The Only Lars

Byte-sized adventures in software engineering

One Week With a Standing Desk

As a full-time software engineer, having my legs do nothing all day but atrophy has not been helping my legs’ health - namely my knees’ health. So this week I spent big money ($6) at the local hardware store on 4 cinder-blocks. I converted my normal desk into a standing-desk to see if I liked it at all. I’ve heard differing opinions on the standing desk ranging from “foot fatigue” to “hated it”. If you’re thinking about a standing desk, hopefully this will server as another datapoint in your research.


The first part was actually converting my desk into a standing desk. One of my coworkers on the project I’m currently working on had already converted his normal desk to a standing desk using cinder blocks, but I never really wanted to touch his desk for fear of it falling over. I can happily say that I trust my desk just as much sitting on top of four stone blocks as I do sitting on the floor. No issues with stability and the height is perfect. ##Comfort Standing while working is definitely odd at first. It took me a little while to find a foot position that worked for me while standing. It also helped that there was an extra bar-stool just hanging around our project pod that I swiped for myself. When my legs or feet get even remotely tired or uncomfortable, I simply sit in my bar stool. Since the bar stool has just a small chair back, it forces me to sit more upright. Also, since the chair is so high off the ground, it prevents me from putting my leg underneath the other, which is usually my default sitting position and is also pretty terrible on your knees. Ballpark standing percentage: 60% standing - standing-desk doesn’t have to be a full-time standing affair.


The other large difference I noticed from having a normal desk was that whenever someone had a question and came up to your desk, you were both already at the same level. The desk “guest” didn’t have to find a chair nor did they have to kneel down to look at your monitor. You’re both naturally at the same level looking at the same thing. I think it very much encourages others to come check out what you’re doing and ask questions.


If you’re thinking about a standing desk and your employer will allow it, try out cinder blocks and a taller chair to see it it’s something you might like to do on a full-time basis.