I mentioned on the Facebook page this morning that I was one week into my standing desk experiment. This post is about what I’ve experienced thus far in my 7 days of standing (mostly) and working.
The Standing Desk Phenomenon
Standing desks aren’t new, but much of the hoopla around them is. From the Wall Street Journal, this article provides a good summary of the issues with sitting and recommendations for a healthy mix of standing, sitting, and moving while working. Even as far back as 1992, then President Bill Clinton worked at a standing desk even though all the photos of the time feature him sitting at JFK’s desk that Presidents Carter, Clinton, and Obama has used since. The Executive Branch of the US government recently requisitioned over $700K for standing desk for employees of the federal government.
My doctor stands and types on a standing, roller desk and assumbly lines are usually standing, movement-oriented occupations.
The idea is the minimize lower back strain that comes about from sitting for most of our lives. If you’ve ever put in a long driving or sitting at your desk, you know what this feels like. And since most of us work in front of a computer all day, the opportunities for getting work done while standing are few. As the WSJ article mentions, ergonomic experts recommend a combination of string, standing, and moving throughout the day for effective postural balance and to combat fatigue.
My Standing Desk
I looked at several DIY options before deciding on the Height Adjustable Standing Desk from WellDesk.com. It lists for $169 on the WellDesk site but I found it through their Amazon.com site in December for $159. It’s made of laminated layers of birch that gives it considerable strength. I was a bit concerned that my 27-inch Apple monitor that I think weighs in at about 30 pounds would be too much for it but it’s handles the load just fine. Because I use wireless peripherals, including the keyboard, mouse, and printer (not in the photo), I can trade places with my notebook when I want to stand and write or journal.
The only two improvements I’d suggest be made to the unit is the use of non-skid / non-scratch pads on the bottom pieces as well as a smoother front edge on the keyboard tray. I placed some invisible tape along the front edge so my shirt doesn’t get snagged by the rough edge. Neither are deal breakers by any means, but something to consider.
Observations One Week In
The following are observations I’ve become aware of since using the desk.
- I tend to be more focused in my use of the computer. Because I know I’ll be standing, I’m finding that I plan my computer use with more wisdom.
- I have to sit about once every 30 minutes. I’m not used to standing this many hours each day and the transition after the first two days was rough on my lower back. Now that I’ve seven days in, I feel less sore but I can see there still some adjustment ahead.
- The position of the keyboard tray on the top slot is the most ergonomic. The elbows need be near 90 degrees for optimal function; Add to this the need for a foot rest of some kind (currently using my zafu -meditation pillow) to adjust the stress placed on the hips and pelvic bones. I also have placed a yoga mat on the floor to cushion the surface for standing. It makes a huge difference.
- I’m using my Bullet Journal more. I’ve found that I use my Bullet Journal to plan my computer use and since I don’t always want to unplug the Macbook and sit on the chair or my bed, I’m making more use of my Moleskine Cahier softbound notebook that I use for my Bullet Journal.
Have You Used a Standing Desk?
What are your thoughts on the whole standing-while-working issue for office workers and computer users? Have you tried it? If so what kind of results have you experienced? Would you like to try it? Let me know in the comments area or head over the Facebook page and comment there.