If you’re trying to minimize the time you spend sitting, you’ve probably looked into a standing desk. Me too, and after investigating my options, I’ve reached two conclusions.
#1) If you use notes, books, etc. while working, your desk needs are different from people who don’t use reference materials.
I’m a note taker, and I edit my work on printed drafts. For me, a desk has to be big enough to accommodate my piles of paper, my coffee, and possibly a sandwich.
Last year I ordered the Oristand, a cardboard device you can set on top of your workstation to create a standing desk. I was attracted by its low price and ease of storage, but I soon discovered a major drawback for me: no space to put anything next to the keyboard.
|You can see my marooned notes to the right of the Oristand|
On days when I was working on a rough draft and not using notes, the Oristand functioned just fine. It accommodates the computer and nothing else, which I’m sure many people would find totally acceptable. Unfortunately for me, this severely limited its usefulness.
And while it was easy to fold and put away, I found it to be too large when fully extended to set atop my regular desk, so I wound up using it on my dining room table. This wasn’t an issue on days when everyone else was out of the house, but the rest of the time the area tends to be noisy and interruption-filled. (I’m a writer. My hubby is a woodworker. Oh, what fun it is when he’s sanding.)
Sad to say, my Oristand has been collecting dust for quite a while now. Even sadder, their website says they closed forever on December 15, 2017, however, they are selling Oristands for $20 while supplies last.
That experience led me to my second and most important conclusion:
#2) If you’re serious about using a standing desk, replacing your whole desk is probably your best bet.
I’ve tried replacing almost everything in my office, all in an attempt to avoid spending $500+ on a new desk. Since I still have issues with my neck, arm, and back, a new desk is the logical next step.
I know a few people who have adjustable height desks--an important distinction from a standing desk at a fixed height. Just as sitting all the time is bad for you, standing all the time comes with issues, too. Ask any hairdresser or bartender.
I’ve looked at other options for desktop add-ons, but haven’t seen anything that would work with my small desk, or that provides sufficient space for notes.
Trying to narrow down the best options can be challenging. Google “standing desk” and take a look at the plethora of results. I considered going to the office supply store and buying one, but I wanted to have more information before shelling out such a substantial sum of money.
If you’re looking for a reliable and thorough reference, Reviews.com has done some serious homework on adjustable height desks. They started out with 71 desks and narrowed the list down to the top 13--and they explain their entire evaluation criteria, from ease of assembly to the motor's noisiness. If you’ve been searching for an adjustable height desk, chances are these folks have taken a look at whichever model you’re considering. Bookmark that page, because you’ll come back to it.
In my case, I have an ace up my sleeve, so to speak, with the aforementioned woodworking hubby. I know at least one person who purchased the hardware and made his own adjustable height desk (something the Reviews.com piece also mentions as an option). This should come in at a much lower cost than buying a pre-made desk, and I can customize it so I have plenty of desk space for my many piles of papers. Not sure how long it will take before I have a new desk (spouses of handy people everywhere are laughing right now), but I'll be sure to post an update when I do.
Are you using a standing desk, or do you have plans to buy (or make) one?
Photo of Ikea standing desk courtesy of Mack Male at Flickr