Trying Out an Improvised Standing Desk

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I’ve been reading a lot of good things about standing desks lately. It seems that we can burn up to an extra 50 calories every hour if we stand instead of sit. The entire Internet is also telling us that sitting can literally kill us.

I’m not sure how true either of those articles are, but I still figured I’d give it a try. Setting up a quick, makeshift standing desk was easy and free. I did a bit of measuring and started rummaging through our closets. We have a couple of these large faux-aluminum CD cases that hold 510 discs.

Putting one of those cases on my cocktail arcade cabinet raises my laptop up to about 43 inches. That’s just about elbow height for me. The case also happens to be just about the same length and width as my gigantor 18.4 inch laptop.

Improvised standing desk on top of my cocktail arcade cabinet

Using the standing desk for a few weeks

The first few days, my feet weren’t too happy about standing for such long periods of time. I started out using it for one or two hours each day. At some point during the first week my feet stopped being a problem.

I seem to be a bit more motivated when I’m standing. I think I actually do get a bit more work done, but I haven’t done any science to validate that.

My quick hack of a standing desk has a major flaw: the display is way too low. My shoulders and neck start to get pretty tired after a few hours from looking down all the time.

What can I do about it?

I’d like to continue using the laptop’s keyboard, but I’m not sure I can get the display up high enough without putting too steep of an angle on the keyboard. The display needs to be elevated at least another twelve inches, possibly a bit more.

I have a couple of designs knocking around in my head that I can build out of PVC. I’d like to throw something together soon, but it looks like I’m probably going to be out of town for a month or two. In the mean time, I will continue to make use of what I have set up.

The verdict

Setting up this simple standing desk was definitely worth the very small amount of effort that was required. If you think the idea of a standing desk is interesting, I would encourage you to give it a try for a few days.

I have no plans to convert to using a standing desk full time. My monitors are going to stay firmly attached to my regular desk and you’ll have to pry my Aeron chair out of my cold, dead hands. I think from now on, though, I will always make sure I have somewhere in my office where I can stand up and use my laptop.