Home Office Design: Sitting Kills You: Is a Standing Desk the Solution?

Last week, at a presentation for Betsy Trethewey’s professional sales seminar for realtors, several people asked me about standing desks in home office design. There is a lot of coverage in the media (“Sitting Kills You”) on the fact that sitting for a long time on a daily basis (most people’s worklife) has a negative impact on your health   The suggested solutions are treadmill desks (at $4000 each) and standing desks.

man standing at standing desk made of IKEA coffee table and attached shelf

Take a break from sitting with a DIY standing desk

As someone who works at home as an entrepreneur, small business owner or freelancer, you can set up your home office to meet your needs. You can use a standing desk full-time or as a change of pace from your regular desk. Please note: Standing in one place all day also has negative health effects such as varicose veins and low back pain.

Lifehacker cited an article last week about a $30 DIY IKEA hack to make your own standing desk add-on for your regular desk or a nearby table. The shelf for the keyboard is big enough for a foam wrist rest – not used by the person in the photo – and your mouse, which adds to the ergonomic benefits. Two questions about this set-up: Are the tables heavy enough to off-set the weight of your wrists and arms resting on the shelf?  Can this be modified if you are not as tall as the person in the photo appears to be?

If DIY is not your style, here is a simpler, custom-made, well-priced standing desk. It is designed to be used as both a standing desk, and a sitting desk with an architect’s chair.

There is no silver bullet product for comfortable and productive work in your home office. No one desk, chair or peripheral will solve all problems. Does a standing desk help your back and allow you to move around as your work? Or would your back, health, and problem-solving inspirations be better served with a solo walk  or walking meeting? Experiment. See what works best for you. You are the best judge.

If you would like more tips on working with a standing desk, check out The Smarter Home Office: 8 Simple Steps to Increase Your Income, Inspiration and Comfort .

photo by colin_n


  1. The standing desk is a great idea – even with the warnings it’s got to be better than sitting all day. I’ve heard of using a step machine whilst at a standing desk for a cheaper version of the treadmill desks.

    • John-
      Thanks for your comment and sharing the idea about using a step machine instead of a treadmill. That is new to me. I am trying to imagine working while using a step machine and all I can picture is your head going up and down…along with your shoulders, arms and hands. That may be a bit of a challenge to work at a computer this way. It may work well if you do a lot of telephone work and have a headset and are not doing typing or writing. Or if you use voice-recognition software.

      I will be posting a blog about ergonomics for the standing desk in the near future.

  2. Haha! I haven’t used the step machine myself – though I can imagine there’d be a knack for using your computer whilst stepping that not all of us would have!