My Experience with a Standing Desk

Standing desks have been relatively commonplace for a few years now. I would say that it seems to be more prevalent in technology than anywhere else.

But I know better. I’ve read other more general blogs talk about them, as well. So, you know, technologists aren’t that unique after all. Who would’ve thought?

Generally speaking, they seem to be common for anyone who tend to work in a more sedentary environment.

There are plenty of articles all over the Internet about their advantages, but there are also articles that talk about how standing desks can do more harm than good.

What else would you expect, though? I’ve been using a standing desk for a little while now, and I thought I’d share my thoughts thus far.

My Standing Desk: The Story So Far

A few months ago, my family and I moved (not far from where we originally were). The move gave me the opportunity to think through how I wanted my office organized since I’ve been working out of my home more than anywhere else at this point in my career.

And for the record, I love that.

Anyway, one of the things I knew that I wanted in my office was a standing desk. My goal wasn’t to stand all the time, but to have the choice to do so. Honestly, some days I do spend the majority of the day standing, other days I’m at my desk.

Sometimes it depends on the nature of the work I need to do (do I need a larger screen?), or it depends on how I physically feel (sitting up with a sick toddler all night doesn’t keep motivation high :)).

My Standing Desk
Yes, I till have – and recommend – a standard desk.

At the end of last year, I received the following:

I don’t know if you’d consider the previous an IKEA hack or not. All I know is that I like the way it looked, I like the ability to fold it down if needed, and its simplicity appealed to me much more than many of the actual standing desks that I’d found.

I started using it the day we installed it, and I’ve used it almost every single day ever since. As I mentioned, some days I’ll use it for the majority of the work day. Other days, I’ll use it for shorter periods of time or not at all.

Better, Worse, Or About The Same?

I can say that placing it at the right height (relative to my own) has been key, and I think having a mat below it is important, too. I say this because there are times where I’ve been working downstairs and I use our bar like a standing desk and standing in the kitchen without something under my feet gets tiring.

But who’s supposed to be doing this kind of work in a kitchen, anyway?

In addition to using a mat, another piece of advice I’d give is that the desk should not be used as a crutch to lean on for rest. Instead, it’s better to maintain good posture and rest your arms on the desk when working. Any other form has you defeating the purpose.

Personally, I find that…

  • I do a better job of focusing.
  • I don’t carry stress in my shoulders (versus when I’m sitting).
  • I’ve not felt any discomfort in my back or neck.
  • My wrists, being in line with the keyboard, feel less stress than when sitting at a desk.

Clearly, I’m a fan.

I’m not out to evangelize it nor am I trying to create any converts, but I know that this is something that people often wonder about (I mean, I did myself). So I thought I’d share my experience with mine for anyone who’s curious.

18 Replies to “My Experience with a Standing Desk”

  1. Thanks for sharing, Tom. I’ve been using a standing desk on and off for a few years now and couldn’t imagine going back. You tend to feel more active in what you’re doing, even if it’s just coding. It’s definitely a challenge to get started, but once you have a little standing stamina it’s great.

    I tend to switch it up throughout the day, mostly standing but sometimes sitting. If I’ve been standing too long, it starts to get harder to concentrate on what I’m trying to do. It’s probably time to take a break at that point anyway. ;)

  2. Thanks for sharing. Nice idea for the IKEA wall mounted table something worth considering. I can put this into play come July when I can have my own office/den.

    1. There you go — that’s a good time to plan to start it!

      I’ve been really happy with the wall mounted table. It’s got enough space for what I need to work and not enough for anything that’s distracting.

  3. Hi Tom,

    I’ve been using my standing desk since August of 2015. I love it. I have much more focus on the work I do. I can also concur on the reduced neck/ back/ wrist stress points.

    My setup is more of a permanent one, so I purchased a second hand high-top bar stool to use during the periods when my butt absolutely has to have a place to rest.

    I still have a typical sit down desk for those brainstorming draw-it-out-on-paper-spread everywhere sessions.

