Working from home has its pros and cons. You’ve got the benefit of freedom and a degree of independence, but it is often lonely, and if, like me, your ‘office’ tends involve sitting on a stool while my laptop nestles between cups and cakes on the breakfast bar, then its not especially great for your health.
I had looked into several options to make my workspace more comfortable, but initial comfort (sitting at the dining room table, squashing a mini desk into the spare room) doesn’t always lead to long term benefits. Back ache, neck strain, rsi, all are common side effects from an ineffectively orchestrated workspace. So when I was offered the chance of trying a stand up desk I may not have jumped at the chance, but I did feel I had nothing to lose.
Recent research has suggested that using a stand up work space can increase productivity by up to 46 per cent. A pretty impressive statistic – so I put it to the test.
Constructing the Varidesk Pro Plus is simple enough. No fiddly little fixtures or extra parts left over, it basically just opens out. The construction instructions are simple and easy to follow. The assembled product sits nicely on a table or standard sized desk. It features an upper display surface that’s 36″ wide, so it’s great for dual-monitor setups. The lower keyboard/mouse deck has room for a full-size keyboard, mouse pad and mouse, or even a graphics tablet. Both tiers raise and lower at the same time, so when you switch positions, your keyboard and mouse come with you.
When you’re used to sitting down to work, standing up for the whole day can seem a daunting prospect, but once you’re used to it there really isn’t an issue. And you can chop and change, its not like somebody has stolen all the seats and banned you from ever resting your legs again! But it’s recommended that you stand for the majority of the time, so I did. And although I didn’t notice any difference in the first week, by the end of week two I definitely had less aches in my back and shoulders. I’ve always been a bit of a sloucher, and tend to tense up when trying to type at super speed to hit a looming deadline, but this became much less of a problem as I eased into my Varidesk position. And don’t just take my work for it – scientists are claiming that productivity, health and general well-being can all be improved if employers offer standing workspaces for their staff – read more here.
Having tried out the Varidesk for a month I can definitely agree it had a positive effect and reduced aches and pains that I often acquire from sitting in strange positions for too long while churning out stories up against a deadline. There are many products around that offer similar standing workspaces, but reviews and a quick straw poll on Twitter confirmed that the Varidesk seems to come out top. A spokesman from the company told me: “What makes Varidesk so great is that you order a desk from this site, it arrives quickly, comes out of the box fully assembled, sits right on top of your existing desk – and in minutes you have the freedom to work standing or sitting any time you want. Pretty soon, you’re energised, focused, free of back pain, and burning calories like crazy – all while getting things done. No tools, no middle man, and no huge expenses. That’s our goal: to make it easy for anyone to work smarter, work healthier, and perform at their very best.”
Well I can’t say I’ve noticed the effect of calorie burning, and my productivity hasn’t quite doubled, but it has increased and I have less to complain about at the end of the day. Well, when it comes to backache anyway!
- To find out more about Standing Desks or to view the Varidesk range, see uk.varidesk.com