odds and ends from a life under construction

the amazingness of the standing desk

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Spoiler alert: I got a standing desk. Let’s see how it all went down.

The day I arrived back at the office after our vacation, something else arrived at the office as well – my new desk. Standing at work gets lots of press, including a recent article I linked to about how sitting all day can be worse than smoking. In an effort to incorporate more overall wellness into my life, including my life at work, I asked my supervisor if he thought the company would be open to purchasing a standing desk for me to use. When he thought it sounded like a great idea, I began my research in earnest.

An idealized hipster version of my at my future desk, courtesy of Wired Magazine.

An idealized, slightly hipper version of me at my at my potential future desk, courtesy of Wired Magazine.* Illustration by Joel Kimmel.

Our office has a very contemporary, stylish aesthetic. All the desks are a dark wood veneer, with square raw steel legs. A very Room & Board vibe (except ours were custom built and much more affordable; I have a R&B Parsons desk at home, but I couldn’t imagine shelling out for an entire office of them). Unfortunately, most adjustable desk options on the market interpret “modern” in a very different way. My desktop options seemed to be birch or black – no rich brown with a beautiful grain – and my base options weren’t much better. There are beautiful contemporary options out there (including one from Room & Board), but their $2000+ price tags were less palatable than their more desirable aesthetic.

Another category of options that I found but ruled out were the “desk attachment” models like the Kangaroo Pro. Instead of replacing my current desk, these options would attach to or rest on top of my desk and move my computer workstation up and down as needed. While popular (the Kangaroo Pro and other products from Ergo Desktop get especially great reviews), there were two big drawbacks for me. One was how they look – the aesthetics seem more suited to a hospital or corporate environment than the progressive, predominantly digital creative agency I work for. The other was the amount of workspace. If I type all day, having something that just moved my monitor, keyboard and mouse up and down would make sense. But I also take old-school notes in my notebook, access file folders, use multiple monitors, test things on multiple mobile devices at once… having multiple levels of desktop to move between didn’t seem like it would meet my needs.

Enter GeekDesk. Among the nerdy circle I travel in, they’re probably the most common standing desk option. Unfortunately, you don’t get a lot of style options; birch or black for the top, silver or black for the base. I didn’t want to be “that girl” with the desk that didn’t match anyone else’s. But, while browsing around, I discovered the One Desk Option to Rule Them All: The GeekDesk Frame. I could remove the legs from my nice desktop and attach it to the GeekDesk frame, so at a glance it would still match the rest of the office. It would just happen to move up and down. I went with the cheaper “v3” desk frame option vs. the “Max” option since I didn’t need programmable desk positions, and my boss placed the order for a black frame (the silver would definitely have stood out). Easy peasy.

I made the mistake of wearing a dress to work the day I assembled the desk (see above). It was awkward, but I managed to put everything together without any “inappropriate conduct” complaints from my coworkers because they’d been subjected to an unexpected glimpse of my underpants. The desk with motorized legs is much heavier than the desk with static legs, so four of my gentleman coworkers helped me move it into place. And voila! Standing desk! Everyone who visits the office has been treated to a demonstration of the desk’s motor (truly a show-stopper for old-school fixed-desk folk), and I think several other coworkers are contemplating asking for a standing desk of their very own. Which means – I’m saving lives, people.

All in a day’s work.

*Thanks for the image, Wired.

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