    As an added benefit, I’ve even lost a few lbs.

    All in all, a good decision. I can’t see going back now.

    1. My setup is more of a permanent one, so I purchased a second hand high-top bar stool to use during the periods when my butt absolutely has to have a place to rest.

      This is something I definitely considered, but given the setup I currently have with my desktop and my standing desk, I couldn’t seem to justify why it make sense (for me, that is :).

      I still have a typical sitdown desk for those brainstorming draw-it-out-on-paper-spread everywhere sessions.

      Yep — exactly.

      As an added benefit, I’ve even lost a few lbs.

      That’s awesome! It’s consistent with a lot of what I’ve read, as well.

  4. I’ve been using a standing desk for the last 6 years and it’s made a huge difference for me physically, but also, as you noted, with focusing. When I was making the switch, I kept a tall stool nearby, but anymore it’s mostly just a place for overflow from my desk :)

    We even built a standing desk for our children, and they adjusted really quickly to it.

    1. When I was making the switch, I kept a tall stool nearby, but anymore it’s mostly just a place for overflow from my desk :)

      That’s funny. My personality type isn’t one much to lend itself to that (I hate clutter), but that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally move things off to my actual desktop to “get to later.” ;)

      We even built a standing desk for our children, and they adjusted really quickly to it.

      My kids are a bit young for this, but I’m definitely going to have to keep this in mind.

  5. My wife purchased a Stand Desk for me at Christmas time. This was by the best investment for my health when it comes to my work.

    I have two total hip replacements and two herniated discs. This desk has changed my development work-style!

    I don’t get anything for suggesting or linking to them but I can tell you that I couldn’t say enough good things about the products. The construction is solid steel, powder coat paint has a beautiful finish, ease of use is untouchable and the weight that this thing can lift is amazing.

    I highly recommend for a reasonably small investment, I have height control and I am lifting almost 200 pounds.

    My back and hips have never felt better. Thanks for sharing this topic Tom. As you can see, I am definitely an advocate for a Standing Desk. Stand Desk in fact.

    1. I bought one of these for myself for xmas a few years back. I can’t say enough good things about it. I love love love the ability to stand full height or lower it back down to site in my old comfy chair for an hour or two in the afternoon. After skimping on proper ergonomics for 10 years I didn’t feel so bad about making the purchase.

  6. Matt, you won’t regret it. Be sure to get the programmable module and cross member. I use a glass top from our old dining room set and it’s almost 140# of glass, three monitors, three modems, speakers, keyboard, mouse and an all in one PC. The cross member keeps the desk really stable. Lifts effortlessly.

  7. I’ve been using a treadmill for about 1.5 years now. I’ve got this treadmill and it’s very nice. Other (cheaper) treadmills will auto-shut-off after 30 or 45 mins but this treadmill has a continuous running motor which is a big deal. I’ve been using this TrekDesk as my desk and it’s OK. It’s not a pretty desk, but I do like the huge surface and wrap around aspect of the layout. It was pretty cheap and I didn’t want to invest a lot of money upfront on the desk in case I didn’t like walking / standing and working.

    I’m currently walking between 8k and 15k steps per day at about 1.2MPH. If I have to do anything that involves precision mouse / trackpad work (art/graphics) I tend to just stand (not walk). For typing, walking is totally fine. So coding, emailing, and reading, are all great.

    I burn around 450 calories per day with the walking which is a nice added bonus.

    1. I’m a runner so I’ve been around the block with treadmills for some time. The last treadmill I had, I literally ran the motor through its life until upgrading to a nicer one.

      That said, I don’t use one whenever I’m working — just for exercise. I do dig that there’s people who enjoy treadmill desks for work, but I alternate between sitting and standing. The treadmill is just for exercise for me.

      At least that’s the case for now. Maybe I’ll get used to standing and want to move on to something else :). Thanks fo the link, by the way. Nice to have this stuff as reference.

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