Are you looking for a standing desk alternative for your desk space at home or office? Tired of sitting all day? That was me several months ago.
When I was a high school teacher I used to stand all day long. When I quit teaching, I found myself sitting a whole lot more – sitting to write blog posts, sitting to prepare messages for my church youth group and sitting during staff meetings. I began to notice that I was becoming fatigued and my back was hurting. Evidently all the standing I had done as a teacher had kept me fitter than I thought.
So I started looking into a standing desk for my office. Most of what I ran across in my initial search was pieces of furniture – an actual desk that was higher than normal. I thought that would be OK but didn’t really find anything I liked.
Then I stumbled across Varidesk, a company that makes an adjustable standing desk (really best described as an adjustable platform) that sits on top of traditional desk furniture. It’s unique design allows you to work sitting at your desk. When you are tired of sitting, you can adjust the platform upwards to stand and work. You can see videos at the company website on how that adjustment happens.
I was impressed after reading many positive reviews. The vast majority of people loved the product and raved how it had changed their work habits. More energy, less back pain and an increased level of alertness were all things I heard reported.
My Standing Desk Experiment
Still I wasn’t sure how I would enjoy standing during work. I thought I’d be physically fine. I just didn’t know if I’d like it. So I decided to conduct a 2-week experiment by creating my own standing desk.
How did I do it? Well, it was actually pretty easy. I just looked around the house to find a sturdy box that was about 18-24 inches in depth. I figured that would be about how high I might have to adjust the Varidesk based on how tall I am.
After looking for a bit, I settled on this gem – an old Huggies box we had stored away in the attack. So for the next two weeks, I carried this to and from work, and placed my computer on top of it like you see in the picture to the right. Kind of goofy looking to say the least.
But you know, it worked. I realized I didn’t mind standing while I worked on my computer. I’d recommend you do something like this before purchasing any standing desk. It will help you understand what it’s going to be like.
With my experiment behind me I went ahead and purchased a Varidesk standing desk – the 48” Pro Series Model.
Varidesk Pros and Cons
I’ve had my standing desk for several months now and absolutely love it! Believe it for not, I now stand for about 90% of my work day. I’ve adjusted so well to standing and working I don’t want to sit down. It’s been that easy of a transition for me.
The Pro Series models come in 30, 36 and 48 inches. As you can see from the picture below it has a flat top which is perfect for a laptop computer. The price ranges from $375, $395 and $495 respectively. I chose the 48-inch model so I could have the maximum desk area possible.
I’m routinely spreading out books and binders next to my computer as I study and work. As you can see from the picture above, there is plenty of space for that. With this model, I could put another monitor on the left side and still have enough space for books and papers.
There are levers under the open spaces that you see to the right and left on the top portion of the Varidesk. You reach under the opening and release a lever to move the desk up and down. Although the desk itself is heavy, the platform adjusts up and down with ease. My 13-yr. old son can move it with no problem.
You can click the desk into various heights depending on how tall you are. I’m 5’11” and don’t have to raise the desk to its maximum height. I have read that some taller users can’t raise it high enough. From what I see, it should adjust to a comfortable height for anyone up to at least 6’4”.
The platform itself is sturdy. I don’t find it shaking when I type on my computer. I can lean on the standing desk without it tipping over. In fact, that’s the posture I find myself in a lot when our church worship pastor comes to talk. I just place my elbow on the desk and stand there while we chat.
When the platform is collapsed, it doesn’t go all the way down to the main desk level. It can’t because that is the design of the Pro Series. There is a 3-4 inch gap between the top of your desk and the top of the Varidesk. That could cause a problem if you want to sit down and do not have a chair that raises to an appropriate height. You will be reaching up slightly to type on your computer which will feel awkward.
I have an L-shaped desk. When I want to sit I just move my laptop to the other portion of my desk. But for people in a cubicle who don’t have an alternative desk space the height of the Pro Series desk in the lowered position will be something to work around. (I tried once to raise the Varidesk all the way up and put my laptop in the area underneath it. It was doable but not preferable. You also may be able to place a keyboard underneath between the two areas but I have not tried that.)
You should not have this problem with some of the other series. For example, the Pro Plus Series has a keyboard tray area that is mounted below the top desk area. When collapsed, the keyboard will rest on the top of your desk furniture and you will be able to rest your hand normally when you type. Also it looks like Varidesk has come out with a new product called the Varichair. It looks like this may be their attempt to address this height issue with the Pro Series.
These desks aren’t cheap but then again most of what I found with the typical free standing desk wasn’t either. It came fully assembled. All I had to do was take it out of the box and put it on my desk.
I would recommend getting a rubberized mat to stand on, especially if you have a hardwood floor. Varidesk sells three types of these. I purchased the 36-inch mat for $60. It doesn’t slide on my floor when I’m standing and provides generous amounts of cushion. If you think you will stand most of time, I’d consider this a must. It was well worth it.
Keep in mind though you will have to store this mat when you are not using it. Again for me it’s not a problem. When I’m not using my standing desk, I just slide the mat under the desk and it’s not in the way.
I’d highly recommend Varidesk to anyone looking for an alternative to sitting at work. I have found my back does not hurt as much. My body has adjusted to standing and I feel less fatigued during the day. Standing is also a great way to beat the drowsiness that so often comes after lunch. It has been such a pleasant surprise I’m thinking about getting one for our office space at home.
Varidesk has many options so you should be able to find the type of standing desk to suit your unique needs. They have ones for those who use keyboards, those who have a cubicle and those with limited space. Conduct your standing experiment first to see if you’ll like it. If so, then this could be a great route to take.
Questions for Discussion: Do you use Varidesk or some other form of standing desk? If so, how is your experience with it? Do you enjoy standing and working? Do you suffer from any back pain because you sit all day? Anyone else get drowsy after lunch around 2 pm?
Images courtesy of Varidesk.com and Luke1428.com