Standing Desks

Many years ago, I managed to injure my lower back by catching one of my toddlers when she fell off a climbing structure. I know, I know… why did I do that? Why didn’t I let her learn a valuable life lesson about not hanging on while climbing? All I can say is that Instinct overcame Logic on that fateful afternoon.

Ever since then, I’ve struggled off and on with lower back pain. One of the things that aggravates it most is sitting. Doesn’t matter what chair I use. Ergonomics fail me. Riding in the car, typing at work, reading on the couch… sitting is just one of those things my back doesn’t put up with for long. Even if your back is fine, more and more research seems to indicate that sitting the livelong day away is very bad for health overall.

sitting deskSo I’ve taken to standing for part of my work day. I took a cheap and easy route and created my own “standing desk” by utilizing a laptop desk tray, similar to this one. I put my laptop on top of the tray, and the tray on top of my regular desk. With the tray legs folded so that the tray sits flat, the laptop is at the perfect height for me to work while sitting and type on my regular keyboard. When I want to work while standing, I simply extend the legs on the tray, which raises it up to the perfect height to work on the laptop keyboard while standing. All I need to do is move my mouse up to sit on the tray next to the laptop. It takes seconds to accomplish this maneuver. I set a timer to remind myself to change positions throughout the workday. Inexpensive and easy… two of my favorite things.

standing deskThis solution works well for me because the height of my desk and the height of the tray are perfect for my grand height of 5′ 3″. I measured before I made either purchase.┬áIf you aren’t able to cobble together a solution that fits your height, or are just more in the mood to buy an actual standing desk, there are several options available. I’d recommend looking at them in person if possible, maybe even seeing if a shop will let you test drive one for a day or so, and trying to find one that can adjust to fit various heights and positions. Lifehacker has an article called “The Two Best Standing Desks for Any Budget” that may give you a starting point.

2 Comments on Standing Desks

  1. Logan
    November 17, 2013 at 5:54 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi Diane,

    Bad backs are a difficult obstacle to get over. I don’t folks commonly understand the magnitude of back pain.

    Great solution here. I’ve had a similar set up in the past. My only complaint with this type of set up was that I caught myself subconsciously leaning forward to better see the screen. I am near sighted and although I have corrective lens, this is probably why I need the screen so near my face. Because I need the screen so close, the laptop keyboards always got in the way. I’ve been loving working with a tablet computer. I no longer need external monitors! Tablets make it so easy and alternating the interface between mouse, keyboard, stylus, and touch on the Surface Pro has helped give my wrists and shoulders get some relief as well. Cheers!

    • mrsjones
      November 18, 2013 at 6:43 pm (4 years ago)

      Oh yes… I think until one experiences back pain, it’s not possible to really understand what a negative impact it can have on routine daily activities. I have poor eyesight also, but I’ve found that between my prescription and being able to enlarge the text on the screen in browser windows as necessary, it’s been OK using the laptop screen. I love the portability and compact size of tablets. I can’t wait to try your solution ( for building an adjustable stand for my tablet. : )


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