It's a tolerably good desk, except that it's a bit small and, while it's veneered to look like plywood, it's actually made of pasteboard with a laminate veneer (that was a big disappointment when it arrived).
I would like to make my own soon, as I've been getting into woodworking, at which point I will probably sell or give the safeco away.
A few points about standing desks:
* You should be able to stand all day. At first you will get tired, of course. I found that muscles in my back, butt and thighs were getting very sore, but that goes away once they toughen up. For that reason, I don't particularly see the point in desks that convert from sitting to standing. It seems like that would just encourage people to start "cheating" and going back to sitting the moment they get a little tired.
* I tend to rock from foot to foot, kick my feet around, etc, while standing. A big part of the advantage of a standing desk is that you move around more, but if I were in an open-plan office I'd probably try to stand still, which would tire my feet out quickly and give me less of the movement advantage.
* You need good support for your feet. Either purchase very nice shoes or (like me) get something like this:
With it, my monitors are about a foot off the top of the desk, while the keyboard is at exactly the right height for my arms. Since I look straight forward all day long now, my posture has improved dramatically.
I entirely agree with you, excepting for your comment about shoes. In most circumstances, the best way to avoid foot problems is not to "buy better footware/orthotics" but rather to strengthen your feet.
If you are skeptical, look into the "minimalist" running movement. There is quite a bit of research which suggests that the human foot is itself a better support system than any external aid. The problem is that, living as most people do, their foot muscles have atrophied.
Thank you for the pointer to that ergonomic diagram - I hadn't thought about the requirement that the wrists be about level with your elbows, but it makes sense that you want to keep your wrists straight and avoid stress.
In my case I simply adjusted the height of the desktop and the monitor separately until it felt right and ended up with exactly what's in the diagram. But the various hacks I see aren't adjustable enough to take an experimental approach.
Desk hackers take note of the parent comment! Measure your elbow height and eye level and build accordingly!
A good parallel to typing is playing classical piano, where the hands are lifted, and a straight line can be projected through the wrist to the elbow.
Resting the wrist or elbow on some sort of extension is what causes the strain. The trick is building the strength to hold up your hands and arms (maybe take up piano ;) ) without becoming tense in your shoulders and back. All of this follows from having a good posture.
You really shouldn't support the weight of your arms using your wrists or forearms.
If you're standing with proper posture, your upper arms are nicely aligned with the body, and your muscles should easily support the minimal weight of your forearms.
Edit: incidentally, as I'm experimenting with a standing desk, I have a stool which is about a foot too low to stand on. I do, however, find myself using it to accomplish all sorts of odd leg positions and stretches.
Right, but I mean is it good to support your arms with your elbows in the same position for hours to possibly years? I didn't mean for fatigue. It just doesn't seem to me (as a layman) as if any of our joints would appreciate that over the long-term.
Supporting your forearms in a neutral position using your musculoskeletal should be much, much better for you than by using external pressure on your forearms or (worse) wrists. It's really very, very little weight, and certainly no strain on the elbows.
Keep in mind that you aren't typing or mousing all the time. In a standing position, I find that I'm much more likely to drop my hands by my sides, or cross my arms when thinking, than I am when sitting at a desk.
If you are interested in ergonomics, don't use a laptop keyboard in your office; not on a desk, or on a chair on a desk.
There's simply no way to use the laptop keyboard, and have the screen at the right height.
Use the laptop to drive your big display, and connect your keyboard and mouse to it.
The ergonomics of a laptop alone are bad.
Its great to have a laptop for travelling, but if you care about your body, use a better setup for your office.
I didn't know "cool guys are coding standing these days". I had never even imagined much less heard of someone working in an office in a standing position. So I thought I was just crazy but did this myself some time ago.
I don't know why; I think I wanted to be in a natural, straight stance when coding instead of sitting in some semioptimal position. I'm 196cm tall so I have never really had a table and chair that was made to fit my measures. I've had various ergonomic tables but they just don't cut it for a man with my height.
I work from home and simply upgraded my working table myself. It is a nice wooden table with lathed legs that you could screw into the corners of the table top. I simply went to the hardware store, lost 30 euros and came back with a total of 480cm of lathed wood of the same diameter. And after a bit of sawing and drilling I had four 120cm pieces that I could replace the old legs with: total time one hour, including the trip.
I've adjusted the height a few centimeters since that so as to get the table truly optimal to my personal height and now I'm fine. I must say that was the best 30 euros I've ever spent, I already notice that my abdominal and back muscles are stronger, and I naturally revert to a better stance even when not at my desk.
And I haven't had any back problems from getting stuck in the same position for too long, since I constantly move around when standing at my desk.
It is cool, actually. (The table, not me necessarily.)
One problem with this setup is that your hands are not at elbow level.
