My Standing Desk

I began writing this article months ago when I started researching standing desks. I started writing an article and realized, I should probably buy a desk first before I write this blog post. Thus, all that was saved in my draft was this line:

{% blockquote %} I sit. A lot. So much in fact that it is killing me. I want to stand more. I want to move more. {% endblockquote %}

From the desperation found in the quote above, one thing was clear - I desired change. I won’t go into details but my health was the primary reason I was seeking out standing desks.

I spend most of my day at my desk, writing code, working on projects, and in Hangouts. It’s my profession. If I’m not slinging code, then I’m not producing anything. I love working from home, it’s flexible but that doesn’t mean I don’t spend a good part of my days working.

So after searching for a while I found there was plenty of options for a standing desk. I could build my own, buy a stationary standing desk so that I have two desks, one for standing and one for sitting or pick from various desks, such as, NextDesk, UpDesk and GeekDesk.

Build vs. Buy

I wouldn’t try to construct my own bed. Why? Because I want it to be comfortable and functional. I spend on average eight hours a day in my bed. The same logic applies to my desk. The old desk I was using was built by my own hands, and I’m man enough to admit that I’m no professional craftsman. It was made from mdf board I painted, some bolts I purchased from Home Depot and some metal brackets from an old yardsale desk my wife had salvaged. We recently moved in the last few months and I’m surprised it even survived the move. So I was determined to purchase my next desk.

What Desk Should I Purchase?

I looked at various standing desks from like IKEA because I though this would be easier on the pocketbook. However, two different desks means two different workspaces which was an immediate turn off for me. I have a three monitor setup and a kick ass Ubuntu system that I develop with. How do I get that same kick ass workspace on two desks? Buy an additional three more monitors and do some sort of kvm/splitter setup or a different desktop machine? No, I wanted to keep it simple. One desk, one workspace. Also my office only has room for one desk. Thus I decided I wanted a desk which could slide up and down between sitting and standing positions.

I had seen a GeekDesk in action before from an old colleague, so it was the first thing I went to. But after reading thewirecutter, I sought out a different desk. I have pretty high standards and some aspects important to me,

  • look and feel - I will make contact with my desk more throughout the day than my wife . My wife is easy on the eyes, has beautiful curves, and nonabrasive soft skin that is calming yet exciting. I expect no less from my desk.

  • i like to move it, move it - If I want to sit, stand, stand, sit, stand, stand, sit throughout my day then I need to easily move positions at anytime. It cannot be any hassle to move up and down or the desk has failed.

  • easily cleaned - I believe that a tidy desk makes me more productive. Having little toys, bills/papers, or pci express cards strung about my desk only distracts me from the real tasks at hand.

  • single purposed - I will often eat lunch at my desk. If my whole point of getting a standing desk is to be healthier and move around more, then why would I go back to my desk to sit down and eat lunch? I want my desk to be simply a place of work. Not my dinner table and not my coffin.

  • organization - My old desk had a filing cabinet drawer. One might think that this would help with organization. Unfortunately, this was not the case. My daughter often comes running into my office when the door is left open and what once was a full drawer full of paperwork, cables and various electronics quickly becomes an empty drawer. Having a desk with no drawers forces me to place these things somewhere else. I can put my receipts and paperwork in our real filing cabinet. I can put cables and electronics in storage bins with the other cables. What real purpose does a drawer on a desk serve a web designer? Simple: I throw crap I don’t want visible into the drawers and forget about it. Solution: I get off my butt and put the crap where it really needs to go.

What did I do?

After searching a while, I noticed that the UpDesk was stationed out of Nashville, TN. And it just so happens that I to go on business trips to Nashville, TN. I took that opportunity to stop by the warehouse for UpDesk and got a first-hand tour of these amazing desks. They didn’t have a show room but after ringing a doorbell this guy named Kamron shows up and lets me walk right into the office space where the employees all utilize fruits of their own labor; each employee had a different style of desk. I really enjoyed what I saw and decided that this was the desk for me. I had a large whiteboard UpWrite desk custom made and after four weeks of anticipation it was ready. Here are some pictures.

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It’s been a few months since I’ve had my UpDesk and I use it daily for work. I typically stand up a few hours a day and rotate back and forth. I sweat when I’m standing and standing too much flares up my hemorrhoids. I’ve got a mat to stand on which helps some. I feel more productive when standing, and I like to have client meetings while I stand so I can walk around some. I do use the whiteboard to hash out ideas in my head but I still find myself using pencil and paper too.

DOWNside of UPdesk

The real downside to this product is the cost. However, I believe you get what you pay for though, and this is a solid build desk. Doesn’t wobble, supports my 3 monitors with no problem and gets moved up and down minimum twice a day.

Another downside to this desk is that it isn’t kid friendly. My twenty-month old daughter can push the up and down arrows and if I’m sitting under the desk it comes down on the chair and the desk starts to tilt and raise up. I don’t use the presets because she constantly re-programs them. It would be nice if this thing had an off/on switch at the back of the controller or something.

My last complaint is that the edge of the desk is too rough. Now don’t get me wrong, the desk isn’t cutting slahes into my skin so that I bleed all over the place but this is an area of improvement. As a developer my hands are on the keyboard constantly and my wrists will rest on the edge of the desk. It’d be cool if it had a more rounded corner at the edge of the desk - especially for one that costs so much.

UPside of UPdesk

The desk moves up and down quickly and quietly. However we have a lot of black outs here. So I have a UPS battery that helps keep my computers running if the power flickers. When I first plugged my desk into the battery section then anytime I re-positioned the desk it made the UPS beep constantly. I ended up mounting another surge protector to the desk.

  1. surge protector is battery protected (for computer, router, dsl modem)
  2. other surge protector is not battery protected (for monitors, printer, things I don’t care if they shut off during power surge)

Increased productivity and organization. I keep papers and things on my desk but I find I am constantly re-organizing my desk to keep it clutter free. This is exactly what I wanted so that I don’t have papers and bills just lingering around for months. I am able to walk around and think while I code too, if I’m standing up. Google Hangout meetings are awesome with this thing.

The desk has helped my carpal tunnel. I still have some carpal tunnel but not the pain shooting through my wrists kind anymore after a long days work.

Buyers Remorse? Yes or no? Closing Thoughts?

It has been almost 7 months with this desk and I don’t regret the purchase on bit. It was a bit expensive but given my line of work: it was a good investment and tax deductible too.

I would recommend a standing desk to anyone who works from home and sits a lot.

I will add though that if you are trying to loose weight or become more conciseness about your health then just adding a standing desk to your life isn’t going to fix all your problems. It certainly didn’t fix all my health problems. So keep in mind if you are buying a desk solely for your health, it isn’t going to work miracles.

That being said, if you can afford it and the whiteboard is something you’ll use then I say do it. If the price is too expensive you might consider a different type of UpDesk, like the one without the whiteboard. Even though a standing desk isn’t going to perform some miracle on your health you still shouldn’t sit around all day, it is shaving the years off your life.

UPDATE (MAY 16th 2014)

The STANDdesk looks pretty nice and is half the cost. I have a buddy who ordered one, I’ll check his out and update here accordingly.

post by Kelt Dockins on 05/15/2014