A Month with a Standing Desk

A little over a month ago I hacked together a makeshift standing desk. I had read quite a bit about them and given the benefits I wanted to give it a go. After just a few days, I knew I wanted something more permanent. I started doing research on how to build my own since all the existing standing desk options were completely out of my price range.

I wanted something that would free up some space in my office. I wanted it to look nice. No unfinished lumber or plastic. I also needed to make up for the fact that I would be losing roughly 24 square feet of desk space. The first thing that came to mind was some sort of wall mounted shelving.

I went to the hardware store and started looking around at what was available. I figured worst case scenario is that I end up with a few holes in my wall that I can patch if it doesn't work out. I started out with 2 4ft dual track rails, 2 36" shelves, and the appropriate brackets and hardware.

This was enough to get a shelf for my keyboard and mouse and a shelf for my laptop. With my oldest son's help, I mounted the railing on the wall and attached the shelves, adjusting them for the appropriate standing desk height.

This worked out great, but looked unfinished. I don't like things unfinished. I went back to the hardware store and picked up another rail and some more shelves, brackets, and hardware. After all was said and done I ended up with the following finished product.

The first full week with the standing desk was definitely an adjustment. I tried to stand for at least 6 hours during work hours. I still had my office chair and a TV tray close by in case I needed to sit for a bit. The main 2 areas I noticed feeling fatigue were my feet and my back. After just an hour of standing I could start feeling it. It wasn't a painful fatigue. It was an adjustment fatigue. I never felt like I was doing harm to my body.

After the first week, the fatigue took longer to set in. I felt more focused on work and less on the fact that I was standing. I would still sit for meetings or if I just got too tired of standing. But over time, I was sitting less and less. I can't tell if I lost weight because of the standing desk, as some people have claimed. I've been running a lot more lately and yes, I've lost weight. But I can't say it has anything to do with standing.

I find myself moving more while working. Just a simple weight exchange from one leg to the other. Sometimes I prop one leg up like the Vrksasana or Tree Pose and alternate between left and right legs. I also have found that if I'm struggling with a task that is quite complicated, I actually have to sit down. I'm not sure why this is. It could be another hurdle that I will eventually overcome. But once I've completed the task, I'm right back to standing.

People who use a standing desk will tell you that once you do it, you'll never go back to sitting. And I can attest that sitting for long periods of time is now quite uncomfortable. A recent flight to Boston proved that point.

I can't say that everyone should use a standing desk. I would say don't be afraid to give it a try. Hack something together like I did and see how it works. But you really need to give it a few weeks before you decide if it is for you or not.