As my last blog pointed out, I am completely new to standing desks. After many years of sitting in front of a computer I’ve become pretty accustomed to how I like to set up my desk and chair, but the standing option of my desk is all new to me. Since it may also be new to many of you, I wanted to give you a look at my process of getting setup with my NewHeights™ Standing Desk.
I first wanted to make sure that my desk is at the proper height when I’m standing, which is easy to do using the Standing Desk Height Calculator. This great tool can help you find the perfect height for your new desk simply by selecting your height from a dropdown menu. You want to make sure to take the height of your shoe soles or heels into account when determining this number. Since the height of my shoes can vary drastically from day to day, I decided to play it safe and go the bare foot route, which takes me down to 5’3”. At 5’3” it is recommended that I raise my desk 38 inches, which I measured using a tape measure.
I found this height to be comfortable for me, but that may not always be the case, so don’t be afraid to adjust your desk to a height that is right for you. Here are some things you want to keep in mind when finding the perfect fit:
- Make sure your desk is set so you are able to type on a keyboard with your arms rested comfortably at your sides, with your hands at or just below your elbow.
- Raise your monitor to be at eye level so you are not tilting your neck up or down while you work.
- Be sure you are a safe distance from your screen. You want to be no less than the distance from your middle finger to your elbow away from your monitor.
Using these guidelines will help you easily set up your desk each time you switch between sitting and standing, otherwise there are models such as the NewHeights™ Elegante XT Electric Sit Stand Desk which come with a programmable button which allows heights to be selected from memory.
How long should you stand?
After setting up my desk, I wasn’t quite sure how to determine my time standing versus my time sitting. Not knowing what the expectations are for a standing desk novice, I relied on this Sitting and Standing Desk Timer to provide me with some guidelines on where to start. Using the timer you can select your desired intensity and it will then time out your standing and sitting time for you. The selections range from very low: 10 minutes standing and 50 minutes sitting, to very high: 120 minutes standing to 60 minutes sitting. I decided to start out at the low intensity: 15 minutes standing and 45 minutes sitting. I also figured the best time to start standing was after lunch when I am typically experiencing the dreaded afternoon slump. I immediately felt more awake, but I still wasn’t quite sure how I was going to last in that position for 15 minutes. However, when my timer hit 15 minutes, I didn’t want to sit down, so… I didn’t. I decided to bump myself up to the moderate level, which meant standing for another 15 minutes (for a total of 30) and then sitting for 30.
Again, when starting out with a standing desk you want to make sure to do what feels right for you. The main thing to remember is that it is not a competition. Your standing desk is meant to be something you enjoy, so stand when you can and when you’re tired… sit down!
The afternoon slump did not hit me as hard when I was using the standing function of my desk, so the added productivity I experienced was definitely a plus. I did notice that I will need to make sure not to lean onto my keyboard tray with my elbows as I caught myself doing a few times throughout the afternoon. One of the great benefits of using a standing desk is to help improve your posture and this is probably one of the things about my new desk that I am most excited about… since I am known for being a habitual huncher. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the health benefits associated with standing desks; there are reports of reduced risk of obesity, diabetes and even cancer. The numerous health benefits definitely deserve their own post, so that’s what I will be covering next. In the meantime, if you’ve tried a standing desk, I’d love to hear your experience!