How to transition to a standing desk |

How to transition to a standing desk

It’s time to stand up.  

Odds are, you are probably sitting while reading this and you know that sitting most of your day is not healthy.  

We have all heard that “sitting is the new smoking”.  You may have read the NY Times article, “Is Sitting a Lethal Activity?”  

Sitting down is unnatural. Excessive sitting increases your chances for cancer, heart disease, obesity, type-2 diabetes and depression.  I don’t have to preach to my orthopedic friends about sitting. 

So, I believe that the best solution is to convert your low workspace to a standing workspace. The benefits are real. I found that I burned more calories, increased my good cholesterol, lost weight, slept better and generally felt better each day.  As a side effect, I found that I was also more productive each day. 

Here are tips on how I made the transition to a standing desk in 3 Steps.

Step 1 – Experiment First!

I strongly advise you to experiment with standing first with a simple DIY temporary setup. Don’t spend a lot of time or money for a permanent arrangement until you can stand for three-to-four hours each day.  You can do a lot with bricks or cinder blocks. You can raise your entire desk with blocks underneath, or add blocks on top and place a door on top.  Anything will work if the dimensions are right.

Blocks under desk
Blocks on desk
Total DIY

A word about ergonomics.

Ergonomics are important. Get out your tape measure. Ideally, your elbows should be parallel to the floor and your screen should be near eye level.  The figure below shows the perfect ergonomics. 


Step 2 – Start Slow & Allow Transition Time

It’s going to take some time for your body to get used to standing. Alternate between sitting and standing each day. Gradually increase the standing time. It took me a solid month before my body “wanted” to stand. I relied on sitting breaks during the day – driving, lunch, and meetings.  These provide “balance time” for your new standing behavior. 

Step 3 – Commit and Enjoy the Energy Burn

Once you get used to standing a few hours of each day, it’s time to commit. Acquire your permanent desk setup. I bought a dedicated standing desk from Walmart that can be cranked up and down. The simplest solution for you may be the Varidesk because you can put it on top of your normal desk and you can sit when you want to and stand when you want to. 

You will also need a soft mat. I bought this soft mat from Amazon-  Anti-Fatigue Standing Comfort Mat for Home and Office – 20×36-Inches, Black.  

You will also need a footstool at least a foot high.  Alternating one foot on the stool throughout the day will help with your posture and offload your lower back. I use a garbage can turned upside down for my foot stool.

Now, you are ready to stand full time

Bonus – Side Benefits

It’s real. I became MORE productive. I got MORE done each day. When standing it feels like I want to do more active work than passive work (browsing). 

Also, a neat side benefit is that the people who come into your office spend less time there.  They get their business done and leave. They don’t camp out. At Ellipse Technologies we built an entire standing meeting room on top of filing cabinets. The meetings were fast and productive. It worked. 

If I can transition to standing, so can you.  It’s time to start standing.

Here is my setup. 

Send me pictures of your setup.