Re-Engineering My Office: Walking and Working

In my last post on sitting less and feeling better, I promised I would tell you which desk I bought, why I bought it, and how it’s going. I’ll cover all of that in this post, along with some general info on standing desks and exercise desks and a few tips on tread-desking.

With that, off we go! 🙂

My New Office Setup

With all of the current research and general conversation on how sitting all day kills us, I was initially interested in a standing desk, but I ended up buying a treadmill desk and I love it.

So, with no further ado, here’s my setup:
2014-04-05 19.37.27

  • UpLift Treadmill Desk (60×30″ with 3 grommets)
  • Lifespan TR-1200 treadmill (upgraded from standard Lifespan TR-800)
  • Monitor arm (not yet installed in the pic above)
  • Laptop stand
  • Keyboard tray
  • Wire management system
  • Ergohuman chair
  • Optional – office dog and dog bed

With the exception of the laptop stand and the dog, I purchased everything listed above together from The Human Solution in order to get discounted pricing.

For those who are curious, the laptop stand is a Roost (Christmas gift courtesy of my employer) and I’m using a MacBook Pro 13″ Retina with a Logitech K750 keyboard and Logitech M510 mouse.

Standing Desk and Exercise Desk Options

Back just a few years ago, there weren’t very many good options for people who wanted a standing desk, but now that the research on the ill effects of sitting has been hitting the mainstream, standing desks are all the rage. Which means you have a lot of great options, including:

  • Dedicated standing desks: fixed-position desks set at standing height. You can purchase one or build one yourself.
  • Manual height-adjustable desks: these typically have a crank mechanism to raise and lower the desk, allowing you to sit or stand. They are almost always less expensive than their electric counterparts.
  • Electric height-adjustable desks: desks powered by a motor to raise and lower the desk at the push of a button. Most of them also have the ability to set position memory, so you can “memorize” your preferred height to sit or stand.
  • Desktop converters: platforms that sit on top of your existing desk and usually use a lever/scissor-lift combo or hand dials to raise and lower the platform.
  • Exercise desks: height-adjustable treadmill desks and bike desks.

Of course, you can cobble together your own solution using existing furniture or equipment, a little ingenuity, and a few bucks.

Check out reviews and talk to folks who have standing desks to see what they like or don’t like about their desk. In my previous post, I included links to this “Best Standing Desks” list from Lifehacker and a great standing desk review from Wirecutter that were both very helpful. I also have several co-workers who have standing desks, so I talked to them or read their posts too.

A few options to check out are GeekDesk, UpDesk, NextDesk, and UpLift (which is what I bought). This is by no means an exhaustive list – just some of the popular lines of standing and exercise desks.

Things I Considered in My Purchasing Decision Process

Dedicated Standing Desks

I wanted a desk that would give me the option to choose to sit or stand at different points during the day. That means that dedicated standing desks were out.

Manual Versus Electric Adjustable Desks

I have a laptop, a large external monitor, keyboard, and mouse and I knew that I needed something that’s super-easy to go from sitting to standing and wouldn’t require me to move my computer setup to do it. I know myself well enough to know that if it’s inconvenient, at some point, I’ll stop doing it. I know that probably sounds amazingly lazy, but it’s honest.

So, manually adjustable desks were out. Likewise any DIY setups that would mean I would need to move my computer from a standing setup to a sitting setup.

Desktop Converters

I considered modifying my current furniture, but my original desk has a hutch, which makes it impossible for me to raise a monitor to standing height since it would hit the hutch. It’s a corner desk and without the hutch, there’s a huge open space behind it since it doesn’t go all the way back to the corner – not only does it look funny without the hutch, but that giant gap was perfect for me to unwittingly push my stuff off the back of the desk. Not good.

So, “conversion” gear, like Varidesk and Ergo Desktop, was out too. As I noted in my previous post, those might be great options for those with budget constraints or who work in a traditional office environment and need to use existing furniture.

Desk Shape and Size…Oh, and My Budget, Of Course

In pretty short order, I had narrowed things down to electric height-adjustable desks. Friends, there are tons of those to choose from if you just need a standard rectangular desk. If you need an odd-shaped desk or a corner desk, your choices are much fewer.

The next factor was budget. I wanted to stay as close to $2,000 USD range as possible, including a good ergonomic chair.

Exercise Desks

The clincher was the treadmill.

Adding a treadmill to my list of requirements narrowed things down considerably. The options for height-adjustable treadmill desks are fairly limited and buying the desk and treadmill separately was often out of my price range. My search for a tread desk ultimately led me to The Human Solution.

Why a Treadmill Desk?

As I read more and more about standing and working, I started coming across some newer information indicating that walking and working was even better. In addition to burning calories and all of the other health benefits associated with walking, it’s also supposedly better than standing all day for the simple reason that movement helps prevent strain or stress on joints associated with staying in a relatively fixed position. Some studies also show that movement helps keep you alert during the day and may boost your mental energy too.

 Questions, Comments, or Curiosity?

Leave a comment here on this post and I’ll be happy to answer any questions I can about standing desks or exercise desks.

Cheers to a healthier 2014!

4 thoughts on “Re-Engineering My Office: Walking and Working

  1. Nice review. Just dived into this myself. Should be an interesting endeavor.

    I bought a cheap treadmill off of Craigslist, which I set to the left of my existing desk. I also bought a couple shelves that I’m mounting my laptop and a monitor on. Finally, a pretty simple board holds my “desk”, which is for my keyboard, trackpad, phone and a drink.


    1. Thanks! Sounds like you’ve got a pretty nice setup too. As long as you’re comfortable, DIY can be a great option. I use my treadmill for 3-4 hours a day during the week – it makes a big difference in my energy level. Good luck and let me know how your treadmill experiment goes!


Tell us what's on your mind!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s