Eli Weinstock-Herman

The Stand-up Desk - Year Two, Version Two

Original post posted on May 23, 2011 at LessThanDot.com

Last February I shared the fact that I was trying a stand-up desk. Since that time, I have received a lot of strange looks and any number of health-related questions. I have also changed desk locations at my original job twice, moved to a new employer, and weathered the sleep-loss that came with the birth of our son.

Going back to Sitting

Standing Desk, V1.1
My Original Stand-up Desk, v1.1

Over the moves and turmoil of the past year I continued to stand at my desk. After the first week or two, the initial soreness went away. The soreness in my feet have, however, been a constant. I never quite broke down and bought a stool and I think that was one my greatest oversight with the original desk.

The last week of the prior job, I sat. After over a year standing I remember it felt odd to sit, almost physically uncomfortable. I felt a definite shift in focus, a dullness that came on when I sat down and tried to remember what I was working on and get something done.

In addition to the dullness and lack of focus was the sudden attack on my vision. My return to the average cube denizen eye height meant that I spent the day surrounded by monitors and walls of gray. I was no longer part of the wider office, able to see everything going on and interact with people from a distance. I also noticed my eyes tended to get focus locked more often, as they were limited to the 3 foot viewing distances of my little gray box.

Desk Upgrade

The new workplace is making strides towards greater comfort and gave me permission to pick out a desk to replace my cubicle desk. My personal requirements were simple, I wanted a real desk this time around and it needed to have room for a pair of monitors and a stool.

What I found is that there are a lot of standing desks in the $1500-$3000 range, and a number of desks in the $400-$1500 range that were either cheap or of questionable height (listing the height of the keyboard surface is only helpful if you tell us which of the 5 surfaces is the keyboard surface). I believe a few of the Amazon desks would have worked out fine, but luckily I didn't' have to try playing desk roulette.

In the smaller price point there was one name that stood out. GeekDesk produces a desk that is sturdy, motorized, and lives at the $800 price point. I decided to order the mini, though now that I have the original desk removed from my cube I can tell the full size would have fit easily. Though I didn't intend to raise and lower the desk during the day, the motorized feature was nice because it allowed me to easily tweak and customize the standing height of the desk over the course of the first week.

Standing Desk, V2
My New Stand-up Desk

Still a work in progress, but having used this setup for two weeks I definitely made the right decision. Notice I have a stool this time around as well, I think this is a good addition and not only allows me a place to sit occasionally throughout the day, but also gives me a place to rest my feet if I feel like just putting one of them up to change position.

A Quick Comparison, Old vs New

There were a number of questions in the old post (and in person), here are the most common ones:

What materials were used for the original desk, and where can I find them?
Unfortunately this product appears to have been discontinued, but on the offchance it still exists in your area, here are the details (also let me know if you find a supply).

The parts were all under the brand of Real Organized and unfortunately were not on the Lowes website. Here's a breakdown of what I used:
12" x 1.5" Black Legs - #253656
16" x 1.5" Black Legs - #253660

I don't have part #'s for the wood, sorry. For reference I used 4 16"x16" for the monitor stands and 2 12" x 24" for the front one.

Another option would be to look at legs from Ikea, as they seem to have several different lengths of table and shelf legs that might be usable for something like this.

Don't you get tired?
There was definitely some muscle soreness the first week and I was tired, but every time someone stopped by to laugh at my desk I had a little extra resolve. Looking back, I probably should have gone the stool route to start with. This would have helped me transition to standing a little easier.

Do you stand at home?
I don't have a standing setup at home. I have considered it, but a standing setup at home would be more complex. I play computer games in my spare time, so I have a 5. sound setup, steering wheel and pedals, and various other things that would make building a standup environment more challenging.

And did I mention new baby? :)

Feel free to keep asking me more questions, I'll try to answer them as best as I can.

Comments are available on the original post at lessthandot.com