Working While Standing

Quote of the Day

I have had a delightful month - building a cottage and dictating a book: 200 bricks and 2000 words per day.

— Winston Churchill to Stanley Baldwin, 1928. Churchill viewed bricklaying as relaxing. Some people lay bricks for fun, others play with mathematics software ☺

Figure 1: Commonly Used Adjustable Desk.

Figure 1: Commonly Used Adjustable Desk (Source).

For the last two years, I have been working from the standing position. While I would like to say I work standing because it is supposed to be healthier, I actually work while standing because I was having some issues with numbness in one of my feet while sitting, and working from a standing position eliminated this problem. While it took a bit of time to get used to, I now prefer working from the standing position. In fact, I am now setting up my garage-based shop area for standing work.

I do not work from a variable workstation  – like a Varidesk (Figure 1). Two years ago, I grabbed a socket wrench and elevated my cube's work surface to a height comfortable for me to work at when standing. I have never adjusted it down.

I became curious as to the history of doing desk work while standing. It turns out that I have some good company. For example, Winston Churchill worked from a standing position (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Churchill Standing At His Desk Working.

Figure 1: Churchill Standing At His Desk Working (Source).

I also discovered that Ernest Hemingway worked from a standing position (Figure 2).

Hemingway1 hemingway-desk-600x906
Figure 2(a) Hemingway Standing at His Desk (Source). I have read that he wore down seven pencils a day. Figure 2(b) Hemingway Standing While Typing (Source).

Because Jefferson lived prior to photography, we have no photographs of him standing at work. However, he designed his own version of a Varidesk that allowed him  to worked either standing or sitting (Figure 3).


Figure 3: Jefferson Used a Variable Height Desk.

While not about working standing up, I have included Figure 4 because I love the idea of Winston Churchill doing bricklaying for recreation. From what I have read, he was a very good bricklayer.


Figure 4: Prime Minister Winston Churchill – Bricklayer.

One of my favorite books is "Cheaper by the Dozen" – the book is MUCH better than any of the movies that used the title. In that book, Frank Gilbreth became one of the world's fastest bricklayers as part of his research on efficient work methods.

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3 Responses to Working While Standing

  1. Doctor says:

    Great post. I do puzzles standing up. Put puzzle pieces on thin boards/siding cut-offs on kitchen counter top.
    Cheers and keep up the fab posts about all topics.
    A retired Mechanical Engineer.

    • mathscinotes says:

      Thank you for the nice comment.


      • Doctor says:

        I started my life as a P.Eng. in Ontario Nuclear industry.
        My boss at the time (circa 1976) had daily meetings with all participants standing up!
        Was very strange for me at the time but was possibly leading edge. Who knew?
        Cheers and keep up the great posts.

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