Standing desks aren’t a viable option for some of us–especially those that travel a lot (such as myself). I have a standing desk at home, but weighing in at almost 200 lbs. it doesn’t travel very well. So what is one to do when on the road? There are a few options when it comes to portable standing desks, including my tried and true method of stacking hotel desk drawers on top of each other, or using the ironing board as a workspace.
But what if you want something a bit less destructive and a bit more aesthetically pleasing? That’s where StandStand comes in.
A relatively new product in the world of Sit/Stand desks, the StandStand was invented by a young Harvard professor by the name of Luke Leafgren as a way to avoid sitting without the investment and bulk of a full fledged standing desk. Designing th first prototypes himself, he soon had a viable product that gained a bit of publicity through its wildly successful Kickstarter campaign.
It’s not all kittens and rainbows when signing up to be a standing desk enthusiast, as Mr. Kravets from ArsTechnica writes in his latest post “Welcome to my Sit-Stand Desk Nightmare“.
The post details the trials and travails of a man who bought a relatively inexpensive standing desk ($599), and proceeded to have issue with the motors that drove the desk lifting mechanism.
All of sudden, as the desk was rising, I heard a cracking sound and realized my computer monitor was about to fall onto the floor. Only the left side was rising. I didn’t immediately notice it. (…) My pimp ride had turned into a nightmare. The left side had risen about five inches higher than the right side.
Most sit-stand solutions have an electric motor that raises and lowers the desk surface. As is the case with all electrical/mechanical devices, sometimes they malfunction or break.
Use this as a cautionary tale–the cheaper you go, the better chance that you’ll have issues later down the road. Also, be very careful when it comes to assembly–if either side is unbalanced it can lead to an uneven work space or degradation of the motors.
There’s a dearth of information cataloging why sitting is bad for you, so one journalist decided to take it to the extreme and give up sitting altogether–for an entire month.
Dan Kois, a writer for New York magazine, decided to be the guinea pig in his own experiment to see how possible a life of no sitting was in this day in age. His tongue-in-cheek article recounts the many hilarious experiences that were a part of his quest to do just that.
I decided to spend a month on my feet: 30 days never being a couch potato, an office slug, a sitting duck. The exceptions, agreed upon with my editor: I would sit to drive (but would strive to take the train); I would sit when nature called. I would also sit to put my shoes on, I decided this morning after falling over trying to put on my shoes. I would lie down to sleep, although I surely wouldn’t need sleep, given that I’d be so healthy.
Read the entire account here.
National Public Radio (NPR) just posted a piece about the dangers of sitting, remarking on a study done by researchers at Northwestern University that concluded:
…each additional hour a day spent sitting increases the risk of becoming physically disabled by about 50 percent — no matter how much exercise they get.
Scary stuff. So, what’s a man or woman to do in order to help prevent these oncoming disabilities? Simple:
Get non-fatiguing activity in as much as possible…that can be as simple as walking around the office, or parking your car at the far end of the parking lot or even just standing up while talking on the phone…
Read more on the NPR web site here.
There’s been a recent spate of articles on treadmill desks recently, including videos featured on Business Insider and Wired.
The general consensus? Mixed reviews. Seems like most people like it, but that walking on a treadmill desk is a bit much if you’re trying to concentrate on something at the same time. Just checking e-mail or surfing the web? A treadmill desk may be right up your alley. (One guy at Business Insider seems to really hate it, but I think that’s pretty extreme–although the maker of the product does recommend a break-in period of about two weeks to get used to it.)
I think that what these videos illustrate is that you shouldn’t rely solely on a treadmill desk though–there should be an alternative nearby for when you get tired or need to concentrate on something without the distraction of having to constantly move your feet. A potentially expensive proposition at around $2000 a pop for an alternative desk, but if you’ve got the money…
Multitable.com is a standing desk company based in Phoenix, AZ that specializes in their own brand of height-adjustable work surfaces, the ModTable. Offering both hand-crank and electric varieties, MultiTable.com offers the choice to buy only the steel frame and use your own work surface on top of it for a reduced cost.
