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Work It With a Standing Desk

standingvarideskRemember back when we reviewed a treadmill desk? Well, if not, spoiler: I loved the idea. Getting more activity while you work is brilliant. However, investing in a treadmill and having possibly two desks to work from — because, you probably don’t want to walk on it all day every day — is a bit, eh, unrealistic for most of us. And while we have reviewed a standing desk before, it had that hiccup of also being a bit cumbersome and rigid. So when we heard about the VARIDESK, we were ready to try it. It’s adjustable. Meaning, that you can easily plop it on your current desk (no new desk!), and raise it up or down. So whether you want to stand or sit, it’s there for you. Brilliant!

I’ve been using the VARIDESK they sent us in the mail for the last couple of months, and I really, really like it. I’m not sure why, but I somehow feel more professional when I’m writing and working. Almost like standing gives me an authority and power that I don’t normally have. Like, yo, check it: I’m writing — and I’m standing. At the same time. (Then, usually, I feel the urge to play/sing this song.) It’s weird, I know, but it’s also true.

Giddy on my new standing-working power, I spent the first week on my feet almost all day, every day. And, um, ouch. My used-to-sitting body was not down for that, and my legs by the end of the day were pretty achy and tired. So, I had to re-adjust my standing schedule to intervals of an hour or two up, followed by a 30-minute rest on the keister. It worked well, making me feel both important and my legs happy and ready to do lunges the next day. Hooray for moderation!

And, really, now that I’ve found my happy standing-sitting ratio (I recommend you ease into it, unlike I did), I can’t imagine going back to just sitting all day. There’s so much research on how much better for you it is than sitting, and honestly, I feel more alert and productive when I’m standing. Whenever my energy dips or I get a little sleepy, like at 3 p.m., a little bit of standing work usually perks me up. It’s pretty awesome.

The only not-so-awesome thing about the desk is that, although it easily moves up and down (so smoothly, too!), when you lower it all the way down, it’s still a good couple of inches higher than your normal desk. So the screen is a bit higher, causing you to look slightly up, and if you don’t have a lower drawer for your keyboard, that’s a touch higher up, too, placing your wrists at a possibly uncomfortable angle. Thankfully, I have a keyboard drawer built into my normal desk (and a wireless keyboard and mouse so moving it around isn’t a pain in the rear — and there are fewer cords to have to maneuver), so that part’s not an issue, but the higher screen does bother me a touch. (On the flip side, it makes me want to stand up again, which is a good thing.) Priced at $275 to $300 the VARIDESK is an investment, but it’s one that’s totally worth it for the health benefits you’re getting, methinks.

Have you ever worked standing up? Created your own standing desk? Have a VARIDESK of your own? Let us know! —Jenn

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!


  1. Leslie says:

    It’s too bad they didn’t provide you with a promo coupon code to provide for your readers. I’m seriously considering taking the varidesk plunge – I wouldn’t think twice if I had a promo code!

  2. Long ago I got a pair of solid-core doors when an office building was razed. I bought eight “flue liners”, ceramic tubes that are 8×12″ in cross section with rounded corners, twelve inches long. I then plopped those flue liners at the corners of a couple of desks and put the doors on top, then put the monitors on top of the doors.

    One of the “desks” was a worktable that didn’t really suit itself to sitting at in the first place. I had the big monitor for my Mac on top and normally left the keyboard on the door, hardly ever sat there.

    The other desk was a traditional wooden office desk. With the keyboard on the original desktop, a trackball sitting in the flue liner to the right, and the monitor on top of the door, I could actually sit and work, although I was looking up at an angle. Both Windows and Macs can use multiple mice/pointing devices, so I also had a standard mouse on the door and could move the keyboard up top and stand and use the workstation easily.

    One thing that was particularly nice about those doors is that they were huge. When working on projects that involved lots of supporting paper work, particularly if they were tabloid or larger drawings, it’s easier to bop around and look at information over a wide area when you’re standing, if you have the wide area to lay them out on.

    After a couple of moves, I’m back to working on more pedestrian surfaces, specifically a couple of Costco folding tables in an ell arrangement. I’d love to figure out a solution that would let me spend part of my day standing, but my main workstation now involves three 24″ screens side by side. I guess I could get three of these Varidesk things and keep the keyboard on the middle one, but it would be something of an ordeal to jack up all three to move to the standing position so I probably wouldn’t actually do it.

    I’m currently thinking about just adding another computer setup at standing height with a single monitor. All my files are on a central file server anyway, so it would mostly be a matter of installing a reasonable set of applications on it so I could stand up and work on most projects at the other computer when I wanted to change posture. With all the computers that are in this office now, one more would hardly be noticed. Except in August when the heat is already a problem!


  3. DayMartin says:

    I’ve been standing at work for almost two years because of a back injury, and it has made my back feel so much better! I’ve been using the “Stand Steady” desk. It adjusts in height, but doesn’t become a sitting desk. Since I want to stand all day that works fine for me and it is much less expensive than the varidesk (www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C344VMY).

  4. Kas Dunphy says:

    I’ve been standing for almost a year now. GET GOOD SHOES. I got to standing all day fairly quickly once I invested in a good pair of AHNU shoes. They have extra support on the inside of the arch – which apparently is a problem area for us gals. I can’t recommend the standing workstation I got. It was designed for a shop floor and has no work space. I didn’t realize how annoying it was going to be having to hop back and forth between it and my sitting desk. I have a second workstation set up at sitting level. So I end up standing or sitting based on the task at hand. I love my sitting ‘station’. Because I’m short, 5′, I’ve had trouble getting desks low enough to write on, and at the right height for typing and mousing. My solution, I got a Virco 4000 series work table w adjustable chrome legs – short (17″-25″) (there are also higher lengths available including wheel chair heights). It’s large and reasonably priced (I think I paid around $200). The varidesk sounds like the missing piece to my puzzle and I’m looking forward to giving it a try. Thanks!

  5. KathyT says:

    I confess that I love my Varidesk. I bought mine in January (2014), and at the time, I don’t think that they had a keyboard lift. That is the ONLY thing I would change now if I were to buy a second one (and I might when I leave to go south this winter – maybe just leave my primary one home, and get one for the condo we rent). In the comment above, @Kas Dunphy said to “Get good shoes,” and I agree – especially when doing the stand up desk thing. In my case, I wear my Birks (Birkenstock sandals) and they seem to do pretty well over the course of the day. Anyway, just another thumbs up on this! Oh! One more thing – Jenn, I LOVE your by line: “Keeping a lid on the junk in the trunk…” HOWLING! It’s perfect! And the site itself is very eye-pleasing. Nice work! Cheers! Kathy

  6. lili says:

    One of my friends uses NextErgo Smart Standing Desk; he told me that it helps you better than other desks because it has a posture correction feature that will guide the user through 25 posture correction steps. It will automatically adjust itself to the correct height to give the user correct posture and comfort for the back, neck, and wrist, which will avoid bad posture and aches later.

    This NextErgo Standing Desk desk comes with advanced features and functions. It has powerful twin electric motors for a smooth transition, 3 stage height adjustments, and has a touch-screen control system, Artificial intelligence, smart speaker, usage reports, presence detection, standing goal, etc.

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