David Gonzalez

Android Software Craftsman

One Month Using a Standing Desk

Why not? That’s what I said to myself. After reading a lot of interesting posts and information about standing desks I decided to give it a go. It can’t harm, right? I mean worst case scenario one could just lay on one of the couches around the office and rest. Now, after one month using a standing desk I can’t be clearer about it, I’m not sitting anymore.

U sure? That’s really tiring, isn’t it?

When I started thinking about it I was very sceptical, wasn’t sure about it at all. The sole idea of standing the whole day was not pleasant, it was all too tiring.

I’ve been sitting around since I can recall, that includes all kinds of physical and not physical activities: eating, drinking, studying, reading and obviously, programming. Yes, we all stand up for our daily standup (yes, you are supposed to stand up in stand up meetings) but after that one quickly returns to the comfortable chair. That’s where we drink our coffee, lay towards a side or if you are lucky enough to have one of those chairs, you can even lay back and make it look like you are really thinking about something meaningful.

That was my case, the lucky one. It also means that my back was already getting the so-familiar shape of this guy:

I know, you also have it don’t you? Well I’ve always had it and that’s one of the reasons why the standing desk looked like a good idea.

So I decided to give it a go. When making a development proposal at Novoda we tend to show three different scopes:

  1. MVP or Minimun Viable Product: That’s the minimun set of feature a client can expect to satisfy the business requirements.
  2. MDP or Minimun Desirable Product: Takes 4 to 6 more sprints to complete, has all the features in the MVP, some exciting new ones and some really nice UI/UX improvements.
  3. WOW: This is something worth featuring at Google Play, there is nothing like this in the market and all your competitors will be jealous of this product.

Minimun viable product or MVP

So I went on a mission. What’s the MVP for a standing desk?

As the name indicates, a standing desk requires the individual to be standing. Ideally your eyes would be at the same height as the screen and your arms should type the keyboard comfortably enough for 8 hours in that position.

Yes, those are delivery boxes. A nice set of 4 delivery boxes, one for the screen, one for the laptop, another one for the keyboard and the last one for the mouse. All very ecological and environmental friendly

I worked that way for two weeks, trying to figure out if I actually liked this whole thing of standing. And I have to say, the result was a complete surprise for me. After one week I could develop ten times faster, my productivity increased 100% and I always arrived on time… hell no… I freaking hated it! My feet were hurting the whole afternoon, the lunch break was indeed a break which my body used to rest and at the end of the day I was tired, really tired.

So, the whole thing was actually working! No one should be tired of standing 9 hours, I’m sorry to break your bubble but no, that’s not normal nor healthy.

Minimun desirable product or MDP

The proof of concept was successful, it worked but it could also be improved enormously. After a few days the boxes under the keyboard and the mouse started to collapse and the posture was starting to get compromised. It was time to start thinking about new design iterations.

Searching online one can found a huge amount of useful information and links about building or buying a standing desk. Finally, I decided that my next move would be building my own based on this.

It’s a pretty decent solution, €25 from Ikea in Berlin.

Some improvements

After a while the wrists started to feel a bit weird. The position had changed a bit compared to what I used to have in the MVP version and wasn’t feeling very comfortable. So after searching online I found the best possible solutions, a Wrist Pad and a Mouse Pad. The Grifiti wrist pad may be almost as expensive as the whole standing desk but the fact that it’s higher than the rest of wrist pads out there made it the perfect choice. I’m using a Filco mechanical keyboard (if you haven’t tried one you should) and the hands position wasn’t very pleasant until the wrist pad was there.

After all, adding the pads to the total cost we are talking about €50 for the whole thing. Considering that we spend between 9 and 10 hours a day sitting / standing in our desks I’d say it’s pretty affordable.

The conclusion

So it’s been almost over a month and the results are great. It’s not easy at the beginning, it’s normal to get tired and feel that it’s not worth it. I discovered that my shoes actually were not confortable at all, standing 9 on Converse may be very hipster but definitely not the best you can do for your feet health.

Once you survive to the first week you’ll start noticing how you tend to stand more and sit less, and not just in the office. One morning I suddenly found myself having breakfast while standing… that was too much but it’s just an example that how natural it all can result in the end.

If you try it please do let me know and if you have any other cool ideas / tips to make a better standing desk do share them too.