My latest at ProfHacker: Hacking an “Adjustable” Standing Desk
Standing desks aren’t exactly a new topic of conversation here at Profhacker. Ryan did a series titled “Stand (in the Place Where You Work)” (see Part 1 and Part 2) and has reviewed the GeekDesk Max. The Geekdesk is pretty expensive, though, so it isn’t an option for everyone. Konrad explored a less pricey (and far more portable) alternative when he reviewed the Ninja Standing Desk, and Lincoln pointed us to directions for building your own affordable standing desk.
Many of the comments on these posts shared ideas about building a makeshift standing desk from materials commonly found in the home or office: plastic crates, unused books, boards, etc. They’re good ideas that work well for a lot of people.
But none of them were good solutions for me. I’m not prepared to stand all — or even most — of the time. What I really need is something adjustable. The catch is that the easy “build your own” solutions I’ve seen can’t be adjusted easily, and the commercial options I’ve seen for an adjustable standing desk are all well out of my price range for such an item. I’d just resigned myself to sitting, and to trying to remember to stand up and walk around once in a while.
Then last week a solution that might work at the office occurred to me. I have a laptop for work, and I also have an external monitor. Why not set the monitor and keyboard at standing height, while leaving the laptop itself at sitting height? All I’d need to do is set up mirroring for the displays. Then, any time I got tired of standing at the keyboard and monitor I could just sit at the laptop, and vice versa.
Fortunately, I already had some items in my office that allowed me to set things at the proper heights, as seen in the image above: an old shelf-type stereo that I almost never use anymore to set the keyboard on, plus a monitor riser, portable shelf, and a few unused books to set the monitor on.
I’m only a few days into the experiment, so I can’t yet say with certainty whether the arrangement will work for me long term. But so far it’s going well, and the only downside I can see is that display mirroring means I lose the extra screen real estate I usually get with the external monitor.
Do you find yourself alternating between standing and sitting at your desk? What solutions have you found for switching positions quickly and easily? Let us know in the comments.
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