Standing Workstation

Constantly aware of the fact that I will one day succumb to being an adult, a topic recently entered my periphery, worked it’s way into my thoughts and gestated it’s way into a full on obsession. Being a 24 year old, 6 foot plus human being, I am increasingly more aware of the fact that my poor habits are going to take a toll on my body someday. So, when I was listening to the Tested podcast the other day (highly recommended if you’re interested in tech and other geekery) and the topic of standing workstations came about– I took notice.

I’ve heard the argument for standing vs. sitting at your workstation before, but it didn’t really take a hold of me until the other day. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I’m spending so much energy trying to become more healthy lately, but it really stuck in my brain the whole rest of the night at work after the topic came up. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense; it would be healthier and it could save a bunch of space in a room that is desperate for space.

I have a giant unwieldy desk in my room that holds my two monitors, a PC tower, a PS3, speakers, etc. It’s got a weird shape, it’s low quality wood, and the terrible design of it makes it almost useless trying to use it for writing or doing homework on the desk surface itself. Directly next to the desk and occupying the rest of my wall space on that side of the room is a digital piano that ends up often as a storage place for junk, with a guitar amp and various other gear below it. My room isn’t very large as it is, so that all takes up a lot of room. I still have a queen sized bed and a dresser that are stealing the rest of my room. What this standing workstation idea will allow me to possibly do, is get rid of that shitty computer desk altogether and in it’s place put my dresser, and on top of the dresser, an addition to which my computing will be done on.

Let me illustrate with a pair of images that I hope are the absolute worst quality things that ever grace this blog. First off: the trial desk I have constructed using various items to allow myself to see how comfortable or uncomfortable standing while computing is:

That is indeed a Spongebob Squarepants mousepad and a DVD boxset of Seinfeld acting as the stand for my monitor. I am currently using my netbook attatched to one of my monitors to give myself an idea of how it will work. So far, it’s been very comfortable. Being tall, my desk is too low to the ground for me and it causes me to sit hunched over to use it properly (even more so because I don’t have enough money to buy a proper computer chair with adjustable height) anyway. This setup just works better for me I think. I am going to give it a couple of days to make sure I don’t despise it, but I’m feeling pretty good about it thus far even though I am admittedly only about 4 hours into the trial.

If I do like it, the current set up just won’t do, obviously. I don’t pretend to be much of an interior designer, but it’s quite a mess. That’s why I have begun to draw up ideas for what I think a finished product might look like. Enter crappy image number 2:

Here are the rough dimensions I am working with, and what I think would be a decent setup to work with. My main worries are stability. I think the stand and desk itself would be easy enough to build, but I’m not sure if hard mounting the stand to the dresser is a tenable idea seeing as it’s not technically mine. I’m hoping that the legs, however I decide to build them will be sturdy enough and that the weight of the monitors and other things will be enough to keep it in place. As long as the wobble is negligible and me tripping in the morning isn’t enough to send hundreds of dollars of equipment crashing to the floor, I will be satisfied.

I am kind of set on building because desks, standing workstation desks in particular, are stupidly expensive. I’ll let everyone know how it goes. If anyone has a great advice to give out to someone that’s considering standing workstation, toss it my way. I’ve done a ton of reading over the last 2 days, but there’s always some weird quirk that never makes it into those kinds of articles.

Here is a nice link on the pros and cons of standing workdesks: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/05/ditch-your-office-chair-for-a-new-standing-desk/