by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
awesome stuff, sit-stand desk, standing

Awesome Stuff: Stand While You Work

from the it's-good-for-you dept

As some folks know, I'm a pretty big believer in standing while you work rather than sitting. It takes a little while to get used to, but these days I greatly prefer standing. While the first few weeks are a bit difficult on your legs and (especially) feet, once you get used to it, it's pretty easy. There's definitely been a trend in sit-stand setups lately, so for this week's awesome stuff post, I thought we'd look at three new crowdfunding projects concerning standing desks.
  • First up, is a the StandDesk -- which is a standard sit/stand alternating desk. There are lots of these on the market, though they can get a bit pricey. StandDesk's sole claim to fame seems to be that it's a lot cheaper than the competition -- which is true. It's an automated sit-stand desk going for about $400 (not including shipping). Standard automated sit-stand desks tend to be closer to $1,000 or more. When I switched to a sit-stand setup a couple years ago, I deliberately didn't buy such a desk, because it seemed too expensive. Instead, I retrofitted an existing desk with one of these. But the StandDesk definitely brings the price down.
    It appears people are pretty excited about this cheaper sit-stand desk as it's already raised over $350,000 (much more than its $50,000 target) with nearly a month left to go.
  • I'm always intrigued by people trying something new and different, so the ChairBot certainly caught my eye. It's an attempt to still let people get the best of both sitting and standing, while minimizing the harms. I have no idea if there's any real science behind it, but the idea appears to be to have the chair set at your standing height, and the chair splits in two, with either side going down to remove support from one leg or the other. The end result is that you end up "standing" with one leg while "sitting" with the other. And the ChairBot has a timer, so that every so often, you're prompted to switch. The theory is that you get the better posture associated with standing, but not the fatigue that often comes with it (though, again, I've found that goes away after a short adjustment period). You kind of have to watch the video to understand how this works:
    While new and different ideas may be interesting, that doesn't mean they're compelling. And this one definitely falls into the not-very-compelling camp. Especially at the insane price of $2,700 (which is apparently the "early bird" price before it goes to $3,700!). You'd have to (1) really, really believe that this is a better system (2) have extra money to throw away and (3) trust that this device that you haven't tested would really work for you in order to plunk down that kind of money. So, it's little surprise that almost no one has actually done so. As I write this, only 1 person has signed up, so it seems unlikely that this project will come anywhere near the $100,000 it seeks by the project completion in two weeks.
  • Finally, many people point out that you don't need a fancy contraption to have a standing desk. You can just pile some boxes or a shelf on an existing desk and get basically the same thing. So it's interesting to see someone trying to offer a collapsible desktop riser for exactly that purpose. Of course, I'm confused why this is a Kickstarter project, as there are tons of similar desktop risers on the market, and this doesn't appear to be new or unique in any significant way. Nor does it appear the creator put much effort at all into the campaign. It's one of the rare Kickstarter campaigns that doesn't even have a video. Given that, it's not too surprising that so almost no one seems to be interested in buying one (there's just one backer).
That's it for this week. Stand up and stretch.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    Michael Barclay (profile), Apr 19th, 2014 @ 10:10am

    I can vouch for a standing computer desk

    Many thanks to Mike Masnick for telling me about standing computer desks. I got one three months ago, and my back problems have largely disappeared. The one I got is somewhat more expensive than the two shown in this post, and I'm very happy with it.
    I added one thing to this standing desk that's a lot cheaper and simpler than the "ChairBot" -- a footrest where I can raise and lower my legs from time to time. Office supply stores such as Staples have a big selection.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Parker Mason, Apr 19th, 2014 @ 11:36am

    Simple is best

    I've been using a combination of standing and sitting for the past year, and think simplicity is the best: I put an IKEA Lack table on top of my desk, and it's the perfect height:

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Apr 19th, 2014 @ 11:46am

    To each their own

    I cannot stand without walking for more than a little while due to a back injury suffered many years ago. I prefer a chair with good lumbar support, such as an Aeron.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    KMH, Apr 19th, 2014 @ 1:28pm

    If you want to stand all day...

    go for it, just don't dictate to me that I must stand all day also.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 19th, 2014 @ 5:30pm

    Re: If you want to stand all day...

    go for it, just don't dictate to me that I must stand all day also.

    Has anyone anywhere suggested that?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    sorrykb (profile), Apr 19th, 2014 @ 7:17pm

    Re: Re: If you want to stand all day...

    Has anyone anywhere suggested that?

    I can easily envision some consultant-happy boss deciding it's time to do something managery and decreeing that all employees stand at their desks, because he's heard it's the Next Big Thing. Not that I'm cynical about managers. (Definitely cynical about consultants, though.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    MikeC (profile), Apr 19th, 2014 @ 8:31pm

    Chairbot -- in the real world we call that a bar foot rail

    Standing for long periods of time - you need to move your weight from one leg to another. The Bar Business developed the bar rail for just that reason. To keep folks comfortable at the bar so they would stay. Basically that is pretty much what the chairbot is. You can do the same thing with a couple of wood foot stools or boxes for a lot less than 2700$.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2014 @ 8:39pm

    I Googled

    American Cashiers stand up

    and found the following interesting

    Someone writes

    Why do american cashiers have to stand up?
    Im european and I work in a supermarket. I have to work 10 hour shifts and my work varies from being a cashier to working in the store filling stock. Ive been to america and I see the cashiers standing up everywhere. Why is that ? It doesnt look presentable I think, american cashiers always look grumpy (obviously, they probably have backpain). It isnt resultdriven, because a cashier can work way faster if he/she sits down. Because youre on the same level as the desk, and youre sparing energy. I work almost twice as fast as american cashiers, I scan the products ALOT faster.

