Down with Standing Desks

Image: Tomas Quinones via Flickr

Are you sitting down? Good. The specter of vertical labor is haunting America. I’m talking about the standing desk, the emblem of working class exploitation in the 21st century. No amount of breathable Geox, Sketchers and dare I say Crocs will save us from this excruciatingly painful (I’m flat-footed, so I have more to be mad about) working condition we must succumb to as proletarians in the Start-up generation.

Standing desks have been around since the 18th century, and have once again bombarded our cultural consciousness, because working twelve hours a day just wasn’t bad enough. Perhaps, they’re another spawn of wellness capitalism, since they’ve risen to popularity for their ability to allegedly combat the dangers of “sitting disease.” As a voracious WebMD-er, my search for sitting disease symptoms did not yield bountiful results, but the scientific research claims that it leads to the risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. I’m not discounting the validity and importance of scientific research, but that sounds super fake.

Proponents of the standing desk claim that it boosts energy levels, improves their productivity levels, and soothes their achy necks. These abominable planks of wood go from $499 to $3,000, a burdensome fee for a torturous device. Some of these abysmal gismos use gas-lift mechanisms to raise your monitor, and keyboard to your exact height. The ergonomic recommendations for usage is to tilt your screen at a 20-degree angle, 20 to 28 degrees from your eyes, which is a totally bonkers inefficient set of instructions. They even come with accessories recommended by the standing desk cult, like these squishy pads called “anti-fatigue mats”, a grand claim if you ask me.


They give you cankles. You read that right. The portmanteau of calf and ankle caused by blood pooling in your feet from not periodically moving, leading to swelling, and general discomfort. Is the lumbar throbbing worth it? No. As if early-onset cankles aren’t bad enough, standing desks could lead to plantar fasciitis, which is scientific bombast for severe heel pain, and no amount of Dr. Scholls insoles and office Crocs can save you from that, my friend.

It’s a Sisyphean task to prove the sit-or-stand debate. However, if we humor the standing desk any further, it could spiral out of control and even lead to (God forbid) treadmill desks. As a junkie for self-improvement, and a fan of the unforgiving soles of beautiful but inefficient shoes, I can tell you that sacrificing your podiatric sartorial choices for The Man is not worth it. He probably wears Hush Puppies and like, what does he know? Cleopatra didn’t rule Egypt for two decades by standing up in Sketchers now did she? The claim that standing desks prolong life, and save us from the sitting-is-killing-us paranoia is seductive. You know what else kills you? Literally everything else. We’re all at equal risks of dying.

So, go forth reader, plunge your rotund buttocks into the nearest office chair, wheel around in circles as you stab your desk salad, and may no weapon like the standing desk be forged against you.