You want a separate keyboard that you can put on a piece of wood or a book or whatever, so that the screen is level with your eyes (when in perfect posture) and the keyboard is level with or slightly below your elbows (when in perfect posture).
eh, the "Lows" across the street and the "home depot" down the way both cut far more precisely than I can manage on my own. It's not going to be to micrometer precision, but when working with the mostly green wood those places sell, nothing ever is. The stuff changes shape as it ages anyhow.
It's probably better than what you can do as an amateur with cheap tools, and it's probably good enough for a project such as this. Of course, if you actually know what you are doing and have reasonably good tools, you can do better, but for those of us who just want to knock something together, my experience has been that the lumberyard cutting services are just fine.
The problem is not the position but the length working in the same position. Whatever position.
If you stand the whole day, your legs will suffer (ask people working in shops); in the long run you will have "heavy legs" issue. You may lower the effects with a proper setup of your bed (feet should be 2-4 cm higher).
The only real solution:
* A good physical activity: cardio + strengthening the muscle for "body protection".
* Streching all the muscle groups.
A while back I bought one of those "lap desk" things that you're supposed to use while you're sitting on a couch or a bed for supporting your laptop. I found that if I stuck it on a normal desk it was the perfect height, and even has a reading light, plenty of room for an external mouse and a place for me to put my coffee in the morning. Highly recommended... Here is the one I bought if anyone is interested:
It's a bit of a hack, and I was made fun of a fair amount around the office when I first started using it, but I like it a lot. I think I got mine on sale at the time for $19.95. It's certainly a more "elegant" solution than sticking a chair on top of a table, and doesn't require any woodworking skills.
I love working this way. My best coding is done barefoot and standing. As far as getting tired goes, in my experience it doesn't take long to adjust. Do be warned, however, that after you become accustomed to standing with good posture, it can be somewhat torturous to sit for extended periods of time.
The keyboard height isn't 100% optimal for my height though and it would be nice to have the monitor 1-2dm further back. Other than that, feels great when you have adjusted to standing up.
+ You can really feel your back muscles growing and getting stronger after a few weaks (at least if unexcercised before).
+ Now I can walk around from when I wake up to when I go to sleep without getting any aches. (Good for when you're shopping, touristing, hiking, going to conventions, conferences etc.)
+ My body posture is now way better, standing or sitting down.
- When I sit down and need to think a bit and look away from the computer that's what I do. When I'm standing up I find myself walking around aimlessly instead, and suddenly I'm in the kitchen grabbing something to eat. I would say my concentration is better when sitting down.
I've been standing for about two months now. The thing to keep in mind is that yes, it's an improvement over sitting for 8 hours straight, but not a "cure", or something that somehow will save us from the health-related problems of sitting for too long, if all we do now is just stand, also for too long.
Anyway, it's been mostly good for me but I've made adjustments. After a couple of times in which I worked for 12-14 hrs in a day, standing the whole time, mostly with locked knees and not really moving much, one morning I was surprised to look down and see my ankles swollen a bit. I ended up buying a cheap wooden stool, not comfortable for more than 20-30 minutes, so I can now take breaks from standing, sit for a little while then naturally gravitate back to the standing position once that becomes uncomfortable. The stool also conveniently has rests where I can put a leg or foot, then switch, etc. I was probably lucky to find one that is the right height so when I sit I retain the same vertical position in relation to the desk.
I had something similar to the Adjusta Unit in the second link. It was very sturdy and high quality. The adjustable mechanism worked flawlessly. The only problem was the that the unit I purchased was designed to fit in a corner and was HUGE. It would take up far too much space in my current office.
It is just some boxes, but it works reasonably well. Having the screen and keyboard at different heights is key for me.
What I'd really like is a portable, ergonomic standing desk. I've been designing something that can be ratcheted between a couple of trees and provide two stable, adjustable platforms, one for the laptop and one for a keyboard.
While I work standing, I wouldn't ever say that I work "standing still." I'm constantly shifting my weight across one foot or the other, shifting my upper body slightly, etc...
And if you can't stand for more than 20 minutes, I'd check over your posture. There really is a "right" way to hold yourself, and I haven't found many people (in our desk-conditioned culture) who fall into it naturally.
how long do you guys work ? This works for a couple of hours, but I can't imagine how it feels after coding 14 hours. Best could be to change after several hours between a standing and sitting position.
I can't imagine sitting in a chair for 14 hours without even a few 15 minute breaks. You are setting yourself up for neck injury and long term back pain. (Speaking from experience, as someone who used to sit in a chair for similarly long stretches and thought it made him tough. No, it made me stupid.)
motorized table base can be bought for ~500$ ( http://www.tablelegworld.com/Motorized-Table-Legs )and then any spare table top can be attached to these - not that expensive in my opinion - and you get a working thing rather than some book or brick based hack which sucks in the long term