Standing Desks and Me My Life 10 JUL 2013

So thanks to a successful experiment prompted by my colleague Tracy, I now code standing up – and I have to admit, I am quite into it at the moment.

Now I’ve known about the concept of standing desks and the theories around the benefits of standing versus sitting for work thanks to the various articles posted over in lifehacker and the like over the years, and despite being interested in the idea, I have to admit that I never bothered seriously looking into it even in the slightest.

A couple of months ago though, Tracy pitched the idea to me and asked whether I’d be keen to try standing up and working, seeing as she had these two cool bamboo lap desks which would double as a standing desk hack, and was pretty keen to give it a go, but didn’t particularly want to be the only sucker in the office standing and working. Intrigued by the prospect, I readily agreed, and then promptly forgot all about it as we got stuck back into work.

Then, out of the blue, Tracy walked into the office last week bearing the aforementioned lap desks, and after a quick bit of work space configuration (which included me entering our storage garage and fishing out abandoned office fittings so that we could raise up our second monitors to a more acceptable height), I was up and coding, and for the first time in a long time walked out of the office at the end of the day without any stiffness in my neck or back whatsoever!

And from that moment on I was hooked.

the final standing desk hack configuration

Currently I work pretty much the entire 8.5 hour long work day on my feet, only taking a sitting break for an hour so in the middle of the day during lunch. Funnily enough though, I can’t do it while wearing shoes, meaning that once again I’ll be know as that horrible barefoot office guy (and I was doing so well in terms of the shoe-wearing department in recent months!).

The Chinese-made bamboo lap desks are perfectly suited for the job, having more than enough work space for both your laptop and mouse, the ability to extend their height thanks to their sliding leg mechanism, an angle adjustment if you prefer to work on a slanted keyboard, and even a nifty cupholder. In other words, the perfect tool in converting your standard desk into a standing desk – and at a fraction of the price of a proper, full-blown standing desk solution! (They only cost around R300, located at the Chinese Chinatown cluster of shops in Sable Square, next to Century City).

And seeing as I work from home twice a week, I immediately organized my own standing desk hack to put in the study. (Unfortunately the local Chinatown doesn’t stock any, so I had to organise with my boss who happened to be going to Century City over the weekend to grab one for me).

One thing to note though, if like me your intention is to do away with all that hunching over your keyboard at work, you do need to run a second monitor which should ideally be raised up to eye level – it’s pretty much the same trick David Fox and I employed a couple of years ago when we came across the idea of artificially raising the level of our desk monitors to avoid looking down at the screen.

But yeah, who knows, this just might be the solution I was looking for in trying to fix my notoriously bad posture! :)

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.

  • Ryan

    Have you seen this South Africa standing desk company called deskstand?

    • Ryan, you do realise that your disqus profile lists all your conversations, one of which being one where you clearly state that you are the founder/owner of deskstand. Don’t do the classic “have you heard/seen” drive by – just say, guys, I’ve got this really cool South African company that I’ve started. It’s pretty cool, come have a look.

      Now you just look kind of silly ;)

      (Still, it is pretty cool – I’m sure there will be a lot of support for your South African made product, so good luck!)

      • Ryan

        Haha. Oh yeh #feelingsilly