Posted by Dan Delaney | 18th Apr 2011

Since turn of 2001, I've found that sitting for prolonged periods of time causes me to get pain in my abdomen.  There are medical reasons for this, but I won't go into details here.  Needless to say, my chosen profession means I spend 90% of my working day in front of a computer screen and up until now that's meant sitting down.

Recently, I saw an article on Yewhealth which led me to consider swapping my home office space to a Standing Desk.

This appealed to me for two reasons:

  1. I won't need to sit all the time, and
  2. The extra calories I'll burn standing, rather than sitting

There are several options for swapping to a standing desk.   They range from expensive professionally built, adjustable desks to DIY alternatives.  As I wasn't 100% sure that a standing desk is for me, I went for the latter option.

Tools

The risers:

  • Original desk
  • A box file (A4)
  • An A4 document filing cabinet (turned on its end)

The work surface

  • A coffee table tray - a piece of MDF would work as well - to house the laptop + keyboard
  • A A4 document file case (turned on its end)  - to support the LCD

End Result

I'm quite pleased with how its turned out.  It is remarkably stable, and allows me to gain space underneath on the original desk.   The work surface is a little less than I'm used to, but getting a larger piece of MDF would solve that problem.

 

Experience

I knew that making the change from sitting tostanding would mean I need to build up some stamina to cope with being on my feet all day.  Reading a few forum posts and articles on the subject also meant that I decided I would take a 10 minute break every hour.  To do this, I unplugged the laptop and sat at the lower desk.

Day 1:

11:39am Early thoughts about standing desk: I move about when working a lot, which includes unconsciously dancing when listening to music.  This should help with the calories!

12:19pm Standing desk 3 hours in: legs / feet are starting to ache a wee bit. 10 min breaks each hour seem to help, as does the dancing about!

1:35pm Feet and legs aching.  Enough for the first day.

Day 2:

9:30am Aching legs & feet yesterday, but felt better in the evening than when sitting all day.  No IBS symptoms, which is the end goal! One thing is for sure, the standing desk may be at the right height for typing, but would need a different height for when I am writing

14:15pm My legs have hit the "must move about or risk locking up" stage 1hr later than yesterday. Still loving this standing desk though

15:45pm Feet and legs aching.  Enough for the day.

Day 3:

15:25pm Once again, my legs have hit the "must move about or risk locking up" stage 1hr later than yesterday. However my feet are really not happy.  Enough for the day.

Day 4:

17:55pm First full day of using the standing desk and I haven't had any real issues. My feet hurt a little but I can tell that my stamina is really improving.

Day 5 to 8:

Each a full day of using the standing desk.  I am now taking the 10 minute breaks only when I need them, but take the full 10 minutes each time.

Conclusions:

I'm convinced that a standing desk is the way forward for me.  I can already feel the benefit of a working day without IBS symptoms.  I've also found that I'm not as tired at the end of the day however this may be down to the novelty of working this way.  I've not found it any harder to concentrate on my work or indeed noticed any impact on the quality of my work.  Hopefully, as IBS symptoms become a thing of the past I will be able to focus a little easier.

I don't think I'll be rushing out to spend money on a permanent standing desk, but will continue t orefine the setup.  A proper monitor riser and wider piece of MDF are the first items on the list.

Thinking of using a standing desk?  Already use one, or given up? I'd love to hear your thoughts.