Standing Desk - 1st Year Analyst

I will be starting as a first year analyst at an EB in July. I did not complete an internship with the group so I am not intimately familiar with the group's culture.

I was a division 1 athlete and as a result have recurring back issues. Nothing major but sitting down for 15 hours+ a day is probably not great for my back. I would like a standup desk and am wondering the best way to go about this. I do not want to seem entitled or demanding in asking for too much too quickly.

Is a standup desk something most groups are willing to entertain? Should I wait a few months before asking? Is it something I should ask the company to pay for? Or should I expect to pay for it? Am I out of line in thinking this is possible? What is the best way to proceed?

Any help would be great. Thanks!

Comments (41)

Jun 23, 2015

I would settle in a bit and see how things are. They're really not that common in finance but I find people are generally understanding if someone's a D1 athlete in something that's not table tennis.

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Jun 23, 2015

Sitting for 15 hours a day is a problem, but you still went through IB recruiting?

Best Response
Jun 23, 2015

I don't think I said it was a problem? I said it wasn't great for my back. It's not great for anybody's back. I don't know why more people don't use standing desks.

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Jun 23, 2015

I'd wait til you're there a few weeks/months just to get the feel of the office and to see if it will hurt your back. Then bring it up to someone more senior in your group and they'll probably direct you to the office manager or HR.

I wouldn't really expect a standing desk because office furniture is actually a lot more complicated and expensive than you'd ever think. And I'd guess that standing for 15 hours straight would start to hurt. As someone who's opened multiple offices and been involved with selecting furniture and as someone who counts himself basically intelligent, I was shocked how complex office furniture people make office furniture. It's all linked together, wired, bolted into the floor (moving it fucks up the carpet), etc so putting one standing desk among the normal workstations probably won't work. A basic workstation also costs $4-5k on the lower end (not the kind you buy at Staples but the ones in offices). You'll probably get a different chair. Just search for alternative office chairs and you'll see therapy ball-like chairs, kneeling ones and a bunch of others. Expect them to pay.

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Jun 23, 2015

my old firm used to have these awesome motorized desks which you could adjust to any height at a touch of a button.....pray for one of those i suppose?

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Jun 23, 2015
oreos:

my old firm used to have these awesome motorized desks which you could adjust to any height at a touch of a button.....pray for one of those i suppose?

This is the optimal solution. A lot of tech companies have these, so I can't imagine it would be so prohibitively expensive. Simply put, it's unhealthy to sit at a desk all day. I alternate between sitting and standing multiple times a day, and the feeling of stretching my legs out is absolute bliss.

Jun 23, 2015

I'd wait and feel things out after a month or so. Don't bring it up like 1st week lol

Jun 23, 2015

maybe it's been posted on here but i'd been waiting to see a post about standing desks in IB offices..

personally i hate using them but i'm sure it'd be helpful for your back for that many hrs/week

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Jun 23, 2015

They're actually becoming pretty common. I wouldn't worry too much about it. Just tell HR or your admin you need one because of back issues, no one will bat an eye. Its funny how large firms bust your balls over stupid shit, but you tell them you need an ergonomic chair/standing desk and they'll get you a pneumatic lifted carbon fiber and titanium standing desk for $3,400. If anyone resists, its an HR/legal issue.... they can't discriminate against you for health issues and they have to accommodate you within reason, kind of like if you requested a wheel chair accessible desk because you lost your legs in a freak wood chipper skateboard jumping accident. They gotta do it. As a result its too much trouble for anyone to care about. You ask for it, and they're just like yeah whatever give him whatever he needs. No one that needs to authorize it cares enough to think twice about it.

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Jun 23, 2015

Yeah my shop gives you the option of having an automated standing / sitting one if you have a doctor's note. Tough to do in a typical IBD bullpen atmosphere though probably without looking like a douche.

Jun 23, 2015

Why the hell would anyone care? This is an HR or office manager issue. No one in the front office would even know you asked.

Jun 23, 2015

I'm surprised stand-up desks aren't more common in an IB environment. It helps you stay awake

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Jul 18, 2016

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Jun 23, 2015

Just reach out to your HR contact and ask them if you can arrange it. Worst that happens is they say no. Most likely, the rest of your team will be jealous and ask for them too. But everyone will understand you needing to be healthy and feeling well.

Jul 18, 2016

I'm in CT, and I know one of my buddies' funds has some of these adjustable desks. With the exception of them, I haven't heard of them as being a common thing

Jul 18, 2016

My firm just recently sent out an e-mail telling us they will install them for anyone interested. A few coworkers are going to try it out, I am waiting to see how it goes before I give it a shot.

Jul 18, 2016

They are upgrading our furniture entirely so all desks will have an adjustable height desk once they are installed, and for us being at forefront of that, is kind of backwards from how things usually are, so I think they are becoming more common as businesses upgrade from their 80s cubicles.

