Four Reasons a $22 DIY Standing Desk is a Bad Idea

The story of a $22 standing desk made of an IKEA coffee table and screwed-on shelf has gone viral.  Named the Standdesk 2200, it was built by Colin Nederkoorn, the CEO of Customer.io.

ikea standing desk

Huffington Post called this coffee table placed on top of a desk the ‘Ultimate IKEA Hack’.  Colin claims that it’s a cheap alternative to spending $800 on a proper adjustable standing desk.

Here’s why I feel like that’s a side order of baloney:

1. It’s simply not adjustable.  Along with extended sitting, standing all day is also not a good idea.  The CDC recommends using a sit-stand device to take breaks from standing. With a non-adjustable DIY setup like this, every time you take break from standing, it means you’ll need to stop working, because you’ve lost access to your workstation until you’re ready to stand up again.  What about days your legs and feet hurt from the hike or when you’re sick?  Chances are you’ll need to rearrange your desk, and unfortunately some folks may not go back to standing again.

2. Different users need different height settings for proper ergonomics.  If the computer is shared by a wife, friend, coworker, roommate or child they need to be able to alter the height of both the keyboard tray and the monitor.  Remember that at a traditional sitting desk, each user typically adjusts the chair height to a comfortable position.

3. Contrary to Colin’s claim, you don’t need an $800 product to be equipped with a proper adjustable standing desk.  Stand Desk has a $200 UpTrak that’s been flying off the shelves, and the $325 Varidesk is an elegant conversion setup that fits on top of your current workspace.  Budgeting out a $200-300 furniture investment over the course of even just a year is less than a $1 a day, but will last you many years of healthy & ergonomic computing.

ikea standing desk4. No matter what color you paint an IKEA coffee table on top of another desk, it simply looks terrible. Your friends (and dare you do this at work, your coworkers) will compliment your creativity but secretly laugh at you and think you’ve lost it for stacking tables (and especially for calling it the Standdesk 2200).

Listen, jokes aside, a DIY approach is a fine way and entry to the health benefit filled world of sitting less.  Colin’s desk is a fun and creative project and yes you could get by for a few days by using some shipping boxes to see if standing is for you.  Just promise yourself that once you decide to adopt sitting less at your desk, you’ll treat yourself and your desk with the same respect and ergonomic awareness you would a comfortable chair and consider making the investment in one of the many affordable standing desks available today.

 

Images by quietkid, estherbester.