The Standing Desk: Why Hasn't It Caught On?

dupree standing desk

Herman Miller Archives

That's DJ Depree, the man behind Herman Miller, trying out a standing desk from the action office of 1964. Why did they build it? Designer Bob Propst wrote in 1968, in The Office: A facility based on change:

The most serious health problem in offices is the sedentary nature. Compelled by lack of choice, we are forced to conduct most office activity in a sitting position. The result, as medical studies and insurance data make clear, is a steady decline in vitality, energy, and general body tone.


Herman Miller Archives- click to enlarge

He continues:

Man's physical machine has evolved to do many things well but no single thing continuously...Proportioning some of our work to standup work stations would do more than anything else to overcome sedentary decline. The office can be a kinetic, active, alert vigorous environment.

standing desk photo

Lloyd Alter

Interestingly, in my tours of three Herman Miller office buildings over two days, I saw exactly one employee who set up his desk for standing.

standing counter

There are lots of breakout areas and meeting areas where people can stand,


And if you need a little rest, privacy or a different way to hold your body, there are lovely little getaway rooms. But even at Herman Miller, the standing office has not caught on the way Bob Propst and George Nelson thought it would or should.

Lots more to come about Herman Miller.

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Alternatives for Standing Desks