ergonomic desk: help me be a stand-up guy
February 19, 2008 8:58 AM   Subscribe

I want to stand up while I program. Please recommend a desk.


-- main surface large enough to hold two 22" monitors.

-- monitor stand must be adjustable so that screens are at eye-level.

-- keyboard/mouse area must be adjustable.

-- my boss will probably balk at something over $500. He'll nix anything over $1000.
posted by grumblebee to Computers & Internet (24 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
The Shrine of the Jerker.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:09 AM on February 19, 2008

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:13 AM on February 19, 2008

wow, none of those links go anywhere anymore. apologies.

Anyway, you can stand up and use 2 monitors with an ikea "jerker" desk like the ones here.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:13 AM on February 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Well, my boss just balked at a $300 desk! But I think I can talk him into one. But anything above that and I'll have to dip into my own pockets. At the moment, they contain a nickel and two pennies.
posted by grumblebee at 9:14 AM on February 19, 2008

balked at $300? what, does he want to put you in a Walmart special that will bow after ten minutes?
posted by notsnot at 9:20 AM on February 19, 2008

I've been standing up at work for the last 10 years. I had a carpenter friend build a simple square, low-table that I put on top of my regular work-desk. It consists of 4 legs & a top, and I paid him less than $200 for a nice, solid set-up.

I recommend it, especially for people who work phones (Standing up makes you sound better...)
posted by growabrain at 9:20 AM on February 19, 2008

I had a carpenter friend build me this one. The buddy discount brought it down to about $300, so full price would still be within your range. I've been at it for a year, it's great. It's not adjustable in the least, but it's built to my own measurement so it doesn't need to be.
posted by migurski at 9:21 AM on February 19, 2008

Suggest you head on over to McMaster Carr and look at their "workbenches" and "machine tables." There are a fair number of options for a 36" height, not many at 42" (which is probably close to what you want).

There's also the "wall-mounted workbench" which would obviously be a fixed installation and perhaps not suitable to your situation, but would be easy to get at the right height. There are a number of "stand-up height desks" listed there, but none would be suited to your needs.

Or, you know, you could head over to Home Depot and get some cinderblocks to set under your current desk.
posted by adamrice at 9:27 AM on February 19, 2008

I'm fascinated by this - I used to stand all day when I worked in a coffee shop, and it was exhausting. Is standing at work really good for you?
posted by Happy Dave at 9:29 AM on February 19, 2008

Could you let us know how it works out?
posted by drezdn at 10:06 AM on February 19, 2008

Response by poster: Is standing at work really good for you?

I suspect it's better for you than sitting all day.

I work on a laptop. So I can always sit down and hold it if I get tired.

Truth is, I already have a standing set-up, and I love it. I made it by piling boxes on-top-of a normal desk and then putting my mac on the boxes. I have lower boxes for the keyboard.

But my boss thinks it's an eye-sore (and it is), and he doesn't want me to embarrass the office when clients come. So I need something more professional looking.

What's driving me crazy is that my keyboard is about 42" off the ground. I'm only 5'8", so that can't be all that high for a standing desk. Any lower, and my hands won't be parallel with my elbows. But all the standing desks I find have keyboard rests that max at 36" or so.
posted by grumblebee at 10:16 AM on February 19, 2008

I had to switch to a standup desk because my back cannot take long hours of sitting. There are plenty of good quality standup desks but most of they are expensive. My solution was simply a board sitting on blocks on top of a regular desk. My monitors sit on wooden wine boxes that raise them to eye level. I suggest starting with a simple homemade setup and spend some money on a good floor mat to stand on. A good rubber mat that cushions your feet and legs is more important to your comfort than a nice desk is.
posted by calumet43 at 10:24 AM on February 19, 2008

I used to stand all day at drawing boards in architectural offices. Computers ruined all that, and I sat down for many years. Then it occurred to me that I could raise my desk top to the right level and not sit all day. I think this is generally healthier. So, I hung a wide shelf on the wall using brackets. This was when I was working at home editing and writing. It worked great. Now, I'm working in someone else's office and am sitting down again. I'd rather stand.
posted by partner at 10:33 AM on February 19, 2008

I notice the desk is called a "jerker" in some of the links- where did that name come from?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:04 AM on February 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Well, if you really want to be healthy... there's always this. (I know the guy that pioneered this at the Mayo Clinic. He was using it when I met him.)
posted by caution live frogs at 11:05 AM on February 19, 2008

Response by poster: I wish I could afford that, caution!
posted by grumblebee at 11:08 AM on February 19, 2008

What about one of those barstool type kitchen tables? I am at work right now so I cant look up any images to reference but I would think you might could stand at one of those without paying an arm and a leg
posted by meeshell at 11:57 AM on February 19, 2008

TPS: "I notice the desk is called a "jerker" in some of the links- where did that name come from?"

"Jerker" was the name that Ikea gave it's adjustable computer desk. It appears to have been renamed the less snicker inducing but just as inexeplicable "fredrik".
posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:21 PM on February 19, 2008 [1 favorite]
posted by Chuck Cheeze at 1:04 PM on February 19, 2008

I put gallon paint cans under each leg. I don't know if that'll work for your setup but they won't be much of an eye sore if you paint them black or grey. It also worked out that when I sit the desk is at a comfortable height too!
posted by LC at 1:41 PM on February 19, 2008

Lifehacker has an article about a guy who built one.

You could use bed risers if you don't have any handy paint cans. And they are already black!
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:17 PM on February 19, 2008

Whoops - I reread the article I posted more closely, and the guy didn't actually build the desk itself. That part of his workstation came from Ikea. My apologies.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:30 PM on February 19, 2008

Are you in a cube? The platforms ought to be able to just be adjusted up.

Get the height exactly right or you'll give yourself finger fatigue or carpal tunnel or something horrible.
posted by gjc at 8:41 PM on February 19, 2008

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