Standing desk



I started using a standing a desk almost a decade ago. There was a popular news article around that time about the supposed health benefits of standing to work, compared to sitting most of the day. I thought I’d give it a try. I also wanted to address the upper back pain I’d been struggling with for several years. I found it hard to maintain good posture while sitting for extended periods, even with an Aeron chair and the desk, monitor, keyboard, et al. adjusted to my height.

My first “standing desk” wasn’t exactly an ergonomic improvement on my sitting arrangement. My monitor was a flat-screen television perched precariously on top of a book shelf. To get my keyboard and mouse to the right height I put them on top of an ironing board standing on two boxes. It was not pretty, but it worked well enough to convince me that I could make the switch.

At first I could only stand for 30 or 45 minutes before I would have to take a break and sit down. At night I would toss and turn because my hip flexors ached. Eventually my muscles got stronger and I was able to stand for longer periods.

My next attempt at a desk was NSF wire shelving, arranged into connected monitor and keyboard stands at the appropriate heights. It worked much better than the ironing board and book shelf, although vigorous typing would make it wobble.

I’ve yet to own a standing desk that’s actually built for that purpose. My current home office desk is a steel utility shelf, like the kind people put in their garages. I found a model that’s wide enough to accommodate two monitors. The next shelf down has my keyboard and mouse. I can’t see my hands when I’m working, but I’ve gotten used to that.

While I’m working I stand on a Gorilla Grip mat. It’s firm enough that my feet don’t sink into it, but still forces me to adjust my posture occasionally, which is good. I’ve also learned that I need to wear shoes with proper support, and not house shoes.

The switch from sitting to standing has worked well for me. I rarely have to deal with back pain any more. I feel like my posture has improved. I can stand for hours at a time, though I usually try to break up the standing with other activities. I’ll walk around while I’m on the phone, or sit and read. I believe the back pain largely stemmed from working with a keyboard, so I stand if I’m going to be typing a lot.