DIY Standing Desk

POSTED BY DANNY CHOO On Tue 2015/11/03 20:20 JST in Desk Diary

For the past 6 weeks or so I've been working at my standing desk. Today I'm going to go over how I DIY'ed it for about 8000 yen (about 65 USD at today's rate) using table tops from IKEA and a bunch of cardboard boxes and also talk about why on earth I would want to stand all day working on a computer.

As some of you may know, I have an illness called Spinal Hernia which brings about a condition called Sciatica where one (or more) of the discs in the spine touches the sciatic nerve causing pain to run down the leg. The pain can vary from slight numbness to a can-somebody-please-shoot-me-and-get-me-out-of-this-misery degree.

Many variables can bring on what I call a Sciatica Attack and after lying in bed for a week after the most recent bout, I came to a few conclusions about Sciatica from info on the Internets.

I usually had Sciatica attacks when in Japan - never when I'm overseas and I currently spend nearly half a year traveling outside of Japan for work. I took a look at what I did in Japan that I didn't do when overseas.

1. As with most oppai fans, I drink a lot of milk - in my tea, coffee and with cereal. Outside of Japan, I don't always get to drink milk especially when in Asia as Asia seems to be more of a Soy Milk culture rather than the moo moo variety.

2. I drink coffee - not a heavy drinker but usually once a day.

3. I sit down a lot - in front of the mac managing projects, writing and researching.

4. I don't walk long distances - I try to save as much time as possible so I had been using the electric skateboard to get to work. On the board, all I do is lean back n forth to turn corners.

The Internets say that a reduction of caffeine is recommended for folks who have sciatica but I can't see a direct relation. There is also nothing to suggest that oppai, I mean milk, has anything to do with spinal hernia - unless one is unfortunate enough to get their back squashed by oppai on a daily basis.

Sitting down a lot and hardly using my legs to walk seems to be a major factor in my case. Right before my last sciatica attack, I was down in front of my mac over the weekend for hours on end - I woke up the following Monday experiencing the most physical pain that I had ever been through. I say "physical" but I realized that I was being damaged mentally too as fighting the pain requires a lot of brain juice.

I recovered (for now) after two injections to the spine - this blocks the pain and allows me to continue with my daily activities which stimulates the herniated disc to heal. This photo was taken that Monday morning before the first injection.

I never ever want to go through that pain again and as soon as I recovered I started to get a phobia from sitting down for prolonged periods. To remedy this I decided to get a standing desk.

I will talk about Sciatica treatment in Japan in another post but for now its onto how I put together my standing desk.

IKEA have a nice electric height adjustable desk called BEKANT but they don't sell it in any of their stores in Japan - I guess it's because doing desk work while standing has not really taken off over here - even after Canon Electronics made their employees stand up while working to save on the cost of chairs.

Here I am at the Kohoku branch filling up on Smart Doll inventory supplies and some LINNMON desks.

The next thing I need are some cardboard boxes - the ones we use for shipping Smart Doll are just the right height.

Our outerbox is double corrugated to protect the items in the event that a wild baboon sat on one - unfortunately not strong enough to withstand the weight of a rhinoceros though.

First we take a look at how I put together the standing desk at home. Ebony-chan helps with the box assembly.

All boxes assembled - the last step is to apply the stickers that we have for each character.

Next step is to stack the boxes on the table. I was thinking about using double sided tape to secure the boxes in place but I found that the weight of the monitor is enough to prevent the tabletop from sliding around.

The final step is to sandwich the boxes with another LINNMON on top - done!

This week I shifted the table to be in the same position as it was 10 years ago when I started this company.

Meanwhile back in the office - this is what my workspace used to look like.

Some folks say that the chairs we use in the office are not the most ergonomical for lumbar support but then I see many conflicting opinions regarding how one should be sat at their desk - some say sitting upright while some say leaning slightly back. Even doctors will come up with their own opinions of how one should be sat.

The conclusion I came up with is that one should at least be sitting upright and make an effort not to slouch as it's the curved back during a slouch that contributes to the spinal discs being pushed out.

No matter what chair I sit in, it's difficult for me to focus on keeping my back upright while focusing on work at the same time - I would prefer to stand and focus on work.

While I prefer to stand while working, I do make a point of sitting down from time to time to work which I will do at the kitchen table at home or communal tables at work.

My elbows rest nicely on the table surface which is a comfy working position for me.

Mirai-chan with the new "doing something" frill t-shirt for Smart Dolls.

The gap on this side convenient for hiding biscuits and attachment of the headphone rest-vice and lamp.

More space for stuff on the sides too - I use my slot to keep my speaker.
And before you mention it - the boxes on my side were made by me and the boxes with crooked tape were done by my colleague ^^

Got a handy space down here to store bits n pieces.

One of my colleagues also has a back problem too - after trying the standing desk for a day, he decided that he wanted one too.
While we do have communal tables to sit at, he prefers to stay put and sit like this which looks silly but I guess it makes sense - some how ^^

He also uses the gap between the tables to hide his iPhone when sending messages to school girls - the arms you see in this photo are fake - his arms are actually in the gap ^^

I'm not ninja enough to touch type so need to look at the keyboard from time to time but I do try to use my Dell as the main monitor which keeps my line of sight facing forwards instead of looking down at the MacBook screen.

By the way - I find that the color on the Dell is terrible even after calibrating - any of you have the same probs?

And this is where our standing desk is now - the previous space is now occupied by our photo studio which has a nice wall for Speedlight bounce photography. I will take you around the new office layout in the next Desk Diary.

While I was doing research on standing desks, I saw articles about how sitting down while computing was compared to smoking and how it's apparently killing us softly.

I also read about how many people try the standing desk thing for a while and give up because they get too tired. I did get very tired from time to time and tried to figure out why seeing that I used to stand up for 12 hours on end working at a Japanese restaurant without feeling tired.

I saw a trend and compared it to my time as a waiter. I noticed that I didn't feel tired when I had a load of tasks at hand to get though which was when I was most focused.
On the other hand I would start to feel tired when I was doing browsing research - during this mode I'm absorbing information rather than focusing on a task.

After 6 weeks of working at my standing desk so far, I have not had a single Sciatica attack. My toes do feel numb not no pain. I also feel must accustomed to standing when working and hardly get tired even during that "research" mode.

These days I also prefer to walk rather than bike it to and from work which is probably contributing to my recovery too.

How do you work at home and work? Any of you using a standing desk?
Which reminds me - I'm supposed to be working on a new series of OTACOOL focusing on worldwide workspaces again><