Standing to Work in a Coffee Shop

standing to work in a coffee shopI was delighted to find a fellow coffee drinker standing at her counter-height table in Caffe Fiore in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood today.

Jennifer, a lecturer at the University of Washington, reports that her legs and back feel much better since she changed to standing for as much of her computing time as possible. In addition to her teaching and research at the university, she writes part time, so she logs a lot of hours at her computer.

Notice how her upper arms hang almost perpendicular and forearms are pretty much parallel with the floor. It’s not a perfect ergonomic arrangement, but pretty good for a makeshift set-up. Notice also that she stands with one foot a little in front of the other. Varying your stance and/or elevating one foot 6 or 8 inches can reduce the strain on your legs and back when you stand to work (I have found that walking in place also helps, and textured or padded mats can add even more comfort).

Jennifer also likes the natural light at Caffe Fiore. Several large windows illuminate her work space, causing much less strain on her eyes than the fluorescent lighting typical in modern offices.

Jennifer now chooses her coffee shops in large part based on the availability of height-appropriate counters and tables. I love this. Anyone who routinely works from coffee shops (or internet cafes or co-working spaces) should demand a standing option. Jennifer (who, I must note, was very tolerant of my nosy interruption of her cafe work session) and I brainstormed a bit about how to encourage coffee shops to include more standing-height counters and tables into their decor. My first thought was to add an Office-Fitness-approved directory to this website, but it probably makes more sense to partner with an existing coffee shop directory like my friend Andrew Woods’ Cafe Workr.

In any event, I sure hope that the growing interest in standing to work continues to ripple out into the remote-working world.

Do you look for a standing option when you pick a coffee shop to work in?


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