I had been noodling around with the idea of getting a stand up desk for a long time, but for various reasons had not done anything about it until recently. I’ve had issues with pain and numbness in my shoulders, neck, back, hands thanks to sitting in horribly unergonomic positions at work and at home on my laptop. I did get my work to add a keyboard tray for me a few years ago, which helped a lot. I still have a tendency to start slumping in my chair after I’ve been sitting for awhile though. Add that to the many hours I spend sitting on my couch watching TV and playing on my computer after work and well you get the picture of a not so great lifestyle even adding in the 4 miles I walk most days.
My office has a very large fixed desk that covers most of the walls so there as no way for me to consider any additional or replacement furniture in the way of a full on standing desk. Additionally I wanted something that would allow me to move back and forth between standing and sitting. I’ve worked jobs where I’ve been on my feet for 8 hours a day and that’s no fun either. That led to a lot of lower back pain, especially when I was just standing in one place all day like I would be at a desk. Thus I needed a way to convert back and forth between standing and sitting while using some sort of conversion for my existing desk.
There are lots of fancy things you can put on an existing desk to move up and down to an appropriate standing height, but those cost at a minimum $400 and can get much more expensive than that. Since whatever I did was going to have to be paid for out of my own pocket I was never able to pull the trigger on buying one because it was just more money than I wanted to spend. Then one day towards the end of last year I somehow had the epiphany that I could use the window ledge above my desk to hold my monitor and it would be pretty much the appropriate height for me while I was standing. That meant I just needed to buy something that would sit on top of my desk to make my keyboard the appropriate height.
I looked online and saw lots of more expensive things and then also some cheap Ikea hacks. I considered trying one of those, but wanted something that would look a little nicer. Eventually I stumbled on this stand up desk. I could order it in a color that matched my existing desk and at $70 it was a price I was willing to pay.
It was fairly easy to assemble once I got going. It comes with Ikea-like instructions of pictures only and the same sort of assembly that is required with Ikea furniture, which I am horrible at dealing with. I also didn’t bring the appropriate sized screwdriver with me to work, so I’m pretty sure I stripped every screw in it trying to assemble it with a screwdriver that was too small. Guess I can never take it apart again. Once I figured out what I was doing though assembly didn’t take too long and was pretty easy.
The information on the desk indicates that it’s appropriate for people 5’3″ to 5’11”. I just barely make it at 5’3″, so it is probably about an inch taller than I would ideally like it to be, but it’s good enough. I also bought a padded mat to stand on with a gift card I got for Christmas, which helps give me a little height to even things out a little bit in addition to making it easier on my back and feet.
I’ve been using it since the end of November, though between holidays, snow days, and a conference that actually hasn’t been that many days. So far I’m enjoying it though. I usually alternate an hour sitting with an hour standing, though sometimes I sit or stand for a longer stretch of time depending on my schedule or what I’m working on. It only takes me a few seconds to move the monitor and keyboard between their sitting and standing positions, so it’s easy to move back and forth. I do find that there are certain tasks that I prefer to do sitting. When you read a lot of things people say about having a standing desk on the internet they talk about being more productive and having more energy. I’m not sure that exactly true for me. I don’t think it makes me any more or less productive, but when I have to do something that really takes a lot of brain power I prefer to do it sitting. If I start working on something while I’m standing and all of a sudden can’t stop thinking about wanting to sit while I’m doing it I will sit.
Reactions from my co-workers have been amusing. Some of them have said they’re jealous and want to figure out a way to create something for themselves. Others have looked at me like I’m insane and asked me what in the world I’m doing. At this point most people have seen it though, so no one really says anything anymore.