uShip Office Manager Jamie Gelo makes it her job to give uShippers everything they could desire in a working environment. In Jamie’s words, her client is everyone in the office. Quite often, Jamie even knows what team members need to be productive and happy even if they don’t. Our fearless Office Manager’s latest endeavor into improving uShip Culture is one that incorporates both productivity and personal fitness at the office: Stand Up Desks.
“We want to give people a comfortable option to be healthy if they want to be healthy,” says Jamie.
The Stand Up program at uShip is essentially still in its beta stage, but is growing quickly across the office. A handful of uShippers have agreed to take on the challenge of testing these stand up desks by providing Jamie with plenty of feedback before the company extends the more ergonomic option to every employee. Making the switch to a stand up desk is more than just saying goodbye to your over-priced, under-valued office chair. Jamie emphasizes a few things to eager uShippers before handing over the tools needed to make the switch: at the moment, it consists mostly of Ikea add-ons.
“It isn’t just as easy as giving away your chair,” Jamie says. “Committing to a stand up desk requires a cushioned standing pad to give your knees a break, supportive tennis shoes to make sure your body has a proper support system and knowledge that the first week of adopting a stand up desk will hurt.”
Ask anyone, a healthy lifestyle is never easy, but when you work in a startup environment willing to foster a healthier lifestyle the challenge becomes easier. Stand Up Desks are just one piece of the puzzle. Standing at your desk all day instead of sitting isn’t going to help you get an aerobic workout by any means, but it will help your posture.
“Especially in a tech community, posture is an issue,” Jamie said. “You can have the best most expensive chair in the world but if you’re not using it correctly in terms of your desk setup and your posture, you’re still messing your body up.”
Jamie insists that installing a stand up desk is more than assembling an Ikea table, shelf and necessary supportive elements. It’s important to make sure your stand up desk is properly positioned so that you get the most out of your desk. Your arms are best positioned perpendicular to your body, ie: parallel to the floor. Just like with good sitting desk posture, your eyes perform best when looking straight ahead, not upward or downward. Your monitors should stand at eye level, without having to look up or down.
Adopting a Stand Up desk program is just one way that companies like uShip have become proactive about employee health and fitness. Add stand up desks to the growing list of perks at similar tech companies– in our case, perks include discounted gym memberships, an in-house chef obsessed with fiber intake and sponsored softball and kickball teams.
“I think startups in general are moving away from junk food and ping-pong as the main thing,” Jamie said. “American startups are starting to realize that supporting employee health — both in and outside the office — is better for employees and for the sustainability of a business as well.
Stand Up Desk Take Away Tips:
- Get a supportive pad to stand on.
- If you’re adding onto your current desk, USE RUBBER. DIY stand up desks require proper rubber feet. In our case, a side table from Ikea-turned-desk has potential to scoot off the table top and send your monitors to the floor.
- Wear good shoes.
- Ladies: leave the high heels at home. If an outfit doesn’t pair well with sneakers, leave a pair at work so you can change into/out of them while at the office.
- Get the position right. Make sure your arms are perpendicular to your body when resting on the keyboard.
- Make sure that your screen sits at the correct height. Your eyes should not look downward or upward while you work. This is an especially important consideration if you’ve build a DIY standing desk using IKEA gear as many of us have done.
- Dance more since you’re already standing.