My Standing Desk Initiative

I’m sure I’m not the first person you’ve heard of adopting a standing desk, but there’s likely still more to learn. Everyone’s different, after all. Maybe I’ve experienced something that will help you in your own ergonomic working endeavors.

The Rationale

When I was in journalism graduate school at Columbia — one of the most intense periods of my life, work-wise — I experienced carpal tunnel syndrome for the first time. When I visited a doctor to get treatment, he talked about the perils of being a desk jockey and even said that people who sat all day at a keyboard should do strength-training to enable them to handle the rigors.

Since then, we’ve seen study after study determine that sitting all day is “the new smoking,” leading to early adopters experimenting with treadmill desks, standing desks, sit/stand desks, etc. One thing I’ve learned in reading their accounts is that people’s bodies really aren’t meant to STAND all day, either. Therefore, I determined to try a set-up that allowed me to switch positions — not to mention walk around a bit — throughout the day.

I’m not like many of those early adopters in that I’m on a budget. And I fairly recently bought a new desk set-up so I’m not going to buy an entirely new one. Hence my focus on the standing desk adapters that you put on top of your existing desk to raise your computer to standing level. Additionally, though I’ve read accounts of the $20 Ikea standing desk, I know that there’s no way I would actually get all the parts and do such a thing — at least not in the short to medium term future.

So, to reiterate my requirements:

  • Inexpensive but not completely DIY
  • Enabling me to switch between sitting and standing
  • Adjustable enough so that I can feel sure it will “fit” my stance and height.
  • A separate “shelf” for mouse and keyboard.

The Decision-Making Process

The models that seemed to fit my requirements were made by a few different companies:

All more than I wanted to spend. After much Googling, I finally found something that made sense for me: The Ready Desk  ($169.99 or $149.99 for the scratch-and-dent version, which is what I opted for). It doesn’t move up and down, but I figured I could set things up in such a way that I could switch between sitting and standing without too much trouble. (Sidenote: Kickstarter has enough standing desk-related campaigns to merit its own category!)

It’s a pretty simple concept — actually beautiful in its simplicity — that’s wooden and customizable for different heights. Now that I have it, I find it’s bigger than I expected, but it seems to fit onto my desk okay with a few adjustments.

Photo via ReadyDesk as my own is too messy right now.

Unfortunately, I suffered a dislocated toe a few days before The Ready Desk arrived, so I haven’t gotten to give it a real serious try. I’m holding off until the swelling goes down considerably. More to come as the adventure continues.

2 Replies to “My Standing Desk Initiative”

  1. Hi Pamela,

    I hope you like your new standing desk. I’ve been using it for 6 months now and I’m very happy. I was like you, I couldn’t find any standing desks that I liked. They were either too expensive, too scary-looking or not height-adjustable. I was lucky to be dating a civil engineer and we had a woodworker friend, together we re-designed the standing desk. I would love to hear your feedback about it, as you obviously have done good research on everything that is out there 🙂
    Please if you have the time, visit http://www.jaswig.com and let me know.
    And like your post says: we’re also running a Kickstarter at this moment! We want to get standing desks in schools, and need funding for that!

    Thanks!

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