Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Oristand Standing Desk

Sitting is the bane of my professional life. I sit all day at work, then come home to sit while I write at night. It adds up to a lot of sitting every day. All that sitting is a health risk, and sometimes it's simply physically uncomfortable. I decided a while ago that a standing desk was the obvious answer, but they're expensive. 

When I read about the Oristand on LinkedIn ("The Everyday Habit That's Killing You: Here's a $25 Fix"), I realized I'm not the only one on a budget who's tired of sitting. Instead of having to buy a whole new (and did I mention expensive?) desk, the Oristand is a collapsible cardboard stand that sits on top of your desk (or in my case, on top of my dining room table). Brilliant.

At $25, this was a price point I could afford, plus I loved its portability since I work at different places around my house. I scanned their website and wondered, “Can I use it with just my laptop, no wireless keyboard?” I suspected the answer was no, but I wasn't certain. I went ahead and ordered the Oristand anyway, figuring I'd sort it all out later.
Does this work on your Oristand? For me, nope.

When it arrived, I was thrilled to find it was easy to assemble and store, plus its sturdy cardboard is at least as durable as many assemble-yourself pieces of furniture I've owned. It folds into a step-shaped configuration that can hold a computer and withstands being leaned upon without bowing.

As far as to whether or not you can use it without a secondary keyboard, the answer is no, at least not for me. I tried it and it was a terrible fit in terms of my neck being at an odd angle and my wrists and shoulders in a bad position, no matter which little ledge I put it on. On the other hand, for my teenaged son (a person who regularly contorts himself into the oddest positions while using a computer), the lack of a secondary keyboard was no problem.
Who needs ergonomics when you're 18? Yeah, not my kid.

I immediately went on Amazon and ordered a wireless keyboard--but neglected to thoroughly check the dimensions and wound up with a teeny-tiny keyboard that is far too small for my fingers. Actually, it's far too small for anyone over five, but it's adorable. We decided it would be perfect as the living room TV keyboard. Also, it was hard not to say “awwww” when holding it.

I went back to Amazon, armed with a tape measure and the Oristand. I wanted enough room for a keyboard and a mouse. Voila, I checked the dimensions of several keyboards and found one that was 15 inches wide. Or so I thought.

“Mom, that's the dimensions of the box,” my kid told me (complete with eye rolling), after I ordered it. Great. And I thought shopping online would save me time! At that point, I'd been itching to take the Oristand on a full test drive, but without a workable secondary keyboard, there was no way I could evaluate it. When the keyboard arrived, I found I'd still gotten the dimensions wrong. It's about 11” wide, but fits the space perfectly and leaves plenty of room for the mouse.

I used the new setup to write most of this post, and am incredibly pleased with the functionality. 

Aside from the obvious health concerns associated with sitting too much, I like having the option to stand while I write. I tend to write and ponder and wander around, and standing for part of the time is definitely preferable for me. 

The design of the Oristand lends itself to leaning your elbows on the lower ledge while resting your chin in your hands to look at the computer screen, which is probably seriously ergonomically incorrect, but at least I'm not sitting.

I think the Oristand is going to work really well, especially for the big project I just started working on. I've been excited about the project, but was dreading the additional hours spent sitting.

I like the design and wish I'd been more attentive to the need for a keyboard so I wouldn't have had to wait the whole week to give it a true test.

The real result, of course, will be how I feel (and how the stand endures) after the next couple of months, when I expect to log a lot of hours on it. Also, my wood-worker hubby is determined to make a wooden version, which I insist will be too heavy (he disagrees). Stay tuned for updates.  


Do you like to stand or sit while writing? Some well-known authors liked to stand while writing--Hemingway, for instance.

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