Your DIY Standing desk – what not to do

Standing desks are still big news. Case in point, The New Yorker recently made a plea to Americans to stop sitting so much, reminding them that the average person sits for 19 hours a day! They’ve seen the light and are hoping to convert dozens of others to the world of standing desks too.

We’ve long been fans of standing up at work. We read with excitement the results of Lifehacker’s readers vote for the best standing desks where the top five included Posture People favourite, the Ergotron.

But as the trend for active working has grown, so has the trend for standing-desk hacks, some of which are fantastic…some of which make us (as ergonomics evangelists) cringe.

If you’re tempted to try and make a standing desk yourself, there are a few things you need to steer clear of. We’ve drawn up a list of 5 things to avoid when building a standing desk along with some of the worst examples of standing desk DIYs on the internet.

#5 Don’t choose a standing desk if your staff aren’t going to use them properly

One employee in an office that implemented them, decided to take a series of photos revealing the truth about standing desks. The photos showed staff working underneath the desk, sitting down whilst staring up at the monitor and using the head of a colleague as an armrest. Essentially, everything you shouldn’t be doing with a standing desk. This is why we always recommend sit-stand desks, where the height can be adjusted by the individual, allowing for periods of sitting and standing as necessary.

#4 Don’t neglect the need for extra accessories

We love this standing desk hack. It looks like it might be adjustable, which is fab, but using the laptop keys would mean the desk is set at elbow height and the user would need to be hunched over to see the screen. Ideally, this desk set up would be on 2 layers, one to hold the laptop with the top of the screen at eye level and one underneath to hold a separate keyboard and mouse.

#3 Don’t wear unsuitable footwear

Yes Victoria, we’re talking to you. High heels put the pelvis at the wrong angle, misaligning the posture. For standing desk users, flats are a must and in some cases, it’s recommended to stand on a mat for extra support.

#2 Don’t stand all the time.

As this standing desk user found out, standing all day when you’re not used to it can have a hidden downside – cankles.

Standing up all day at work can take a bit of practice.  Follow this advice for transitioning to a standing desk then have a read through our 8 tips for standing desk users.

And to conclude, the worst standing desk DIY we have come across so far leads to our final piece of advice:

#1 Don’t balance your laptop on a pile of books….or on top of an ironing board

How is this standing desk hack wrong? Let me count the ways:

  • 1) The set-up is extremely unstable and could topple at any minute
  • 2) The laptop is at completely the wrong height, encouraging a hunched posture
  • 3) There is no separate mouse and keyboard (refer to #4 above) forcing the hands to take unnatural positions
  • 5) See the point we made above about unsuitable footwear. Though we were impressed by the dedication shown and the fact that the writer did lose half a stone after a month of standing up, we would again recommend an actual sit-stand desk. It would be so much more suitable, especially for a journalist who spends a lot of time on her laptop.

Have you created a DIY standing desk of your very own?  Tweet us a picture @PosturePeopleUK or get in touch below, we’d love to see it.

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