good. (Unless, of course, the employee asking is a highly paid executive. Then all bets are off.) Furthermore, you’re not entitled to the latest and greatest, so it’s going to be a hard thing to crack if your boss is resistant. It’s very different from asking for something that you need to do your job — like a functioning computer or a color printer. You’re perfectly capable of doing your job while sitting down.
If you want to make a strong argument for a standing desk, you’ll need to do your research and demonstrate how it will make you more productive. It’s this increased productivity that is key to getting your boss to open his checkbook. However, be aware, the reviews on such things are mixed. Some people love them, and others report terrible knee problems from excessive standing.
But, if after doing your research, you’re convinced that this standing desk will bring you happiness and health, ask the boss if he can buy one — just one — and let everyone try it out. You may find out that you love it, and you may find out that you hate it. If everyone retains their regular desks, there’s no need to buy a fancy one that goes up and down. If the boss says no to this, you can offer to pay for one yourself and have it brought to the office. If it works and everyone (or at least someone) loves it, then it’s possible that the boss will consider buying one or even reimbursing you.
It’s kind of weird to buy your own work furniture, but when you’re asking for something that is out of the ordinary, it’s a great solution. If your reaction to my suggestion is a roll of the eyes, then consider that your boss may think it’s ridiculous to buy new office furniture when what you have is perfectly functional.
Don’t be offended or upset if the boss ends up saying no. It’s not personal, it’s financial. It’s not like asking for an accommodation for a disability or something. (Although, if your doctor recommends less sitting and it qualifies under the Americans With Disabilities Act, it could be considered a reasonable accommodation.) If your boss does end up buying one, know that you’re extra lucky. And let me know how it works out. I still want one.
Do you have a DIY standing desk? Let us know in the comments!
Those long hours you’re logging at your desk may be taking a physiological toll that your morning run and bike commute can’t quite undo. We’re in the midst of a sitting epidemic that comes with some pretty scary health implications, but a simple change in our corporate culture might hold the key to better fitness for us all.
I manage a group of about 13 people, and we communicate via instant messages. I have one employee who persistently bad-mouthed me in online conversations. I confirmed that he was aware that I could see his messages, and I told him I saw messages that concerned me. Since then, he’s disengaged from his job and is only doing the bare minimum. I feel I should address this with him, but I’m unsure of how to do so.
If you work at a desk, chances are you spend the majority of your day seated at its accompanying chair. There are alternatives available—including treadmills, exercise balls and kneeling chairs all designed for the desk-bound worker. But if that’s too avant gard for you (or your office), here’s a few things to consider when looking for a chair that won’t send you home hunched over and craving the fetal position. Then, tell us how you really feel.
The reality is that independent workers don’t get paid vacations, and often don’t have the option to not work. But that shouldn’t come at the cost of leisure—it just means getting a bit more creative with the ever-elusive work-life balance. So, how do you take a trip without anyone knowing?