Today was my first time using a standing desk and I second the usefulness of adjustability. After roughly an hour standing I began to feel distractingly tired so I lowered the desk so I could sit. After about ten more minutes it was good to get back to standing, and I carried on like that for the rest of the day. I found this a surprise as I run and walk quite a lot and had assumed I could comfortably stand for longer. I felt that while standing I had more scope to move while using a keyboard, and I plan to do more standing when I have very keyboard-oriented days, whether writing a report or working with code. This pleasant experience was slightly embarassing to me as I have been saying for a while that the secret of office comfort lies not in fancy furniture but in the way we use our bodies. I have had a fairly severe Pilates habit for the last two years: after strengthening and balancing the muscles of the trunk and reducing my anterior pelvic tilt I am better able to cope with sitting. Improved flexibility in the thoracic spine also helps. There are other ways to work your body: yoga works well for some people. After today, I don’t think it’s either/or: improved exercise & awareness (I also do Feldenkrais) are very helpful but so is an adjustable desk.
I recently got a payslip emailed to me. This was full of information I didn’t want to see published and, as far as I could see (IANAL) was in breach of our Data Protection Act (in UK). I emailed the company to say that I thought this was not a good idea: it was potentially a risk to staff and gave the company legal exposure. My contact responded by saying he could stop them sending mine by email in future. I thanked him and asked him to notify information governance: if there isn’t one, then HR: no response. It worries me that the simplest data protection policies are so hard for some people to understand.
Sounds sensible. I did something similar 25 years ago by moving to Luton. The train service was fine and I was a two-minute run from the countryside. Luton house prices were lower than in surrounding towns but I didn’t have any problems in the three years I was there.
This is harder to make work than many think. I work for a local government organisation in UK, smaller than Munich, and we went part way, adopting Star Office rather than MS Office from 2005. Small document-formatting problems led to widespread exemptions from the policy: many users went back to MS Office, wiping out any cost savings. The initiative was eventually dropped. I had mixed feelings about this: good to try an alternative to Microsoft but in practice I go to work to get my job done, not participate in a software values war. Alain Williams above tells us what would be good to see but I donÃ(TM)t feel itÃ(TM)s realistic: by now most people are not expecting next year to be the year of widespread Linux on the desktop.
Our local government organisation moved over to Star Office (a close relative to OOffice in 2005. I was told in 2009 that they had more MS Office installations than in 2004. The reason - imperfect conversion to MSOffice formats when they want to exchange documents with outside organisations. The differences are generally small. They (the Council) are now giving up and moving to MS Office 2010 (at a time of tight budgets) though I hope and expect Microsoft are giving them a great price. Like the parent to this comment I like the idea of OpenOffice but that never compensated for my liking VBA more. Purists will mock - why else come here - but I think VBA is a terrific extension of Excel.