Their offerings come in at a bit below average, with the Mod-E line of electrically-adjustable height desks coming in as low as $849 (frame + work surface), and their hand-crank variety of desks selling for just $549 (frame + work surface). Opting to use your own work surface will save you about $70. They also offer a treadmill setup
The ModTable’s minimum height is 27” and the maximum height is 46”, and both the frames and the desk tops are offered in a choice of four different colors/finishes. A 30 Day Money-Back Guarantee is included with all products sold, and the company offers a 2 Year Warranty against defects. Shipping will run you between $68-78, depending on the product you buy.
More information available on their web site at MultiTable.com.
Lifehacker is a well-known proponent of standing desks (or at least a well-known clearing house for articles about standing desks), and they’ve recently come out with their newest article on the matter, entitled “Standing on Weekdays Burns Calories Like Running 10 Marathons a Year“.
As the name of the article implies, it seems that standing instead of sitting burns as many calories per year as running ten marathons.
Standing caused the volunteers to have a much higher heart rate (around 10 beats per minute higher), which adds up to burning about 50 calories more per hour versus sitting. Over a year, that adds up to about 30,000 more calories or 8 pounds of fat.
“If you want to put that into activity levels,” Dr Buckley says, “then that would be the equivalent of running about 10 marathons a year. Just by standing up three or four hours in your day at work.”
And of course, it’s just better overall (even if no calorie loss was accounted for), given that sitting is slowly killing you.
Read more here.
Sidenote: major props to the model wearing high heels while on the treadmill standing desk. Respect.
As I’ve been on the road quite a bit since the start of the year, I find that I’m at home less and less. This means that I’m often resigned to using whatever desks are in my hotel room–if I’m lucky! Just take a look at my latest imaginative setup during an extended stay in Bangkok last month (right).
That’s why I was delightfully surprised to hear about the Ninja Standing Desk, created via a Kickstarter campaign by the creator, Dan McDonley. This particular standing desk is small enough to carry with you wherever you go, and is also infinitely adjustable as far as the height goes.
Able to be mounted to any door (or a bit more permanently, to a wall) with the included hardware, the Ninja is a mobile, minimalist solution to those who wish to set up shop anywhere they go.
The product web site totes the Ninja Standing Desk as a total replacement for traditional standing desks, able to accommodate full size monitors and work side-by-side with tower computer setups. I don’t think I’ll be heading in that direction anytime soon, seeing as the work space offered is a bit limited (and the fact that I enjoy my current setup), but I suppose it could get you by in a pinch. (The ability to buy a version with three shelves is definitely a plus should you buy it as a desk-replacement.)
At $147 base cost (plus shipping), it’s not cheap (for what you’re getting, which is a few pieces of aluminum, some door hangers, and the strap that goes between the surfaces). But, if you’re like me and are always missing your standing desk whenever you’re on the road, the cost is more than worth it.
Finally, I can have the benefits of a standing desk with me wherever I go. Find out more here.
Don’t you just hate how you have to manually (either through a lever or button) adjust the level of your height-adjustable standing desk? Well, that will soon be a thing of the past thanks to the Stir Kinetic Desk!
The Stir Desk has an embedded touch-sensitive control panel and IR sensors that know when you stand, and take appropriate action–raising to meet you. “Manually” switching the height is as easy as tapping on the control panel (embedded into the corner of the desk), and appears to be a very quick procedure (see video to the right). There’s even a feature where you can set the table to vibrate after a set period of time to remind you to stand up a bit after sitting too long! Amazing.
Be prepared to shell out a pretty penny though–the desk starts at $3,890, and can run quite a bit higher depending on selected options. The desk is not yet available for purchase, but you can be one of the first to know when it goes on sale if you sign up to Stir’s mailing list through their web site.
Definitely the smartest standing desk I’ve ever seen.
UPDATE: Wired Magazine recently profiled the desk on their website–check it out here.
Stewart Alsop on Quora has a first-hand account of switching over to a standing desk at his Silicon Valley tech startup.
His company’s solution is a low-budget approach of a dual-height wall-mounted shelving system. Seems to do the trick, but I’d be concerned about the lack of counter space and the inability to sit at your work space after extended periods of time standing.
Be sure you catch the biggest disadvantage of standing desks (listed at the end of the article). It’s one we really haven’t brought up before, but definitely deserves some consideration… 😉