For desk bound digital creatives, standing at your desk could add years to your life…as long as you’re doing it the right way.
Sitting all day long, all week long, all year long is literally shaving years off your life and increasing your chances of unpleasant health issues cropping up in your life (scroll to the bottom of this post for all the gory details). But it doesn’t have to be that way. Moving yourself to a standing desk is a great way to work more productively, stave off death and enjoy your career for longer. In this post we’ll share the experiences of a few folks that are doing it right…and how you can get the most out of a standing desk setup!
Thanks to Animation Mentor and Shelby Cass, a certified Ergonomist who counts Pixar and Electronic Arts as some of her clients, you can learn how to set up your standing desk for maximum comfort and ergonomic safety. Take 5 minutes now and find how well your standing desk is set up. If you don’t have standing desk, not to worry, Shelby has some great tips for setting up your chair correctly and how to sit at your desk properly.
Hacking Standing Desks
If you don’t have a standing desk you can find plenty of good tutorials online about hacking a standing desk together from IKEA parts, like this post over on LifeHacker.org. One of the nicest looking, storage packed desks is the ‘Spaceship’ from Peter Marks. You can see how he went from this monstrosity to this sleek looking IKEA hack that only costs $250.
Others have taken Peter’s Spaceship 2.0 standing desk even further and added the ultimate in standing desk cool – a treadmill. Not only will you live longer, you’ll walk further and be healthier too.
Personally I have to be a bit more flexible with my working space and I also wanted to be able to work out exactly what heights things would be comfortable at. So I hacked a quick and dirty prototype of a standing desk that can easily be folded down when I want to sit or when I need to take my entire editing set-up down. Although it looks a bit crazy it is actually very sturdy and takes only 10 seconds to put away completely. The cook books holding up the keyboard crate were added in after a day or two as I found the keyboard slightly uncomfortable. A couple of inches made all the difference.
Quick Tips for Working At A Standing Desk
Having been working in standing mode for the past few weeks I can definitely recommend it. Not only does it help you stay more focused, and therefore more productive, but you don’t feel as sluggish towards the end of the day. That said I would also recommend moving between sitting and standing throughout the day, as extended periods of standing still aren’t that great for you either, health wise.
Even though you’re standing you still need to take breaks away from the computer to avoid being too glassy eyed by the end of the day. I previously blogged about a really useful Mac Widget that helps me take breaks at regular intervals.
Lastly if you are going to invest in a standing desk it is definitely worth making some kind of prototype before you invest in an IKEA hack, or a super fancy standing desk like this one (above) from Updesk. Hack-wise you really need to test out what heights are most comfortable for you, and make the most ergonomic sense !
Why Sitting Is Killing You
The following graphic (courtesy of MedicalBillingandCoding) illustrates just how bad sitting, day in and day out, is for your body. This should be a bit of motivation to start thinking about a standing desk alternative!