Feb 10 2010

To Sit or Not To Sit?

Sitting tends to be hard on my back, and I do a lot of it since I work at a keyboard.  So I’ve been interested in alternative ways to work for a while.  I looked into those kneeling chairs where you sort of half kneel and half sit, but people who tried them said they felt good at first but eventually just transferred the pain to other places.  The chairs where you sit on a beach ball sounded the same way.  The only way to try either of those long enough to really test it is to buy one, and then you’re stuck with it.

Another option, which eliminates the sitting position entirely, is a standing desk.  This is where your desk is high enough that you stand at it and don’t use a chair at all.  You can use a stool now and then to give your feet a break, but you spend most of the time standing.  As I understand it, your feet are really better designed for holding your weight than your backside, so it makes sense.

It still sounds weird, though, so before I buy or build one, I thought I should try it somehow.  So here’s my test model:

Standing Desk Test Run

Standing Desk Test Run

I put a chunk of plywood on top of a couple file boxes on top of my normal desk, and it’s about the right height.  The monitor is lower than I’m used to compared to my eye level, but it tilts back, so that’s okay.  If I stay with this for good, though, I’ll probably raise the monitor some to make sure I don’t hunch forward.  The typing surface seems to be about the right height, so I’m going to use it for a week or so and see how it goes.  If I like it, I’ll probably build a simple top that will sit on top of my old desk (so I still have all my same drawers and stuff) but be more permanent and look a lot nicer than this.

So far, it’s kind of weird, but I think I could like it.  My back doesn’t hurt, so as long as my feet or hips don’t start, that’s a plus.  I like it better when I’m typing than when I’m just reading for a while; I guess when I’m reading I usually lean back and relax, and that’s not an option now.  If it makes me spend less time reading and more time creating stuff, that wouldn’t be a bad thing!

One more plus: Pepper can camp out in her favorite cave without me kicking her when I move my feet.

Peppers Cave

Pepper's Cave

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