Stand Up For Your Life

Stand up while working at your computer with this unique solution - by David R Beebe
I spend many hours in front of my iMac editing photos and videos. For a long time now, I've wanted to try working while standing up. I already have a custom made oak desk that I didn't want to replace. Yes, the desk was made decades ago when video editing was tape based with many tape decks and video controllers. Now that all of that is done with one computer, I find that all of the slide out shelves are still full. Even if I did want to replace it, the cost of a lift desk was prohibitive for this experiment.

Then I read a small mention in MacWorld of a desktop platform that allows you to easily raise and lower your computer as needed. I contacted the folks at Varidesk to discuss my needs. I selected the
Varidesk Pro with its 36" x 23" working surface. Their claims are not overstated and I am really loving this new capability. I have a 27" iMac on a ErgoMart VESA stand. The BT keyboard and trackpad easily move from the keyboard drawer when at the sitting height to the top of the work surface in front of the iMac while standing. Lifting the iMac and stand is very easy thanks to their spring-assisted design. Squeeze a flapper handle on each side and lift without straining.

The working surface can raise 10.5" which is a bit higher than I need. To help me know where to stop lifting, I've hung a bit of beaded chain from the underside of the front left corner of the liftable surface. The chain has enough weight to straighten out as the desk is lifted and it coils up nicely as the desk is lowered.

The only issue I've had is one that I expected when I ordered the Varidesk Pro. The top of my custom oak desk is at 30" which is higher than most desks. The keyboard drawer for my oak desk sits 5" below that. With the Varidesk, my sitting height keyboard is now at 30.75" which made it too high for my desk chair. After visiting a number of office furniture showrooms, I settled on a HON Ignition Task Stool which can adjust between 24" and 35". Most task chairs only cover 18" to 22" which was too low. Now I can even sit while the Varidesk is in the standing position but I am not sure that I ever will. The chair has a foot ring but I prefer to have my legs a bit more forward. Fortunately, I have that P.O.S. Mercury Elite-AL Pro QX2 from OWC that I gave up on using (See my article RAID the hard way) and its aluminum housing is the perfect height for a foot rest. This is the best the QX2 has ever performed.

They offer a free timer app to remind you every hour to switch between sitting and standing. The app did not install on OSX 10.6.8 so I found another free app, Howler Timer, at Apple's app store to do the job. Of course, any kind of timer will do. I find that without the reminder, many hours can slip by before I know it. Use the reminder to not only change the working height of the Varidesk but use the disruption to move around. Your back and your eyes will appreciate the change.

I am very pleased with this purchase and highly recommend it. The folks at Varidesk were extremely helpful and offer a great product. It appears to be well engineered and built. All models of Varidesk come completely assembled. Just set it on your working surface and enjoy.