Lessons We've Learned While Working Standing Up With the GeekDesk

Lessons We've Learned While Working Standing Up With the GeekDesk

Gregory Han
Sep 22, 2011

Several months back two of our staff in our New York office embarked on making a major change in the way they'd work: from sitting down to standing up. The ill effects of sitting down all day are well known now, but it's not always easy to work on your feet while also maintaining the decorum of a proper professional desk. Cue in the GeekDesk, a standing desk which has given Scott the option to work standing up or sitting down at the push of a button...

Here's what Scott had to say after a couple of months of transitioning from his DIY standing desk shantytown setup (we're just teasing, Scott) to a permanent and more aesthetic solution at our home offices in New York:

  1. I brought in a pair of Birkenstocks which proved much more comfortable for long stretches of standing than my regular shoes.
  2. I put a crate under the desk so I could alternate placing my feet on it when I needed to change my footing position. This also helps a lot.
  3. Moving around (i.e., dancing) helps, so putting on music (with or without) headphones encourages a little booty-shaking

Going from the full-time temporary rig to the GeekDesk was really nice. The desk itself was relatively easy to put together (IKEA pros shouldn't break a sweat), though it's a bit heavy, so if you're not suited to moving around heavy objects, make sure you have a helper.

The materials of the Version 2.0 are sturdy and feel solid. Overall, I'd classify the look of the desk as "inoffensive." Standard light woodgrain top and coated grey metal legs. Other than the black coiled cable that runs along the right leg, the mechanical details are well hidden by the desk.
The raise/lower operation works well. You have to hold two buttons in to cause the desk to move, which avoids accidentally engaging the motor. It operates smoothly and is relatively quiet, though occasionally the unexpected whirring sound will cause a chuckle come up from the office. Having the option to sit is definitely nice (especially for those long days of coding not broken up by the occasional meeting). I noticed when the NYC heat wave hit, being stuck in a hot air pocket underneath the air conditioner at the window lead to me choosing to sit more frequently and I've been slowly getting back to a 50-70% standing day habit.

Re-Nest managing editor and officemate, Cambria Bold, is also working from a standing desk setup, but she's retained an inherited "office-rustic/shantytown the sequel" solution (a second GeekDesk is in her prayers), a vertically oriented desk made from some banker's boxes, spare shelving planks and possibly some chewed gum to adhere it all together. Here's what she had to say since switching over from sitting to standing:

Well, it was very fatiguing the first week or so. I had to sit down every couple of hours. But then it became the norm! I didn't even think about it anymore. I still sit down during the day - usually over lunch or if I'm in a meeting - but I always get back up. I stand in Birkenstocks (which means I have to take my heels off when I get into work - sad!), but it makes a huge difference, obviously.
Using the standing setup I'm able to focus more on my posture and alignment - lifting my head, tilting my pelvis forward again for improved spinal alignment, pushing my shoulders back (Alexander Technique stuff). All in all, it makes sitting down at the end of the day, when I finally go home, all that much more worthwhile. I feel like I've really earned it lounging on the couch with a glass of wine, as opposed to how I used to feel: sit all day, sit all night...
Created with Sketch.