My new standing desk is now being used, and it’s symbolic of the changes I’m working through in the way I work. Having moved into a new house, I’ve had a bit of time without the internet or an office at home, which has given me some time to re-consider the way I do things. And that’s leading to a big of an overhaul.
My Standing Desk – and getting the right equipment:
Since freelancing I’ve combined the usual desk set-up with clients with sub-optimal use of a dining table at home due to a lack of space in the family home. Adding in my reliance on a laptop for most of my work, and I’d noticed increasing back pain, and more worryingly, wrist pain. The prospect of developing any kind of RSI is immediately more threatening to my work than the potential for sitting at a desk to shorten my overall lifespan – as indicated by the fact that despite eating more healthily and getting more exercise over recent weeks, I haven’t succeeded in giving up smoking , yet…
So the plan for my new living space and office was always to create something which was more suitable for long hours working at home, and I’d been looking at examples of other people adjusting to standing desks. Inevitably it all pointed towards An IKEA workstation, and the current version to look for is the Frederik. Strangely it doesn’t seem to appear in the current catalogue, or in displays in the store I visited, but is still available via the website, or by asking at the information desk right at the end of the Ikea trail around the shop.
The good news is that it’s very simple to construct, although you do need two people – with a friend helping, it took about 15 minutes to get everything slotted together and ready to work.
And having spent the first day using it, it definitely changes the way I work. There was a little bit of an ache at the back of both legs, but I didn’t feel any of the usual back pain after about 10 hours of working, plus the wrist supports definitely made a difference to how I typed and used the mouse.
Psychologically I do find it easier to use the standing desk for less ‘creative’ tasks – I’m accustomed to sitting and thinking before writing articles, for example. But for email, Skype meetings, spreadsheet work, etc, etc it was an instant fit, and also encouraged me to move around the room between tasks, so I wasn’t stood still for probably more than 40 minutes at a time.
That’s just the beginning though – I’m also investigating some mouse alternatives, such as a track-pad or more ergonomic mouse, and also an ergonomic keyboard to avoid stretching over the laptop trackpad to type.
And with enough space to play with, I still intend to pick up a more traditional ‘sitting’ desk to be put on the other side of the room to allow me to switch between them for different tasks. The only debate is whether to go with a decent office chair with proper adjustability, or try and exercise ball to sit on – the ball might be healthier, but I’m not sure it’ll help me relax to get my creative work flowing in the same way as a chair.
I’m not a doctor or physiotherapist, and I’m not saying everyone should rush to work standing up, but what’s important to me is that I’m pro-actively looking at the environment and equipment I need to work and live most effectively. The desk itself was under £100, but the benefits of actually making some changes and mixing things up are far more valuable. And I think that freshness will show itself in my work far more over the coming weeks.
Combine it with the right software:
The other part of the changes I’m making is to look at the software I use, and what is most efficient and effective for the things I need. Recently I’ve been enticed into learning more about project management and utilising the powerful Liquid Planner – my guidance is coming from the extremely knowledgeable Tim at TRSDigital. Having used more task-based tools extensively, I’m learning the basics from a Liquid Planner ninja, but it’s starting to come together.
I’ve also been looking again at the software I used for SEO, Social Media Monitoring and Measurement, Photo and Video-Editing, and even Writing. The idea of potential wrist problems in the future has even led me to start compiling info on dictation software should it be needed, but also to try it and see how it changes the way I work.
Surfing constant digital change:
All of this is coming together by a new philosophy. For years I’ve swum alongside many others in a digital world of constant flux and change, and that’s a great thing. I love new opportunities, and the way that technology is evolving more quickly all the time – I work with every client to help them start to change their outlook and business practices to cope with that, rather than just offering content or marketing which won’t evolve and grow over time.
And I have a new outlook and metaphor which is better equipment and organisation allows me to surf the waves of change rather than swimming through the tumultuous water – that’s not only a less physically intensive process, but one which also allows me a better view over the whole ocean.
Especially when I’m standing up now!