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Jul 18, 2016

My floor was recently revamped and we got these standing desks. In the past 3 months I have used it ~5 times.

I just don't find it that comfortable to work standing unless I am only reading.

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Jul 18, 2016

Prefer them? yes. You feel a lot less like a sluggish fatass after standing to work during the day.

Do I have one? no.

Jul 18, 2016

We have standing and sit down desk. I use both no preference. If I worked out the night before, I'll take to sit down...

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Jul 18, 2016

I'd give anything for this... I'd like to make a special request for it.

I have a setup like this at home and it's phenomenal. It really helps legs and upper back not get terrible DOMS.

Jul 18, 2016

I'm on one right now. The brand is called Varidesk and it goes on top of a normal desk. It allows me to sit and stand--the adjustment takes about 3 seconds. I stand about 4 hours a day and sit about 4 hours a day at the desk. It helps burn calories on the margins, but it's best for helping with stiff back as a result of sitting too much.

I utilize a standing desk mat in conjunction with the Varidesk because standing on a hard surface at lengths will F up your knees pretty fast.

Jun 23, 2015

You don't need a whole new/different desk. Several people in my group use one of these or something similar:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00JI6NCCK?psc=1
Put it on the desk and it adjusts up and down for standing or sitting.

Last bank I was at had them too. I thought they were pretty standard.

Jun 23, 2015

I wish standing desks are mandatory everywhere.

Jun 24, 2015

Well, when I was at a BB 10 years ago we had an entire group dedicated to ergonomic work space design. Complain to HR about back problems and these super annoying people would show up. Despite the effort of dealing with them, it was worth it. They would get you a good chair and anything else that you needed. With the rise of sit/standing desks (my entire company has them), I'm sure that is now an option.

Big companies take health complaints very seriously. They are all self-insured. If your back problem progresses into a back surgery, they are out a TON of money.

Jun 24, 2015

Buy an AppleRound from Amazon. They are $15/20 and will help immensely!

Jun 24, 2015

I had this really cool ergonomic computer mouse, but I'm back to my old shitty Logitech ever since my boss said "there is no place for remote drone pilots in this office."

Jun 24, 2015

How could you stand for that many hours a day? I was at this weird play in London that had standing seats and I ended up almost fainting and having to leave after an hour. A lot of people have really bad circulation when they're standing with their knees locked for a long period of time; walking causes blood flow. I would try to see if that's even feasible before you say anything.

Jun 24, 2015

You should probably wait and feel it out. However, I think it would be weird if you were the only person in the office with a standing desk (considering you're a first year analyst).

Jun 24, 2015

My IB setup was the worst as we were using these old heavy wood desk that were very pretty, but beyond bad for ergonomics. During my 2nd year, I got a really bad computer neck and had to take muscle relaxant for like a month or two and did physio 3-4 times a week for over a year. It's got better, but it never fully healed and I think it wouldn't have gone anywhere this bad had I brought up the issue sooner (my firm was very responsive and accommodating once I told them I about the issue and that I was seeing a doctor).

Long story short, don't wait, mention this to HR from the beginning and they will send an ergo person / team to you and make sure your setup is appropriate (as other as mentioned, office furniture is more complex than you think so you might not get a new desk though). Your health is not worth sacrificing because you don't want to make waves in your first week.

Jun 24, 2015

I've faced the same challenge (high-level athlete sitting all day).

The consulting company I used to work at did an office redesign and installed four adjustable standing desks. I used them a bit, but found it tiring and distracting to stand for anything more than 30 minutes.

Instead, I had a few other strategies that helped with flexibility / postural issues and didn't require talking to HR and making a big deal out of it:
- sit with good posture -- no slouching
- get up and walk around every hour or so for water/coffee/food/meetings/bathroom
- stand during meetings (as long as it was appropriate for the situation)
- use whiteboards instead of paper for brainstorming so I could stand and move
- walk to work
- stand on the subway

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Jun 24, 2015

Side note, heard a trader on the FX team couldnt get a standing desk even though he is 7 ft

Jun 24, 2015

At my MM firm you can get a standing desk if you ask for one.

Jun 24, 2015

Just buy an Apple Watch, it lets you know to stand up for a minute every hour. Problem solved

Jun 24, 2015

Jesus Christ, you actually posted in WSO about this. If you have a question like that, all it takes is a very simple email to HR.....

Jun 24, 2015

There was a guy at my firm that had one of these Veridesks that he bought himself cause HR was too slow, it sits on top of your desk, is only a couple hundred bucks, and is easily portable / removable and will adjust up / down with the use of a lever so you can switch between sitting / standing in intervals so it's not too tiring. I'm ordering one for my home office. Depending on your local tax law you can write it off as a deduction as well.

Jun 24, 2015

Ask for a treadmill at your standing desk. That should help you keep off the weight gain associated with daily seamless orders and sitting all day.

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Jun 25, 2015
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Jun 25, 2015
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Jun 25, 2015