Hello, fellow 2021-ers!
Alright, that’s it for the welcome. Now, straight to business, after thousands of words of ramblings and well-disguised rants from a certain very handsome Japanese person, I’m still not too sure that standing desks are really on people’s mind yet. So, it turns out good looks is not enough…
…well, that also mainly because not many have had the pleasure to read my articles yet, but, alas, that’s besides the point, since indeed working while standing is still a relatively new concept to home office workers or white collar workers in general. Adding to that, what can one man really do but keep on putting out propagandistic blocks of text to inform you about the good effects of products that he deems of great importance to an average human’s health consistency and work efficiency? Albeit, this article takes a more unusual route. In essence, a short guide to help you maximize ergonomics as a standing desk owner or a soon-to-be one, and in that way, help you realize the benefits of it all.
Everyone comes into this world naked and scr… oh wait, wrong analogy. But, I guess not wrong enough that an outside of the box genius of a man can’t connect between the two. Basically, in regards to this article’s subject, what I was about to imply was, making the switch from a normal desk into a standing one is like moving from a safe and cozy environment that you’re used to into a whole new world of different cultures and certainties, like getting an introverted person to become more extroverted. In that new world, one could easily get lost, and in order to adjust, one must spend time and effort to create a guide of survival for himself or get additional help (from an existing guide of survival). As a long-time member of the Normal Desk User Club, that switch was also hard for me as well. Leaving out the process of choosing a standing desk that has a good height, which preferably should have the table surface leveling at or slightly below elbow height while you’re standing, there’s also a cost issue to consider. Most ready-made standing desks can be really expensive, and generally people aren’t ready to make that financial sacrifice just yet for something that can arguably have no effects whatsoever if you choose the wrong type. After you’re done with it all, you then find yourself struggling to find the right materials, or should I say accessories that can mesh really well with a standing desk.
Sitting on your butts for hours on end every day can really kill you – if you’re getting déjà vus, congrats, that means you’ve read one of my previous articles, which means you’re in love with me, so click that subscribe button above and get to read your favourite ranting crazy’s latest hype articles faster than everyone! – and the danger of it has been recognized by many as one of the main issues of working an office job, besides the subtle rage of not getting anywhere near a raise or promotion. Despite that, there haven’t been a lot of offices that adopt the change to standing desks, ignoring the increasingly positive reports of better health both physically and mentally from users in favor of cost-cutting. I mean, I do get it, as switching to standing desks can take a lot of these three things: time (to research and choosing the right combination, a suitable stand up desk get-up), effort (in putting it all together… also in researching) and of course money. And to do it on a company-wide scale, is a whole different ball game. However, if you’re working at home or have a personalisable office, as there are more freedom and less process checking, there are quite a few solutions in relation to saving money and improving your very own standing desk experience and efficiency.
Now I’m still not exactly an expert on standing desks, but as a fellow common man who personally owns one, or should I say “crafts” one, I can give you some good enough recommendations from my past experience, mainly in regards to choosing the necessary accessories that’s without a doubt of paramount importance to improving your gait and posture, as well as presenting some cheaper but quality options that can help you create your own DIY ergonomic standing desk set up.
1. Standing Desk Conversion Kits / Sit-Stand Workstations
Switching to standing desks can be very expensive, especially more so if you go for the quality, top tier and adjustable models. If you’re not ready to fully commit yet to this thing, you’re also certainly not in any way ready to fork over $1000 and up for a branded, commercial designer’s standing desk. But, as human as you are, you want something that you can’t see yourself sacrificing for. And, as in everything, there’s a life hack to it, this time it comes in the form of standing desk conversion kits and sit-stand workstations (sometimes basically the same thing).
I’ve talked plenty about these things within my previous article, so I’ll keep it brief. Standing desk conversions and their friends are basically a middle ground tool bridging the connection between normal sitting desks and full on, height-adjustable, cash chomping standing desks. These conversions and workstations can range from very ancient ones in the forms of tiny, light coffee tables to the fancier pure workstations with adjustable built-in monitor arms and keyboard platforms and all other ergonomically-engineered quirks that come with it.
For light usage, portable converters, besides a plain looking coffee table, the Well Desk is a very good one that you can get. It’s ergo and eco friendly being made from wood, yet still offer a height adjustable system which is both creative and cool looking. Definitely one of the best workstations out there.
As for the classic, ones that are made of steels and mechanical genius, go for the Sit-Stand Workstation by CavTech Ergonomics. What I really like about it is not how sturdy it is, not how highly adjustable it is with plenty of lockable levels to go around, but actually is how, even with all the great features, it’s so intelligently designed that the surface areas and underdesk areas are large enough to hold multiple of stuffs like a normal full-sized working desk, yet still able to be compact when not in use. It’s one of the things that is inherently missed in many products of the same type, and that makes the workstation by CavTech Ergonomics one you shouldn’t miss out on.
2. Mounts / Arms
But why male m… Why computer mounts? Since most mounts are already included in workstations and the likes which I mentioned just right above. The thing is, there are a lot of people who think getting a workstation or a standing desk conversion kit is too much of a hassle, and instead they go for a more DIY looking coffee table, which probably can even be less than what they bargain for in the first place. For starter, because most basic plain standing desk converters can be as simple as a small rectangular piece of wood placing on top of four tiny wooden pillars, and since it’s fixed that way you can’t really adjust it’s height either. People get mad, depressed, cranky because of it’s awful adjustability and eventually telling themselves that standing desks are not proficient tools, or maybe even harmful and entirely useless. Well, although those people are indeed doing it wrong, there’s a way to fix that. Which is as simple as including mounts and arms.
