Sitting for extended periods can have some pretty serious repercussions for your health – especially over time. Studies have linked consistent, long periods of sitting to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even death.
Working in an office setting makes it challenging to get up and move as frequently as we all should be. But ever since I transitioned to remote work in March, I’ve been getting considerably less standing time in.
At least at the office, there are stairs, bathroom breaks and lunch hours. Working from home means never going further than your kitchen or bathroom for any of your needs during the day.
For folks with big homes, this might not be a big deal. But living in a 500 square foot studio, I’m pretty limited when it comes to getting activity in between meetings.
Which is why I decided to use my Zoom meetings as an opportunity to move. As someone who joins around 5-7 calls per day, standing during virtual meetings seemed like the obvious way to break up my long periods of sitting. Here’s how my week of standing for meetings went.
No matter how hard I try, I’m always a little disorganized come Monday morning. Between emails that have come in over the weekend and early in the morning, it’s tough to catch up – so much so that I almost forget to start my experiment during my first meeting of the day.
I awkwardly adjust so that my computer is eye-level with where I’m standing, and continue my session from there.
I have a terrible habit of multitasking on calls. Still, because of how I have my computer positioned, I have to stay on my Zoom screen, which makes me more focused on what’s being discussed rather than working on another assignment in a different tab.
After my first meeting, I stay standing for a bit longer to finish up some notes, then return to my desk.
By my fourth and final meeting, I thought that I’d be tired of standing, but doing so actually made me feel more energized. I’m someone who speaks with my hands, so having more room around me rather than being confined to a desk freed me up to use them, making my calls feel more natural.
I had fewer calls on my calendar on day two, so I decided to remain standing after my first meeting of the day until I finished a brief assignment to make up for it. I had an unexpected call from a coworker come in as I was doing this, which I took standing up as well.
Toward the end of day two, I noticed that I wasn’t experiencing as much back pain as I usually do at the end of a long workday – a major plus!
Usually, by Wednesday, I’m starting to experience body ache – mainly my neck and lower back. By day three, these aches were noticeably less, which was a welcome change. Day three was my highest amount of meetings for the week – a total of six.
Being on calls for this many hours in a workday typically drains me of energy – but standing while taking these calls gave my energy levels a boost. I felt so good by the end of this workday that I decided to take a walk around my neighborhood to get some extra movement in as well.
Thursday was another busy day. By the fourth day of this experiment, standing for meetings felt natural. I found myself dreading them much less than I sometimes would when I’d sit for them. Not only did I remember to set my computer up before each call, but I looked forward to standing for meetings.
Without putting much thought into it, I noticed I was making healthier choices when it came to what I was eating. Making the conscious effort to stand and move throughout my workday on calls was having a welcome trickle effect on my eating choices. This experiment was working out!
Day five was incredibly busy for a Friday, but I managed to power through it all and stuck to my standing commitment. Having to stand for meetings made me prioritize tasks that I was no longer to multitask on during these calls – and my quality of work was better for it.
If you find yourself sitting for long periods throughout your workday, I’d say making a conscious effort to stand during meetings has its benefits. I plan to stick with this new habit for as long as I’m working remotely – and maybe even beyond!