Make a standing desk for £50

As an online businessman and writer, I spend almost all my working time sitting at a desk, and I’ve become concerned that this may be affecting my health – and my productivity.

Make a standing desk for £50

My curiosity was originally sparked when PC Pro covered the subject of standing workstations, but I filed it under “interesting but too expensive” and went back to slouching over my keyboard.

Since then, I’ve come across the topic repeatedly, but the expense involved has remained a sticking point: I don’t want to spend several hundred pounds on a fixed-height desk only to find it doesn’t suit me, and I’m certainly not prepared to spend a four-figure sum on an electrically adjustable model that would offer me the best of both worlds.

So I was delighted to come across a superb solution that costs the princely sum of £50 all in. Enter the Ikea standing desk hack developed by Colin Nederkoorn.

I spend almost all my working time sitting at a desk, and I’ve become concerned that this may be affecting my health – and my productivity

Take one square, black table (UK article number 200.114.08, £5) and affix a red shelf (201.679.61, £3) to its front legs using two brackets (801.674.73, £3 each).

Now, fix this assembly atop your existing desk, with your keyboard and mouse on the red shelf and your monitor on top of the table. You may need to make some minor adjustments to the height of the shelf or monitor to get it spot on; your elbows should be bent about 90 degrees when typing, and your display should be slightly beneath your line of sight.

In my case, I had a dual-monitor setup, so I forked out a further £3 for an extra shelf across the top of the table for both monitors to sit on.

standing desk

I take special delight in cheap experiments with the potential to reap rich dividends, and this one turned out to be a cracker.

Sore solution

My feet were sore after the first day of working standing up, so I invested in an anti-fatigue mat. To my surprise, I haven’t felt tired, although I don’t think standing all day is necessarily ideal: it’s probably better to mix in some sitting down to avoid too much strain being placed on your pelvis and lower back.

My aim was to find out whether I could put up with standing up, but it turns out I prefer it. My workstation now looks like a place of work, rather than a comfy entertainment environment.

The biggest surprise is the positive effect this arrangement has had on my productivity. The chair I’ve been using for the past five years is a little too comfortable, which encourages the procrastination demon on my shoulder to whisper suggestions – “why don’t you indulge in a little Facebook, Kevin, or a quick browse on Amazon?” – that stop me from getting stuck in to my work.

Productivity boost

Standing up, on the other hand, is less relaxing – although not uncomfortable – so I don’t feel the same temptation to waste time. As a result, I’m far more productive at the beginning of the day, I complete my work more quickly, and I’m able to collapse into a comfy chair earlier in the evening.

This also means I can get more done in a long day than before – and that’s worth real money. If you own a business, you’re its most important asset: the more hours you work productively, the better your enterprise will do.

This is particularly the case with online businesses, and especially those that make money selling information, software or services.

If your experience is anything like mine, standing up may actually allow you to spend less time in front of the screen, and perhaps grab back a little more of the personal time your company has quietly been stealing…

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