My Standing Desk Experiment - moves on

Remember this?...

standing desks show potential for improving wellbeing?

Well, since my first dabble with using a standing desk (see my blog of my initial makeshift attempts), things have moved on somewhat.

I found, over the days and weeks that followed, that I quite enjoyed standing rather than sitting at the desk (perhaps my days as a custody sergeant, standing for hours at the custody desk prepared me for being on my feet four hours on end?).  It felt more active and action orientated.

Apart form the odd niggle (which I will address ahead), I found that I was a little more productive and a lot more focused on staying on track. 

It wasn't great for every kind of work though.  For working through tasks and 'doing' type stuff, standing worked.  However, when planning, or working on more creative things, it felt less natural.  I found a natural inclination to drift to a comfortable chair or a seated position at a table.

Was this a problem?  Not at all.  In fact it allowed for some variety, changing of posture and helped me to avoid stiffening up too much.

Any problems? 

Yes, one;  Neck strain.  I type fast (since my handwriting is appalling it has become necessary).  However, I look at the keyboard more often than not when typing.  This caused me to feel some aches and strain in my neck using the above make-shift desk set up.

The solution?

Given the greater list of positives (including the mounting evidence of health benefits), I decided to build my own standing desk and attempt to resolve some of the neck strain issues through good design.

I was inspired to pursue the self build route by fellow standing deskers - Joe Murray and Cliff Goodwin and a website dedicated to using Ikea furniture in unusual ways.  I know there are ready made adjustable versions out there, but I quite liked the idea of having a go myself. 

And here is the final result:

standing desk, ikea hack

Unfortunately I can't take a full frontal pic due to the narrowness of the area.  As you can see, I have built the desk from several different bits of inexpensive Ikea furniture and set to the height I think works best for me.  I say think, because that will be something I will monitor over time.

I've now been using the desk for about a month now and it seems to work well.  In relation to the neck strain, I do need to watch that and am practicing typing without looking down at the keyboard.  This is taking some time, but I am improving and with it reducing the neck strain.

I may blog separately a 'how i did it step by step' blog if there's interest, but for tomorrow, I'll compile a list of the top 5 tips to consider when moving from sitting to standing.

Overall, i am proud of my efforts and have enjoyed the experiment.  It may not be to everyone's taste but it works for me. 

As a final update since the picture above was taken, I have since ditched the lap top rasied stand as it grated against my wrists.  I find that using the keyboard directly on the flat desk area is fine.  Having said that, over prolonged use, the edge of the desk does rub on my forearms.  I may add some soft foam tape or something to ease that.

I am also practicing using 'Dragon Dictate' to see how that might both increase productivity and reduce reliance on the keyboard.  I will update in due course.

Keep an eye out for the next blog.

Dave Algeo

Motivational Speaker on resilience and men's mental health. 

Asking yourself 'is this it?'  Have you got to a point in life where, despite working hard and building a 'great life' you still feel there's got to me more?  Here's a short video with three tips to help you get back a sense of hope and direction.