After being inspired by the sitting is killing you infographic and having occasional back problems, I decided to purchase a varidesk pro. I thought I’d cover 2 things in this article, both my experience with adopting a sitting/standing routine, and also what I feel about the varidesk pro.
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If you’re thinking of buying a Varidesk product in the UK, I’ve managed to negotiate free shipping for all my readers. Just order from the Varidesk website using the promo code ‘CODENUTZ’ when checking out, and your shipping fee’s will be removed. Note that this code is only valid in the UK (sorry).
When I set-out on this experiment, I really wasn’t sure whether it was even practical to work standing up – I’ve worked sitting down for years, generally slumped lazily in a chair. Generally speaking this has been fine – I am very productive and have managed to stay in pretty decent shape through lots of exercise. I do have developed a couple of issues though:
- Firstly my family has a history of quite serious lower back problems. I’ve managed to avoid this for the most part, but recently I’ve been getting a little pain around my lower back and coxis area after prolonged periods of working.
- Secondly I started working a lot more hours on projects sacrificing a significant portion of my exercise regime. This has meant more time sitting, less time exercising and therefore harder to control my weight.
So I wanted to try something that would counteract the extra time in my chair and address the above issues. So I decided on a Varidesk Pro (which I’ll go into more detail on later), and adopt a sit down / stand up routine.
Working Standing Up
The thing that I found most surprising about working standing up is how natural it felt – I thought it would feel alien and awkward but it actually feels pretty normal. As well as feeling pretty natural, it actually makes me feel less exhausted after a hard days work – for some reason I feel fresher and ready to do a workout.
Being totally honest, its really hard to tell whether adopting this routine is burning any extra calories – mainly because I seem to have been working out more consistently since doing it. I have definitely got fitter and am in better shape, but it could be more as a result of the improved workout routine. That said, I can’t help but feel that the sit down/stand up routine has contributed towards this improved routine.
I have heard people touting that working standing makes you productive, and I really can’t attest to that – my throughput was pretty much the same whether sitting or standing. Standing in no way hampered my working, and in some cases it helped fight that ‘this is so boring’ feeling whilst doing more mundane tasks. But overall the speed and quality of my work has been pretty much the same.
Once the initial novelty of the variable height desk had work off, I have found myself spending less time standing. I think that I maybe start a session of work sitting and the thought never enters my head to stand-up until its too late. To combat this I’ve found stand or die quite useful – stand or die is just a timer linked to your google account that keeps a record of the time you’ve spent standing up over time.
Choosing the Varidesk Pro
After I decided to try to do the stand up / sit down working I needed a desk that would support. I looked at a few options:
- Standard desk with a stand: I did consider just a standard desk and using a stand now and again. In the end I decided against it because I couldn’t find a good solution that didn’t involve me messing about with my monitors too much.
- Standing desks: Affordable but stay only in one position.
- Variable height desks: These either wont change height easily with stuff on them, or the automatic ones are incredibly expensive.
- Ergotron WorkFit-S: I considered the Ergotron WorkFit-S which looks really good, and gets good reviews. The main thing that put me off was being to get the exact model I wanted, and the fact I have to mount it on my desk – I didn’t want to risk damaging my desk.
- Varidesk Pro: This is what I ended up choosing!
The main reason I ended up at the Varidesk Pro was that:
- Its not too expensive.
- It looks solid.
- It requires zero installation (I’m lazy).
- It has good reviews.
Quick Review of the Varidesk Pro
The Varidesk Pro arrived in a very large box fully assembled – this is great for because as I mentioned before I’m lazy. That said it was a challenge getting it out of the box…there was a lot of packaging to keep the desk safe. Once it was unpackaged it was just a case of placing on the desk, putting my monitors on it and getting started. In terms of ease of set-up I’d give it a 9/10.
Overall the varidesk feels very solid, no matter what height you’re working at. There’s no bounce or anything like that when you’re hitting your keyboard at a standing height, and it really doesn’t feel like anything could break it.
The height adjustment mechanism is awesome – you can effortlessly change height by pulling the clip handle things and just pulling gently. Releasing the handles locks the desk into place and you’re good to go. Again, this mechanism feels solid and reliable.
One thing I’m not that keen on is the finish on the surface – its fine, but doesn’t feel desk-y, and it collects dust pretty quickly. It seems like a strange thing to say, and its certainly not something I notice very often but I would have probably chosen a different finish. Overall a 9/10 for build quality.
The varidesk performs well when sitting down – and whilst it does absorb a lot of desk space, the space it gives you to work on is ample. The raised platform for your monitor(s) is really nice, it elevates your monitors to a comfortable position, and also leaves some room for placing documents or notes to work from. I keep mentioning it but everything feels rock solid, which is really important to me.
Unfortunately the place where you use your mouse isn’t ideal, its a pretty small area and definitely wouldn’t fit a mouse mat on it. In honesty when I first realised this I thought it would be very annoying, but I don’t notice it on a day to day basis. For working sitting I’d give it a 8/10.
As previously mentioned, changing positions is effortless so moving to a standing working position is simple and easy. Once there the desk is solid and working on it is really comfortable. I’ve spent hours working like this, and in general I’m very happy with it.
One thing worth noting here is that your monitor height needs to change when moving between standing and sitting positions. When sitting the monitors are effectively on a platform raised about 3 or 4 inches above your keyboard and mouse, but when standing they sit on the same level. Luckily my 2 monitors have adjustable heights so this isn’t a problem, but its definitely something worth thinking about before investing.
For working standing up the varidesk is excellent – 9.5/10.
Overall I think the varidesk is a solid, reliable and easy to set-up piece of kit that does exactly what its supposed to. There are a few niggles, but nothing that makes me regret my purchase and I’d certainly buy one again.
One side benefit of the Varidesk is that I tend to leave it in the standing position, so if I just need to nip into my office and quickly do something I can do it without sitting down and messing about. Its little things like this that make me smile!
I highly recommend the varidesk pro, and would give it a 9/10 overall.
There are a few things that I should mention – its pretty big so you’ll need to make sure you have check your desk against the diensions on the varidesk website. Secondly if you’re thinking of having 3 monitors or 2x27” monitors then forget it. I have 2x23” monitors on mine and they only just fit. Maybe if you bought some kind of stand like this dual monitor stand you could make it work.
Overall I’m really glad that I’ve decided to go with this sitting and standing working format – obviously I can tbe sure but I think its helping my general energy levels and helping me keep in shape. Aside from all the research around these things I have felt better health wise since doing this, and will continue to work like this whenever I can.
As mentioned above, I have managed to secure a promotion code giving free delivery on any varidesk product to my readers. Just order from the Varidesk website using the promo code ‘CODENUTZ’ when checking out, and your shipping fee’s will be removed. Note that this code is only valid in the UK (sorry).