Military News

Standing desks catching on at Robins Air Force Base

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE -- Some workers at Robins are taking a stand for their health.

In the past year about 30 desk jockeys in the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, the largest unit at the base, have started using standing desks. According to the complex’s ergonomics office, a few people had standing desks a year ago, and more requests are coming in.

One of the first to transition to a standing desk was Capt. Kyle Smith, who manages contracts for electronic warfare systems. Most of the standing desks that have been installed are adjustable and cost $400 or more, but Smith’s came at no cost to taxpayers. He simply raised the desktop in his cubicle by a few notches, so he is permanently standing.

Smith said he made the adjustment because he was having back trouble and thought it might help to stand.

“I feel a lot more productive during the workday, and my energy level is definitely up,” he said. “I can’t go back to sitting.”

Eric Fowler, a technician in the ergonomics office, said he doesn’t generally recommend standing throughout the day except for people who are physically fit. When workers install an adjustable desk, he said, they encourage users to try to stand for about 25 percent of the day, which studies have found to be beneficial.

A study by the American Cancer Society found that people who sit all day at work die younger, even if they exercise regularly after work.

“There’s all sorts of different case studies out there on the benefits of standing up while you are working,” Fowler said.

Bryan Canady, a contract specialist for support equipment and vehicles, has been using a standing desk about two months. Like Smith, he just raised his regular cubicle desktop. He still has a desktop beside it at chair level, and sometimes he sits to do certain things, such as eating lunch, but he stands for most of the day. He decided to make the change after reading some articles about the benefits.

“I was worrying about being fatigued from standing up all day, but I really haven’t been fatigued at all,” Canady said.

Standing desks have been gaining favor nationwide in recent years, and many types are sold, but it is not a new idea. Winston Churchill, British prime minister during World War II, and author Ernest Hemingway were known to use standing desks.

Those working in the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex who are interested in a standing desk can ask for an evaluation by the ergonomics office. Fowler said a standing desk might not be right for everyone. With the cost, officials want to make sure it will be used. But they can look at any physical problems a person may be having and determine whether a standing desk, or some other work station modification, might help.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.