slouching towards bethlehem

Why I Love My Sitting Desk

Don't look at me!
Don’t look at me! Photo: H. Armstrong Roberts/Retrofile/Getty Images

Standing is the new sitting, and sitting is killing you. Offices across the world have adapted their floor plans to get people out of their seats and elevating their computers with standing desks so that a new generation of workers can be smug-faced health lords over us all. They are literally looking down on us for deciding to stay seated. And they must be stopped.

New research has found that standing isn’t necessarily taking away from, or countering, the negative effects of sitting, despite all the health nerds’ constant proselytizing. A report published on Wednesday in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews analyzed 20 different studies on the health benefits of standing desks, only to conclude that the faithfulness to standing desks is mostly because they’re fashionable. The positive effects of standing all day are actually very minimal.

This news, and especially the accompanying attitude from health researcher Dr. Jos Verbeek (“The idea you should be standing four hours a day? There’s no real evidence for that”), couldn’t make me any gladder. As a lifelong fan of the sitting desk, I feel vindicated in continuing my practice and will now commit to becoming as smug as the people (mostly men) who evangelized to me about standing. Can standing-desk and sitting-desk people co-exist in this world? Sure. But at the end of the day, please consider who is the most comfortable: me, in a sitting desk, so slouched toward the ground that my body is almost entirely horizontal. I’ve found this is how my body looks best. This is where I can establish inner calm.

The benefits of the sitting desk are many, if taken without consideration for risk of heart failure, disability, back problems, and death (always a risk, though, don’t play). With my sitting desk, I often roll my body completely down in my chair until my head rests flat on its back. When my butt can remain comfortable as I contort my spine in a myriad ill-advised ways, it is happy. I need to know that all of my organs are being pressed together in a manner that is directly contrary to what yoga instructors always say is best for you — then, and only then, can I get my best work done. Everything I do, I do with the hopes that I am upsetting a yoga instructor somewhere.

There are other perks of the sitting desk, too: For starters, sitting makes it much easier to hide from people who are trying to talk to me. How often do I find myself confronted with an oncoming co-worker whom I would rather avoid? From a sitting position, I am much better positioned to duck beneath my desk in times of unexpected desperation. A standing-desk evangelist would have much more trouble. They never tell you about that part when they say, “Come on, get a standing desk! Seriously, you’ll love it! It’s really good for you!”

Oh? Look behind you, punk: Your boss is coming.

Sitting desks are also economical for gentle dozing, they provide easier access to snacks, and they are closer to the ground. Why is it important that our desks be closer to the ground? I don’t know, but it feels good to be nearer to Mother Earth, which is why roller coasters — like standing desks — are the work of the devil.

But even I am willing to admit that sitting desks have their limits: Where the sitting desk ends, the bed desk begins.