By August 15, 2011

Standing desk at home

So, I left my corporate job and am doing a mix of at-home and on-site work. This means that I’m standing more at my desk than ever before. It also meant I had to do some additional setup compared to what I had when I worked away from home.

Setup and equipment

The most important part was buying a standing desk was elevating my keyboard, mouse, and monitors to the right position. The idea is to keep your arms bent at a 45-degree angle if possible.

I looked at purchasing a special-built standing desk, but it seemed to have a few drawbacks. The first was expense — a lot of the standing desks are $200+ USD. IKEA has a decent candidate called the Fredrik, and without any bells and whistles it weighs in at about $120. Of course, you can spend as much as you want, there’s a $2000 mechanized adjustable desk for sale somewhere.

I wound up buying a LACK coffee table from IKEA. The unit code is 201.053.41, measures 59″ x 28″ x 4 1/4″ and cost $49.99 as of the time of this writing. The table rests on my folding table and is wide enough to accommodate two 23″ widescreen monitors with some room left over.

There is also a shelf, which is tall enough for some plastic bins (also purchased from IKEA for $4 each) and other crap. This adds a bunch of storage to my work area and keeps the desk top (relatively) clear:

I also keep a small shelf on the floor to rest a foot on — that is, until Sedagive? reads this post and finds out I stole her shelf. I’ll eventually get or make a better foot rest, but I’ll tell you why this helpful in a moment.

I am still using the Crown Comfort King standing mat, and still think there is a lot to be desired. It seems better on my softer, residential-grade carpet instead of the harder commercial-grade carpet at my last job.

I’m still working on the monitor height (I have another gadget on the way, thanks for helping Gibberish!), but the keyboard and mouse height are pretty perfect.

I can adjust the length of reach by moving the keyboard back and forth, or standing closer or farther away from the desk, or both.

As you can see, I have to look down or move away from the desk to get the monitors at the right height. This is definitely bad on my neck and I’m going to fix it.

I’m trying to get the monitor height more like this:

Comfort and use

I usually stand for about ten to fourteen hours to day. Most of this time is spent with my feet shoulder width apart, both feet flat, and barefoot. I alternate between putting my left and right foot forward on the foot rest, and that helps take some pressure off of the soles of my feet.

Aside from the neck issue my only problem has been my right knee. I think I’m spending too much time with my right knee locked. I have been doing more Power Half Hour and kettlebells, both of which require a lot out of my knees and quadriceps. I hope that using the foot rest more will encourage to bend my knee more.

I’ll say this: even with the knee discomfort, my legs feel much better overall. I had some real problems with my hamstrings from sitting all day, especially after doing some heavier workouts for me legs. No matter how much I stretched, I think sitting for 10+ hours a day hampered my recovery.

As far as using the desk goes, it’s been great. I like having the keyboard and mouse elevated, and have a bunch of frequent-use items at the same height.

I already had the 96″ folding table, but something comparable is available for about $80 at stores like Office Max. So far my standing desk setup has run about $165 including the mat and re-appropriated foot rest / shelf.

If I went the IKEA Fredrik route I’d sit at about $10 less, but would have a much smaller desk that couldn’t be used for as many things as my current setup. The day may come that I work in a cube again, or commission some crazy custom standup desk. In that case, the folding table can be used for any number of things, and the coffee table can go back to being, well, a coffee table.

If you’re on a budget, or if you already have some of these components, try my version of the standing desk.

Posted in: gibberish

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