What is a Stand-Up Desk?

Benjamin R. Kibbey
Benjamin R. Kibbey
A drafting table is an example of a stand-up desk.
A drafting table is an example of a stand-up desk.

A stand-up desk is a desk or work surface designed to be usable from a standing position. Some stand-up desks are adjustable workstations that can be used at both sitting and standing heights. The desks may simply be a taller version of more typical desks, may have a section that tips-ups like an easel, or they may resemble a podium or lectern. Some products that are marketed are simply boxes placed on an existing desk to allow work to be done from a standing position. In some cases, the stand-up desk may be paired with a high stool or chair to allow the user to alternate between sitting and standing without moving to another work area or adjusting the desk.

Stand up desks are claimed to place less stress on the back.
Stand up desks are claimed to place less stress on the back.

The reasons for using a stand-up desk vary from health concerns and ways of dealing with restlessness to requirements of specific tasks. Stand-up desks may be marketed as ergonomic because they are claimed to place less stress on the back of the user by making improper posture more difficult. In addition, some studies have shown positive correlations between the use of stand-up desks and increased productivity. This may be related to any number of effects of standing as opposed to sitting, especially increased circulation.

Many individuals may opt for stand-up desks due to personal preference for standing or pacing when working or performing some problem-solving tasks. Certain large-scale tasks, such as drafting building plans, may be difficult to accomplish from a sitting position simply due to size. Drafting tables or drafting desks, such as may traditionally be used by architects and engineers to create large-scale plans and drawings, are usually a type of stand-up desk.

One experimental use of stand-up desks conducted with middle school students at Marine Elementary, outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, has made use of desks at a standing height paired with high, backless stools and a bar running under the desk to be used as a foot rest. Students use the desks according to personal preference, with some children standing with a foot on the rest, others sitting with both feet on the rest or dangling free and all of them allowed to change the arrangement in whatever manner suits their most productive habits. Though not the result of an official, scientific study, the principal of the school has reported that teachers claimed noticeable improvements after the stand-up desk became the standard in the classrooms.

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Standing all day can also be problematic. That is why we went with a treadmill desk. It makes all the difference in the world! We do alternate with some time sitting; it is maybe 50/50. But it feels really good to walk slowly while we work instead of just stand or sit. We forget we are walking we get so engrossed into our work on our computers.

We got a new Multitable and we love it! We ordered the entire table from them, not just the base -- they customized it for us, too. We checked out almost every standup desk on the market before settling on this one. They have a plethora of types of desks -- something for everyone.

Although they had models that fit over their own treadmills, we already had a high-end Precor treadmill at home. Note that most of the treadmills that come from the standup desk combos have no console in front to get in the way, but ours, just like a gym model, does. So we needed the table that goes up really high, plus we needed a narrower table since we are further back on the treadmill due to the console. Plus, we just have small laptops so no need for a wider desk.

They took their table from the treadmill combo and created a customized top for us. Also they were able to adjust the width.

It fits perfectly! The inner width is 34" between the legs, the tabletop is 36" wide and 18" deep. The height goes up to 54 inches! Yay! Finally we found one that fit our needs over our treadmill (good luck finding one that tall, and, if you do, good luck getting the rest of these dimensions).

It was pretty easy to assemble, and putting things together is not my forte. We ordered the "left-handed" model, which is just having the crank on the left side, since our treadmill is up to the wall on the right side. We really appreciate a manual operation, although they certainly have electric models. I don't want another thing to have to plug in, and it takes so little effort to crank it, why bother with electric.

Their customer service is outstanding. Their prices are far, far better than any other desk of this quality, and especially compared to companies who are willing to customize for you.

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    • A drafting table is an example of a stand-up desk.
      A drafting table is an example of a stand-up desk.
    • Stand up desks are claimed to place less stress on the back.
      Stand up desks are claimed to place less stress on the back.