Editor’s Corner

December 31, 2013

I started implementing my New Year’s resolution early for 2014 — by creating a “standing desk” at work in November.

Here’s how I arrived at this architectural wonder. In recent years, several studies have pointed to the health risks of too much sitting. Well, yeah. But these reports didn’t sink in. There’s always a barrage of mixed messages about what is and isn’t good for you, from multi-vitamins to red wine. In addition, standing-desk work stations seemed to be the domain of high-tech start-ups — along with their free concierge ser-vices and break rooms with gourmet food and foosball tables.

However, an article from The Los Angeles Times this past May 25 had wake-up-call-type soundbites that got my attention:

  • “The chair is out to kill us,” says James Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine.
  • “Sitting is the new smoking,” says Anup Kanodia, a physician and researcher at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center.

Still, I didn’t take action until November when I saw an article by Danny Sullivan on CNET about his treadmill workspace. Reading this while preparing to start my 20th year behind a desk prompted me to do something. While I wasn’t ready to go as far as Sullivan did — and how would I haul a treadmill into PRSA’s offices anyway? —  I ordered the $22 IKEA side-table that the experts recommended.

Standing all day, of course, took some adjustment — and not just with acknowledging the curious stares from my co-workers. After the first full day of this, I came home and ordered about $50 worth of Thai food. I was ravenous. Maybe this was a bad idea and I’d actually gain weight and spend more money in the process!

But after a few days, I got into a rhythm. (And it helped that my feet stopped hurting.) Now, I wouldn’t recommend this for everyone. This set-up happens to work for me. While I haven’t monitored any kind of long-term health benefits just yet, sitting for any period of time now makes me restless.

Anyway, here’s to your New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps at this time in 2015, I’ll be writing about my new treadmill workspace.


John Elsasser

John Elsasser is the editor-in-chief of Strategies & Tactics. He joined PRSA in 1994.



Kirk Hazlett says:

Love the "reality" of this, John! We all *promise* to do XXX or YYY in the New Year, but, speaking from years of studious practice...it don't happen! :-) As I look ahead to the opportunities and the concurrent challenges of 2014, I have one blindingly-in-focus resolution...to work even harder to prepare my corps of soon-to-be public relations new professionals for their entry into "our world." There's a selfish motive to this, however. I also am looking in a couple of years to hanging up the spurs and settling into what will be my own version of "retirement"...fewer hours in the classroom, more hours devoted to compiling and sharing my thoughts via the several blogs I contribute to including my own. I think it would behoove us all...those of us who have benefited from the guidance and counsel of others smarter and more experienced than we could ever hope to be...to resolve to spend more time with the "younger" generation...answering their unasked questions, pointing them in yet-unidentified directions, and consoling them in yet-to-be-experienced calamities. Then we all can sleep at night comforted by the confidence that the future of public relations lies in good hands. Happy New Year!

Jan. 6, 2014

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