desk query

(Yeah, I’m posty today. It happens.)

I’d like to hear from anybody out there who uses a standing desk, either of the static or adjustable (i.e. sit/stand) type. My present desk is fine, but it probably won’t survive another move, so I’m thinking of making a new one my “investment in career” purchase for this new book deal. And there seems to be a growing amount of interest in the notion of standing desks — claims for their health benefits ranging from the simply logical to the possible snake oil — so I’m kind of tempted to get one of these, or something similar. If nothing else, it seems pretty well-proven that one of the best ergonomic things you can do is not stay in the same position forever (regardless of how good that position is), so the option to adjust is appealing.

But I’ve never tried to use a standing desk, beyond brief encounters with computer terminals in libraries, so I don’t know if I would like it. Any anecdata on the topic would be appreciated.

0 Responses to “desk query”

  1. rj_anderson

    I’ve just started using a treadmill desk part of the time and am loving it. Here’s my post about it.

    • Marie Brennan

      I’m tempted by the treadmill idea, if we had anywhere to *put* a treadmill in this house.

      Well, one thing at a time, I suppose. (I’m actually thinking about getting a balance board of some kind and standing on that, just because my ankles could really use the work.)

    • genarti

      Oh man, I covet that enormously.

      Not that we have a treadmill, nor anywhere to put it, but that looks like a wonderful thing.

  2. swords_and_pens

    Haven’t used one, but I’ll be interested to see how like it if you use one. The trick for me will be finding one that rises high enough for someone who is 6’7″, should I ever decide to go the standing route. 🙂

    • Marie Brennan

      Yeeeeah, I can see that being a problem. The GeekDesk I linked to rises to 46.5″, but that might not be high enough for you. (Maybe if you put the desk itself up on blocks?)

      • moonandserpent

        Lifehacker had a great article on converting a specific IKEA desk into a sturdy adjustable standing desk on the cheap and easy.

        • swords_and_pens

          It’s amazing how often being that tall gets in the way of things (we had to try *houses* on for size).

          The IKEA retrofit is definitely worth pondering….

          Part of the reason the electric raise and lower appeals is because I doubt my wife will be interested in standing at the computer. If she could lower it in the evening and I could raise it during the day, that would be ideal. Have to see how low it would go with the blocks under it.

          Then again, tossing the old desk and putting a treadmill w/ stand in it’s place it appealing, too…except that my autistic son would likely kill or re-program the treadmill within a week. : /

          Of course, a new desk isn’t in the immediate offing, but the idea still appeals.

        • Marie Brennan

          Hmmm. I am potentially willing to pay a bit more to get a desk that minimizes the hassle of moving it up or down; the IKEA option doesn’t really allow for that. (But first I need to make a better guess at whether I would even end up standing for enough time to make it worthwhile.)

  3. moonandserpent

    I’ve tried it and I just can’t get used to it. Something about standing up makes it impossible for me to put words to page.

    I also have to bee more and am more easily distracted.

    As a compromise, I use a big rubber exercise ball as my chair at my desk. It has become super comfortable, even though I’m pretty much constantly adjusting and Balancing. Great for posture and such.

    • Marie Brennan

      I’ve heard anecdotal stories about people putting the desks up to stand while doing idle crap like web-surfing, and anecdotal stories about people putting them up once they get into the groove of really working, so it seems to (potentially) go both ways, depending on the user.

      I would do the balance ball thing, but the problem is, I run into an ergonomic issue: I’m short-waisted enough that my elbows are essentially at the hinge of my hips, such that if my keyboard tray is high enough to clear my legs, my arms are at a bad angle, and if my arms are at the correct angle, the keyboard tray and my thighs are trying to occupy the same space. This is part of why the notion of standing appeals to me; it gets rid of the problem.

      • moonandserpent

        My desk setup involves too much for that to be viable for me. (I live by the multi-monitor, die by it.)

        Ahhh, I had that same problem with my old desk and a ball.. My new one puts the keyboard and mouse at just the right height.

      • swords_and_pens

        I’ve the same ergo issue, only my arms are mutantly long instead. Woo-hoo.

        • Marie Brennan

          Yeah — if I sit with all the ergonomically-approved angles, my forearms are literally resting on the tops of my thighs. No room in there for a keyboard and tray. I currently get around it by having my chair a little higher than it should be, with a footrest underneath, which drops my knees just far enough to more or less resolve the problem. But it’s not ideal.

