A beginner’s guide to DIY standing desks

Standing desks are everywhere. As Canadians learn more about the hazards of sedentary behaviour and sitting for extended periods of time, the idea of standing at work becomes more appealing.

But converting to a standing desk may seem like a challenge; especially if it’s something you’ve never tried. No hurdle is larger than price, as many standing desks cost hundreds of dollars and can be difficult to integrate into existing office environments.

Luckily, there are some easy and affordable DIY tricks to get you standing up at work without breaking the bank. With a few affordable adjustments and a little bit of imagination, you can take a makeshift stand desk for a test drive. Learning about your comfort level while standing and what your must-have furniture functions are can better inform a potential purchase.

Built to suit

There is no better path to building your own standing desk than a little, ahem, “Swedish ingenuity.” The Internet is overloaded with amazing and impressive hacks to build your own standing desk without splashing the cash for a custom-built solution.
Some desk hacks involve building a customized station that sits atop your existing desk – anything that raises your monitor high enough to stand. Others create entirely new stations.

Material matters

Just about any type of table – end tables, coffee tables or even kitchen tables with adjustable legs – can be adjusted or stacked to make a quickie standing desk. Attach simple shelves to create a keyboard tray and area for your mouse. With a little bit of creativity, slightly modified bookshelves and bathroom storage systems also convert to unexpected workstations.

DIY standing-deskers are spoiled for choice when it comes to retail products that can easily be combined or altered to make an ideal standing workstation. Measure twice, cut once, and build the desk of your dreams.

Get the height right

The most important aspect of a standing desk is ensuring your monitor is positioned at eye level. The same applies when you’re sitting but it is doubly important when trying out a new way of working.

However you rig up your new desk, be it with temporary tables, wall-mounted arms, books, milks crates, or even cans of soda, it is imperative your monitor is at the correct height. That means eye level when your head is held straight.

Go to the mat

Would you buy a new desk chair without a padded seat? Do your feet, back, and your entire wellbeing a favour by investing in a proper anti-fatigue mat for standing on through the day.

Give yourself a fighting chance to meet your goals by wearing flat, supportive shoes. Running shoes if you must. But don’t let your standing desk experiment end before it begins by failing to protect your feet.

Settle into a rhythm

It’s unrealistic to expect to stand all day right from the start. It’s about striking the right balance. If it’s one hour up and one hour down at the start, so be it.

Most people who move to a standing desk report the first few days as the toughest part of the adjustment, but the concept soon becomes second nature. Track your sitting time against your standing time to better understand your progress.

Converting your workstation is like anything else – set attainable goals that help you realize successes and course-correct as required.

If you give yourself a chance to make your standing desk a part of your working routine, you’ll quickly realize the countless benefits standing while you work offers - for your mind and body!

More Ergonomic Tips

  • Major key(board). More than your monitor, it is essential your keyboard and mouse are at the correct height as well. Assume a natural pose and set your keyboard at a height unlikely to strain your joints while keeping your shoulders back.
  • Perfect posture. Good posture is key for avoiding pain and strain and keep you focused on your various tasks. If your monitor and keyboard are at the correct height, it make it possible to stay limber and even stretch while working.
  • Buyer Beware. Keep in mind that when it comes to creating frankenfurniture from places like Ikea, particleboard often replaces solid wood to keep prices low. Source solid wood products whenever possible and use suitable anchors when fastening products together.