Why don’t you try a standing desk?

When we moved back to Europe, I started thinking on getting a proper work station. Instead of working from the kitchen table and a really uncomfortable chair, I am now able to set up my own home office, with a real desk / chair. But is that really what I should be looking for? Some of my colleagues seem to have given up the standard desk, and are now using standing desks. So why not giving it a try?

So I started looking for different DIY solutions out there. I didn’t really want to go ahead and buy anything expensive, since I wasn’t even sure I would like to be standing all day. I also tried to build something out of what I already had at home; if I don’t like it, I can always convert it back into something else.

Here are a few of the posts I found in my little research:

The important thing is to find a solution that’s exactly the right height for you. You don’t want to make things worse for your back! I was looking for something that would be about 110cm high (43 inches).

So here is what I came up with. It is still a temporary solution, but I find that it works well for me:

  • 2 IKEA BILLY bookcases, 106cm high (or 41 3/4 ” if you prefer).
  • A 4cm-thick table top that I will replace as soon as I find the right one, something that fits with the rest of the furniture in the room. It also has to be deep enough, since I like to rest my arms on the table when I work. I tried working with the keyboard a bit closer to me, but I just find it uncomfortable.
  • A few boxes to lift my laptop. I will also have to replace these with something nicer to look at! :)
  • A good carpet. I found that standing on a mat helped a lot. My feet still hurt, but at least I can work barefoot, something you can’t do if you are just standing on the floor without any mat.

And that’s it.

After a few weeks, I can say that this was a good idea. It’s good for my back, and makes me move a bit since I keep changing positions, standing on one leg or the other. I haven’t given up my standard desk though; I can’t stand all day. After about 3 hours standing, I find that I can’t concentrate well anymore, and it means it is time to sit down for a bit.

I only had one issue at first: standing was distracting. I was paying attention to other things around me, and couldn’t get “in the Zone” and be as efficient as before. I think that I still associate standing with something temporary. Luckily, I found an easy solution: headphones. Being literally “wired in” helped me concentrate: I can’t just walk away and leave my desk anymore; now I have to unplug first. It seems like a small difference, but it helped!

Now I am not saying that the standing desk will still be here in 2 years, but it’s a nice change, and it’s good for me. I would suggest that you give it a try if you can!

2 replies on “Why don’t you try a standing desk?”

Lyn Leahz says:

I have a regular desk I don’t use; I use the couch and the coffee table..but I hate sitting for a long time and am always getting up. I actually think the standing desk sounds like a good idea.

Lorenz says:

Standing desk is not a good idea if you have any kind of problem with your back, especially if you have some scoliosis. And all of us have a little. ;)