  4. Marie Brennan

    I’m pretty sure that if I go this route, I’ll need to wear shoes when I’m standing, because my feet are archy like whoa, and need support.

  5. dendrophilous

    I turned my desk at home into a standing desk and love it. It’s one of those where you can attach shelves to metal rails at 1-inch increments. I originally got it because I’m short and wanted to sit at a desk without needing a footrest–and I have the same problem you mention with keyboard trays.

    Granted since I work in an office, a lot of the reason I like it is that it’s a great change from sitting 9 hours a day. It can be annoying on weekends, especially if I’m tired from gardening or whatever and want to put my feet up. Standing for several hours in the evening is a lot different from standing all day, every day, obviously.

    I’ve read about various health benefits, but haven’t noticed any miraculous things happening to me. It’s just fantastic to not sit all day. I’m not good at sitting still, and the standing desk makes it easier to fidget.

    (Hi, I came over here because anghara linked to that psychology test, and then I saw this post.)

    • Marie Brennan

      Welcome, and thanks! It’s useful to get multiple perspectives.

      It can be annoying on weekends, especially if I’m tired from gardening or whatever and want to put my feet up.

      Yeah, that’s part of why I want an adustable one. If I’ve just woken up, or just come back from karate, I don’t want to have to stand to do my websurfing. But at other times, I’d like the option.

  6. kurayami_hime

    All the desks at SL were adjustable. Some people stood, some people sat. When I twinged my back one day and sitting hurt, I stood (and discovered that no one had ibuprofen, but if I needed anything stronger — up to Percoset levels — my coworkers could totally deliver). Those with standing desks had foot rests or stools (if I recall correctly), and they all seemed to really like their desks.

    • greybar

      I remember reading that the original guy who invented cubes designed them to have such adjustable standing/sitting. Poor guy – he was so disheartened with what they became and we all got our gopher holes instead. I’m glad to hear at least your firm had something closer to the original conception.

  7. midnight_sidhe

    I’ve never used one, but my mother (who has fairly serious spinal issues) used one at the office she worked at for… let’s see… probably at least ten years, maybe closer to fifteen. She liked it so much that she wanted to take it with her when she retired.

  8. Anonymous

    I’ve used a standing desk for a little over a year now, and I love it. I haven’t yet found the downside, and the benefits to my posture and back pain from standing have been significant.

    I highly recommend that you get one of the ones with a motor, though. You’ll want to sit down every once in a while, and having a desk that has to be cranked up/down by hand will be a big deterrent.

  9. Anonymous

    One potential problem with standing desks:

    Consult your orthopedist first.

    Mine said “not only no, but {insert name of nether regions} no” when I asked. He’s of the opinion that nobody who has had major surgery on the hip/knee/ankle should even think about a standing desk, if only due to the extra strain on scar tissue. That leaves the question of whether your ankle issues qualify as “major”…

    • Marie Brennan

      I distinctly remember being told my ankle surgery (at least the most recent one) was quite minor. (Dunno about the one when I was nine, but god knows I’ve done worse things to that ankle since.) And I’m not looking to spend eight hours on my feet, here; maybe an hour or two throughout the day, as a change from sitting.

    • starryniteynite

      (Erin here, late to the party as usual)
      I’m just backing up the above point, make sure the desk works both ways and if you start having ankle/knee twinges back off on the “standing” position of the desk immediately.

      I know it wouldn’t work for me at all (standing for long periods is incredibly painful for me), but your foot/ankle issues are different from mine.

      Make sure your orthopedist knows you’re getting one, so that he/she can give you tips to avoid hurting yourself. Orthopedists can be somewhat conservative when it comes to allowed and not allowed activities, so use your own judgement in following the advice, but only if you’re willing to stop immediately if your feet start complaining, even a little.

  10. galeni

    I have an Ikea version: one of their table tops with their adjustable table legs screwed in, extended to their fullest approved height. I sit all day at work and coming home to work on the computer when it involved sitting down just didn’t happen. So now my desk at home is up high and my iMac fits it nicely and I can go sit down if I wish, or use the bar stool that slides under the desk most of the time, or I just stand/dance/wriggle while I type. Feet get sore first.

  11. shveta_thakrar

    Well, even if it took me a few days to catch up, I like your posts. 🙂

    Also, I am also curious about the standing desk. If you get one, I’ll be excited to hear what you think!

    Oh, and yay on all the work you have coming out. 🙂

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