Work’s getting busier which means more time writing at my desk, so I’m thinking about buying one of those stand-up desks to help combat long-term lower back pain (along with various other measures). Has anyone got or used such a desk? Any useful experiences to share, or tips? Brands to look for or brands to avoid? Thanks v much for any advice.
I have the IKEA one at home, which is about as cheap as motorized standing desks get at £445. It’s sturdy enough, has a 10 year warranty including the electric bits and goes from too low to get my legs under to plenty high enough for the very tall to stand at.
If you’re going to sit/stand then a monitor that has an adjustable height stand is a godsend, you generally want it higher when standing.
Anti-fatigue mats are a good idea if you plan to use one all day.
I have some developer colleagues (in a different office) who are all into it now. They tried the cheap and easy versions (IKEA LACK table plus a shelf, or similar) to see how they got on before committing more.
I found (for the short time I used an electric one) that I need to significantly adjust the height and position of my monitor compared to seated position. I think its a result of being quite tall and generally look down on things (metaphorically and physically 😀 ) when standing, compared to looking more level when slouched in a desk chair. EDIT; seems im the opposite to the poster above!
This is great info everyone, thanks a lot and keep it coming. Are people using these desks to avoid aggravating existing back problems? My set-up is very simple: iMac with wireless keyboard and mouse. I’m basically just browsing online and typing for my work. I’m 5′ 10″.
I’m 6ft 1, just checked the heigt, its too low by about 150mm, which is about the size of a monitor riser. Our monitors are non height adjustable.
I would use one for health benefits, sitting down for 7-9 hours a day doing design work/CAD is no good for anyone. I have no back issues or any other problems. Same goes for my colleague, bought for wellbeing.
Bought one at the start of the year to aid recovery after a herniated disc, I wasn’t prepared to go back to the office and aggravate it by sitting all day so I invested in the cheapest IKEA sit/stand model (with the hand operated crank to adjust the height, none of this la-di-da electric nonsense!) £175 I think.
It’s been great, typically sit in the morning while I eat breakfast, then stand mid morning, sit after lunch and stand mid afternoon till home time. Certainly made a huge difference to my recovery from the herniated disc, felt much better so much sooner.
I think there is a danger thought that standing static for too long can come with it’s own share of aches and pains, I notice my lower back is still quite stiff and I’m currently nursing a suspected tight piriformis, but this could just be coincidence.
Certainly worth experimenting with!
edit: oh yeah, I have both my monitors at maximum height also(i.e. another 350mm off the desk top. I’m 5’11 and wouldn’t want them any lower.
Also using the cheap hand operated Ikea one.. Very happy with it and to be honest I don’t think an electric motor is necessary. It only takes a minute with the hand winder plus its some exercise!
Side note – I spotted a mod someone had done on the web using an old electric drill coupled to the winding handle to make it electric!
I thought that standing would solve all my non-ergonomic slouching tendencies but have realised that I have just as bad habits with standing.. I always end up putting my weight on one leg or the other instead of standing square. I guess this is just as bad for my back as slouching. damn!
Not wanting to sit or stand* 100% of the time, my solution is to have two monitors. One at normal desk height, I use while using the keyboard or mouse full time. And one at eye level while stood up. I use the upper one for things like emails, and documents that I’m reading. That way I alternate between sit/stand, probably about 20 times an hour. The traditional desk, with keyboard, is still usable when stood for things like mouse navigation and small amounts of typing.
*I’m not convinced standing 100% is much better than sitting 100% of the time. I’m sure hairdressers are prone to problems, hence many of them perch on a stool. Varicose veins spring to mind.
I do pretty much the same as Urban Hiker – my desk has 2 Ikea TV tables on top of it. Monitor is upstairs. Laptop connected to the monitor is downstairs. Set up so I can see both screens. I spend most of my time standing. Sit down once in a while to use the laptop instead.
Cost circa £20 instead of £100’s. And less of a faff to stand / sit
I had a total rethink of my working set up last summer, follow a second disc prolapse! Physio told me to sort my life out, or not be able to walk in 5 years time! Massive wake up call at the tender age of 30!
So, as a result, I have electric sit-stand desks at work and home. I bought my home one as wanted a solution asap. I tried bodged solutions for a few weeks, but was getting other pains, like in my wrists etc. Work had to buy me the other one, under government access to work rules. I work for a large university, so they had to cover the first £1000 which actually meant getting them to just pay for it all outright, without getting anyone else involved. If you work for a smaller company (info for anyone) and have a medical issue e.g. disc prolapse, you can get funding to help get you an appropriate desk.
In both locations I have a Conset desk from Lundia in York. They were ~£600 I think.
They have other regional distributors. At that time the IKEA desks were very new in the UK and didnt have great reviews for not being wobbly – but that possibly has changed based on the comments above. My physio now has one!
I find an electronic desk is really really useful – you can adjust it so easily you swap between sitting and standing. As said above, doing 100% of either is not good for you. Department of Health issued guidance last year which suggests 60/40-70/30 standing/sitting each day. Also, it allows for if you have different thickness shoes on and whether you are using an anti fatigue mat (makes a big difference). Tiny changes in height do help.
At work I also have a good lumber support chair. At home I picked up Hag Capisco (in the photo) (not cheap new, keep an eye on ebay). Allows for really varied range of sitting and perching at both lowered and full height – provides really good variation with the desk.
I agree about getting the monitor the correct height. At home mine is on a pile of singletrack mags! At work, the screen has a sliding mount which is a lot easier to adjust between sitting and standing requirements.
To finish things off, I also got an ergonomic mouse (just £15 on Amazon) which has got rid of the RSI’s I picked up when working at my temp ironing board sit-stand set up!
Have to say, a year on from the last prolapse, things are so much better! Haven’t had sciatica for probably 6-8 months!
It takes about 3-4 weeks to get used too, it is quite tiring at first, but I will NEVER go back to not having a sit-stand desk.
Other option is a Varidesk, which goes on an existing desk. Cheaper alternative. However, I can often have a lot of paperwork, or student marking etc and it has a limited work area so avoided it. Also look a bif naff IMOH.
ahsat – thanks loads for this, very informative and helpful indeed, especially with the pics. I’m a regular visitor to York so I can easily check that place out, which is handy. Cheers, and I’m now following you on twitter for bike stuff (hope that’s ok).
Everyone else – thanks again – lots of good stuff here. Think this is a route I at least need to try, even if I discover it doesn’t work for me.
I find changing the position is the most important – if I had a standing only desk I’d be a little reluctant to swap, but being able to raise/lower really is the pony’s cojones.
Wise words here. Ideally change position every twenty minutes if you can, even if it’s just rolling your shoulders and turning to your left and right a couple of times if you are unable to stand. Some people find setting a timer on their phone very useful.
ahsat – thanks loads for this, very informative and helpful indeed, especially with the pics. I’m a regular visitor to York so I can easily check that place out, which is handy.
Give them a call – they are super helpful and had lots of products in their small showroom and really knew their stuff. They did a good price for an in stock model for me, and when I had an issue they got it sorted really fast.
I spent loads of time getting this sorted and doing research. Very happy to pass it on to someone else.
Cheers, and I’m now following you on twitter for bike stuff (hope that’s ok).
Of course – though does tend to be more geography geeking!
Another thing many people find very helpful is standing up every time they make a phone call, even though they inevitably end up sitting back down again to get information from their computer. Although these days the pervasive email is making the humble telephone call a thing of the past!
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