Experiments With A Standing Desk

I've been wanting to experiment with a standing desk for a long time. So, when the Design Thinking online course I was taking emphasized the importance of your environment on your creativity and suggested as an activity that we all made a little change in our work environment and note the impact on our work, I thought that was the cue I needed to finally give it a go.

Since this is an experiment, I did not want to commit any real cash. One can find a lot of guides online from people who built standing desks for US$25 using parts from IKEA, but unfortunately I am part of the world's IKEA-less population so that would not work for me. So, I took an unused shelf and a stool that were lying around  to create a stand for the keyboard and trackpad, and a couple of old chairs for the laptop and monitor. I then took out some books to adjust the height for both screens. Luckily the keyboard height was just perfect, as it would have been harder to find a way to prop it up that was stable enough. As you can see below, this solution is not pretty but it works well as a test.


This only works because I have a very large desk, but then the goal was just to test things out and find what my requirements would be for a final solution.

So what's it like to work on a standing desk? Much better than I thought it would be. For years I've had difficulties being productive in the post-lunch hours, but when standing I felt much more active and the entire day started feeling practically equally productive. Mornings are still better for tasks that require longs periods pf concentration, but the afternoons are certainly much better while standing. I still feel more physically tired at the end of the day, but after a week this is already improving.

One unexpected side effect is that I've become much more conscious of my shoes. I've already found myself using certain old favorites less and less for not being very comfortable after sanding for a long time. I also placed a really thick rug in front of my desk which helped. On a warmer afternoon I tried taking my shoes off and it worked great, so that's certainly something I'll do more often when the temperature allows.

After the first few days of standing, when I found myself really enjoying it, I wanted to rush out and transform this into a permanent solution by buying some wood and making it myself. However, for once my procrastination paid off. I've found a few issues that I still want to give more thought to. One of them is cable management. I've never been able to properly sort this out, but the fact that my standing desk is essentially a desk on top of a desk only makes it worse. I think for my final solution I want to have a USB hub and a power strip somehow fixed to the underside of the desk. Another issue is that occasionally when I feel tired I will take a few minutes to sit, so I need to figure out if there is a way to do this quickly without messing up the whole setup. Until I figure out both of these items I will not build my final solution.

More to come...