Whether you are using laptops, tablets or monitors, keyboards, anything, being able to adjust them better in terms of height, angles, shift items out of the place or to a more comfortable positions to create additional space for more of your… stuffs is almost invaluable, especially for workaholics who need to be updated on multiple tasks at the same time with the power of technology! Installing mounts and arms onto a fixed converter or even a normal desk will increase it’s adjustability enormously and make everyone happy. And, arguably, aesthetically, desks with extra mounts or arms can give their owners a professional businessman aura as well as helping them fit in with the tech savvy, cool auto-lacing shoes wearing kids of the 2010s.
There are a lot of good options regarding installable mounts and arms but personally I’d recommend the Halter Dual LCD Monitor Desk Mount or VIVO Single Monitor Workstation/Mount. They are multi-purpose, sturdy and highly adjustable with cheap enough pricing relatively.
3. Anti-fatigue / Standing Mats
Sitting too much for long periods of time can have some disastrous effects, however the same thing goes if you stand too much as well, especially in one position, with various of reports of health problems including varicose veins, swelling in lower limbs, circulatory problems and other kinds of tiny pains that can be annoying. This happens because of the surface material we stand on, which ranges from wood to concrete, even if covered in carpets can still be quite unsatisfying. To deal with this it’s recommended that you keep moving your feet about, but even that still might not help and might be distracting to your work. That’s when you know you need standing mats.
So, the tricky thing here is, you want to both move your feet constantly and stop the act itself from distracting you from working. Standing mats offer you exactly that, they help alleviate pressure on the joints and muscles that comes from standing for a prolonged period of time, as well as minimizing other body pains on your back or feet, many kinds of aches. The product’s designed so that when standing on it your body can be just slightly off balance, involuntary adjusting it’s position constantly and still standing in place. It prevents the action itself from becoming distracting.
It might seem that there are many variations and choices when it comes to standing mats, and while that’s true, personally I very much like the ones from VARIDESK and Standee for their durability as well as the ability to cradle your feet at the same time with their cushioned support, so check them out if you don’t know where to start.
4. Desk Chairs
To help with preventing negative effects from standing too much, besides a standing mat, you can also get yourself a standing desk chair. Is it ironic sounding, though? Definitely not.
For those who doesn’t own a ready-made adjustable standing desk and not ready to spend to do so, this is the right product to get. Standing desk chairs, essentially, are tall chairs that help you with alternating between the standing position and sitting position much easier without plenty of effort spent or getting your work interrupted too much in the process. Having a standing desk chair offer you a chance to change positions similarly to how the standing mats do, except you can get more rest and relief throughout your entire body for aching, tired joints and muscles. Some chairs in my 10 Best Ergonomic Chairs for Neck Pain article are suitable for this kind of stuff as they’re mostly height adjustable, however, they also can be very pricey. Boss Office in my opinion offers a lot of cheaper and quality options regarding ergonomic chairs and that include standing desk varieties, or you could also get a fixed one that suit your and your desk’s height.
5. Foam Rollers
These things might look like something taken out of 50 Shades of Grey movies, however, they’re not in any way affiliated with keywords such as “Horrible”, “Crap”, “So bad it’s awful” or things like that, quite the opposite really. In essence, foam rollers can be referred to as another type of footrest but in cylindrical tubes shapes, yet they are very much different in that they can do much more, as their main usage is that of a pain-relieving exercise tool. It’s simple looking yet just as necessary as all of the other accessories, for it’s ability to allow you to improve the flexibility and function of your muscles, especially the ones in your ankle, calf and leg, keep you feeling nice and dandy through your working hours.
There exist many variations of foam rollers on the ergonomic products market, for example some are designed to have bumps or ridges on the surface to offer more footrest-like properties, while others are just plain tubes of foam that are round and smooth enough to roll around, no puns intended. Many exercise foam rollers are also good enough for placing under your foot as you work while standing, so getting them you can basically shoot two birds with one stone… if you’re addicted to exercising that is. It’s recommended that you get a high-quality, durable and extra firm roller though so it doesn’t lose it’s shape after high usage, and these usually range upwards of $20. If you’re ready to fork it, RumbleRoller ones are a very good textured type especially if you have deep aches, as it’s designed to be highly proficient in helping with back pain when used as a product for exercises, having extra stiffness it can detect and get into trigger points better than most foam rollers.
For basic foam rollers, as implied, over usage can cause it to lose it’s effectiveness, or rather roundness, however if you have a tight budget and decide to get it anyway the ones from LuxFit are very good for it, both the regular and speckled versions. The foam is sturdy enough to get in there and massage your muscles, yet is not so soft that it can be rendered useless after being used a lot. Although in terms of basic ones it’s pretty much the wild wild west but definitely check out the LuxFit models.
These five accessories above are what I consider to be the main keys in turning a normal desk user into a standing desk addict. They are not necessarily must-haves, as there are many alternatives you can use in place of them such as a full-sized adjustable standing desk, step stools, basic footrests, even elliptical trainers and many others, so it might depend on your own preferences a lot as of course ergonomic tools in general can be subjective at times. However, as you go down the rabbit hole of standing desk set ups and become lost, I do really think that a right combination, or even any combination of the 5 above can really help you get an easier head start in this relative new and niche trend..