Healthy Working : Standing-Desk Edition

Are you sitting comfortably?

… I hope that you won’t be for long.

At the start of the year I decided to make a concerted effort to work in a more health conscious manner. No gym promises, or exercise targets, my plan was to aim low, and to endeavour to form some small habitual improvements which would hopefully work like compound interest, and give noticeable long term benefits.

Step 1, was to get an exercise bike, and to gently cycle while emailing, or watching TV or reading. I wrote about it here: Get-fit-while-working, and as of August ’14, I’ve ridden 450 miles, all generally at a slow steady pace.

Step 2 was to get a sit-standing desk, which arrived a few weeks ago:

2014 08 06 Varidesk

I’ve been considering buying a standing-desk for some time. During my years at Adobe, when I visited our US offices, they pretty much all had lovely big, electric sit/standing desks. On my return, I would look into the costs, and had to shelve the plans when the ticket price was typically upwards of £1000, and for items which were physically very heavy and hard to fit in to my relatively modest home-office. In recent years I’ve been tracking a few desks on eBay, and had found a couple in the £600 region, but which either had considerable shipping costs, or required me to pick them up, and which were unlikely to fit even into our family estate car.

Then James Morris tweeted:

After tiny amount of research, it looked like the perfect compromise, as this desk from Varidesk just sits on top of your existing desk, and can realistically be moved around on my own, and transported without needing a transit van. At £350, the cost would have seemed rather high, had it not been for the pricing levels of the other desk I had been previously considering. So I impulsively hit the buy-button, and placed my order.

The one I bought was the Varidesk Pro Plus ( ) and at that time using the code “freeship” gave free shipping, and I received my desk less than 36 hours after purchasing.

I’m a few weeks into using it now, and can comfortably manage around 6 standing hours a day, though when I rest in the evening, I can certainly feel it in my body that i’ve been more active during the day.

Some friends also asked if I could show what it was like to raise the desk in the real-world, and so I made this short video of me using it:


N.b. Another recommendation from that exercise was to keep a log of activity undertaken. I use a simple Google Spreadsheet, and set up calculations to give monthly and yearly running totals – I was often pleasantly surprised to find that in a month I had covered more distance than I had imagined, which continued to spur me on to fit in 15-20 minutes whoever I could.