I’ve cut back my coffee, try to exercise once in a while, and keep my trips to the donut shop to a minimum. It turns out, however that the worst thing I do for my body has nothing to do with honey-glazed pastries … according to research, sitting is the new smoking. Since reading about all the dire effects of spending my days sitting at my desk (I’m bringing on heart disease, a permanent slouch, and shortening my life expectancy?!), I have jumped out of my chair and vowed to change my ways. So even though it seems a bit foreign – and a bit awkward, design-wise — I’m checking out standing desks.
Here’s the ergonomics 411 if you’re contemplating taking a stand: Your desk height should be at or slightly below elbow level. Your screen should be about 20-30” away from your eyes, and you should be looking straight ahead at the upper half of it (if you’re looking down, it needs to be additionally elevated. This means that, if your’e working on a laptop, you’ll need to have a separate keyboard and mouse by your hands, and prop your laptop screen up by your eyes.
Okay, let’s get down to business and see the first option!
Photo credit: Collin Ferry
The Jarvis desk— yep, this is pretty much what I thought all standing desks looked like. Yeesh. This doesn’t exactly ring bells in the design department. But in terms of standing desk features, this guy is optimal. It can adjust 26” up via electric control, with it’s top height at 51”, so tall standing workers will be comfortable. It can lift 350 pounds of monitors, hard drives or cinderblocks you choose to put on your desk, and it has collision detection technology, which means it won’t size-down and crush your chair (or cat). Best of all, an LED panel means you can adjust your desk from sitting to standing height with one touch, and it even has pre-set memory settings so you don’t have to guess on height each time. Not pretty, but very functional… and at $700, standing doesn’t come cheap.
Photo credit: Ellie Snow
Next stop, the DIY route. There are no shortage of DIY standing desk projects online, but I like this one from Mint Design Blog that uses some Home Depot sawhorse brackets, 2x4s cut to size, a little paint and an IKEA countertop. Seems like it couldn’t be simpler, and I think it looks beautiful. But you’ve got to commit, or at have the real estate for both a sitting and standing option, because this baby doesn’t move up and down at all. I’m not sure I could permanently toss my sitting desk in place of this solution, but hey, at least you’re not making a major investment.
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