Hacking the Standing Desk Revolution: A Little Bit of Ingenuity and Zero Dollars
July 28, 2015
By Hannah Cui, Senior Associate, Research & Consulting
In the past few years, standing desks have become a prominent trend in the workplace. Headlines such as “Sitting Kills You, Even If You Exercise” have been popping up all over the media, alerting office-working people of their predicaments and fueling the popularity of standing desks. Here at Sachs, my colleagues Geoff Parsons and Katie Nelson were the first to take action, experimenting with buoy chairs and cardboard box setups. Katie eventually landed on the Readydesk desk stand (you can read about her journey here). Having had issues sitting still in one place since pre-school, I have also been a victim of the sitting-down-slump since joining the adult workforce. I constantly felt fat and weighed down, my lower back and legs would hurt, and I often found it hard to focus (common problems.)
Not too keen on feeling terrible about myself day-in and day-out, I tuned-in to potential desk alternatives, especially on Kickstarter, and general online reviews on peoples' positive experiences. The options out there are abundant, creativity unbounded. There is the electronically adjustable StandDesk ($399-$500+), the chair occupier StorkStand ($199), the Charigami cardboard origami desk ($95), and of course stands like the Readydesk ($170). And then there are DIY approaches such as setting up a mini desk on top of a desk ($22). That is, if I wanted to spend time assembling IKEA furniture in the office…no thanks.
Evaluating the options I had come across and observing Katie’s usage of her Readydesk, I figured out the kind of setup I would want for myself: computer screens at eye level to relieve the neck, keyboard at waist level to relieve the shoulders, desk space for writing and a mug.
Then, on a rather normal day of sitting at my desk, I thought, “What if my desk were just a few inches taller, then it would effectively be a standing desk.” I stood up, hovered my hand at the height it would need to be for optimal ergonomics for me, and that’s when my eye filled the gap: bed risers. The 7-inch Bed Bath & Beyond Extra Tall Bed Lifts I used to boost my dorm bed for extra storage space in college would be perfect to boost my desk for extra height.
I brought them in the following week, set it up, and brought my laptop dock and computer screen to be eye-level with recycled cardboard boxes. I also incorporated a barstool chair lying around the office that, when sitting, kept my eyes level with my screens. And voila! My desk became exactly what I needed. It was ergonomic, I had desk space, I could sit without moving my laptop, and best of all, it cost me nothing.
Several colleagues came by to “oo” and “ahh” at my desk, especially at the simplicity of the setup. Because of the buzz it created around the office, our Operations and Community Manager then went on to purchase some bed risers for others to try. (Hey, they’re only $14.99 a set, still cheaper than the IKEA DIY option and no screwing or nailing needed - although I should note that it's not a solution for everyone depending on your individual standing height.) This solution proved to be effective, easily adoptable, and inexpensive. And I’m happy to report my lower back no longer hurts.
Have you thought about trying a standing desk but couldn’t afford the options you find? Try out using bed risers and let me know what you think! Or, even better, do you have a setup that trumps mine? I would love to hear about it. Leave your comments below!
Designs By Lisa Vissichelli, Digital Designer
Edited By Gina Gioldassis, Operations & Communications Coordinator
Social Media by Janine Walsh, Operations & Community Manager