Dirt in your skirt blog

Changing My Work Environment

Posted on January 13, 2017 by Margaret Schlachter

Over the last couple of months, in between event coverage I have been spending a lot of time in front of the computer. Recently, we got our first dining room table, it’s not that fancy, in our small house. Until now we had been using our desk area to eat or sitting on the couch doing the balancing act. But with the new table, we have a place to eat without the dog eating it off our plate first.


Our tiny dining room table

The other unintended action was I found myself pouring a coffee, sitting at the table and starting to pound away on the keyboard for hours without moving. It was getting to the point the sitting was bugging my back and strangely enough my Achilles tendons. The extended time on the stool was not a good thing.

In the past I have tried alternative desk configurations, I had the ball in my office in Vermont, the standing desk I currently have and balance tools, and more to use while working. Yet I found myself doing too much sitting.

Over a month ago, I was reaching out to new potential guests for the podcast and one of which was/is my favorite author on movement Katy Bowman. She has authored eight books on the subject and has another on the way in March. After reaching out to her and picking up her latest book Movement Matters, I had a renewed sense of interest in my movement and what it all means.


Just a few of Katy Bowman’s Books

I listened to her best-selling book Move Your DNA years ago and frankly it blew my mind at the time and shifted paradigms when it comes to what is movement and what is exercise. Her book Movement Matters inspired me to take a look at my own movement and that damn sitting on a stool for hours at a time.

I have always been adverse to sitting “normally” but had recently taken the lazy approach and “outsourced my movement” to chairs. When finishing grad school, I would sit on the floor next to the sliding glass door in our bedroom spreading out my papers and laptop to work. So I am accustomed to the floor, but hadn’t implemented it into my normal workday. Which made we wonder, why in the first place was I separating work/school/personal time. Isn’t it all the same?

Around Thanksgiving time I decided to change up my workday and leave the table to basically dinner and quick projects. Since then I have been using my standing desk, and working off the ground, sitting on a yoga mat, a thin cushion or using a balance board to work.

I write this post on the day that I am recording that interview with Katy and share some video footage and photos of working from the ground. Be sure to listen to the episode coming out on Tuesday (January 17, 2017). One thing I have found is working from the ground and also standing keeps my mind more engaged in the conversation. I find I am way more alert in podcast recordings when I am standing and able to make natural gestures (even if no one will ever see them).

Below are the tools I am using to create a work environment that encourages movement. Luckily, I work from home so no one is calling me crazy for sitting on the floor.

Standing Desk Conversion


I bought this standing desk conversion last winter and have used it on and off since then. While there are many ways to create a standing desk this one I found to be portable, the right price and works well for me. I can bring it to the floor with me and use it if I want from the floor as well, which is an added bonus.

Stool, Yoga Mat, Outdoor Cushions


I have been repurposing stuff around the house for my new work environment. So instead of sitting on the stool it has now become a workspace for when I am working from the floor. My yoga mat works well as an anti-fatigue mat at a fraction of the cost. Our concrete floor can be cold in the winter so the extra padding is great! Since it’s winter our outdoor cushions are now

Balance Board, foam rollers and other tools

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A few years ago when I injured my ankle I ended up with a lot of “tools” to bring back my range of motion. But these items weren’t just for rehab and have found their way into my workday, whether it be stretching my calves and Achilles, balancing while typing (a fun one to master), or working on squatting on the board as another form of balance.

I have always been a mover and never liked to stay still for too long. I am also fortunate enough to work from home where I can make my workspace however I want it to be. But for me changing my workspace is only part of the equation. It is part of the bigger picture of thinking about all the places and spaces we move in during the day (or don’t).

Be sure to tune in for the episode with Katy Bowman. We dive into the world of movement and if you are unfamiliar with her work, it can be paradigm shifting but at the same time so basic. For me sitting and moving around during the workday has been a good change and one I expect to continue for a while. My office chair is just about to find itself a new home somewhere away from my house.