    Its not that Im lazy, that I wanna sit on my but, I make alot of miles walking through the store all day carrying boxes. European stores are also result driven, if they catch you standing still or chatting there are consequenses. I dont know, it just seems kinda stupid to me. I dont mind walking, I run 10km a couple of times a week. But standing up STILL, that is just worse than running a marathon I think. Why do americans do that ?? Normal office workers do sit on their but all day right ????"

    Betrand Leon answered 3 years ago

    "I agree. It makes no sense at all. I hope Wal Mart sees this and does something different. Some of those cashiers are old enough to be my grandmother. Why make them work so hard? Some items are very heavy like huge bags of dogfood so those have to e lifted. In some of the big box stores you have to help get large items out of the shopping cart which would mean you would need to stand quite often unless they marked lanes for larger items. This actually may be more efficient. "

    sour peppermint answered 3 years ago

    "Im american and I say its because jobs here like to torture people and treat them like wild animals instead of human beings. We americans have no freedom and no human rights met at all, we are robot slaves mistreated in jobs, specially low paying ones. People get treatment depending on whom they are and what they work in, its prejudiced and unfair. I hate america, I want to move to canada so bad or some other country were we humans are seen as productivity in a respectful way and not just a robotic employee. I asked once why cashiers were not allowed to sit and they say its because they become lazy and fall asleep or feel so comfortable they dont want to get up and service others, therefore they rather have them standing up and be grumpy moody at people and miserable in their feet, like that's going to help,lol."

    Though I notice that if you go to the DMV here in America you see them sitting down. I guess the DMV doesn't need you but you need them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2014 @ 8:40pm

    Re: To each their own

    I think that when you stand you're supposed to move your legs around at least a little to get blood circulation going.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2014 @ 8:47pm


    but I supposed this is the result of a country that has long turned into a dystopic plutocracy. and don't give me this "but .... but ... but ... free market capitalism!!!" nonsense. Unless you've been living under a rock your whole life you should know by now that this country is far from free market capitalistic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2014 @ 10:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: If you want to stand all day...

    "(Definitely cynical about consultants, though.)"

    Doesn't Techdirt make its money consulting? So are you cynical about Techdirt too?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    FauxReal (profile), Apr 20th, 2014 @ 1:26am

    Wow, that stand desk is actually perfect for djing or other tabletop performances. You can adjust your deck height as needed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    John L, Apr 20th, 2014 @ 8:52pm

    Treadmill Desk

    Why just stand up? Why not walk while working? I built a treadmill desk for $500.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Andy, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 8:24am

    Just build something

    I pieced together a riser that I use some of the time:
    Standing Desk Riser

    Also, get a pad to stand on. Well worth the money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 21st, 2014 @ 8:25am

    Standing desks outlawed

    In my workplace, several of the engineers made their own makeshift "standing" desks by piling boxes on their normal desks to raise the working surface. Management told them to stop, citing a fire hazard (not an entirely stupid argument).

    However, their solution was stupid: the rule is that you can have a standing desk if and only if you produce a doctor's note stating that there's a medical need.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. icon
    sorrykb (profile), Apr 21st, 2014 @ 9:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: If you want to stand all day...

    Doesn't Techdirt make its money consulting? So are you cynical about Techdirt too?

    Oh, yes. Terribly so.
    (OK, OK, to be specific, it's management consulting I dread. Best case I've seen: Consultants come in, make the time and effort to understand the organization and its issues, prepare a detailed report and step-by-step plan to makes things work better, and... they leave, the report is filed away forever, and management makes a tick in the "paradigm shifted" box.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Nancy, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 3:57pm

    Standing desk

    I have been using an old "AV" cart for my standing desk. I move freely between the cart and my desk ( laptop is on a moveable stand) and can rest or stand at will.

    The freedom to make that choice when I just don't feel like sitting is a great freedom, one I had never thought about until I created it for myself. Standing all day and sitting all day are unrealistic. Freedom to move is everything.

    You don't have to have an entire industry created over this simple concept.

    Enjoy the possibilities, which, by the way, may not interst everyone in an office situation.

    Freedom Uber Alles!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    JAL, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 7:27pm

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Mike "StorkStand" Goldberg, May 20th, 2014 @ 9:50am

    Great article - some really exciting products for a healthier office!

    I also wanted to mention StorkStand, a new standing desk that we are currently offering on Kickstarter. Our goal is to provide a affordable, mobile standing desk solution for people who like to move around their office or simply prefer a compact desk that they can actually throw into their gym bag! StorkStand is currently available for pre-order (only $149).

    Check out StorkStand here:

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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