Bring Ergonomics to Your Home Office with This Standing Desk Converter—Your Back will Thank You
Sitting down on the job for too long can cause your back to quit on you. Give your spine a break with this standing desk converter.
The average office worker sits for an astounding 15 hours a day. My wife, who works from a home office, is one of those many millions of Americans rooted to their office chairs from 9 to 5 every weekday. All that sitting was taking its toll on her back. After a visit to an orthopedist revealed the damage that may have been caused by her many hours of sitting, we knew it was time for us to stand up and take action, specifically with this sub-$125 desk converter from Amazon.
We started by moving her computer to the elevated kitchen island bar so she could stand while working. Because she didn’t want to give up the custom desk we had recently built for our home office, we knew this wouldn’t be a permanent fix. We came to the long-term solution when we discovered standing desk converters.
Why stand to work?
I’m a bit of a skeptic regarding standing desks, so I wanted to do a little research before we committed. I started with a deep dive into what exactly it is about sitting that’s so bad for your body. It turns out there’s a good reason why those human evolution charts don’t show man resting on his posterior. We’re not meant to do it, and not just because our ancient predecessors were too busy running from predators and searching for food to sit down.
Excessive sitting shortens your hip flexors, leg muscles that are responsible for important movements like walking. Even worse, sitting can cause the discs in your spine to compress, leading to premature disc degeneration and a life of chronic pain. There are a whole host of other unpleasant maladies that result from sitting all day, including atrophied leg muscles, varicose veins, and heart disease, to name just a few.
Thoroughly convinced (and spooked) by my research, I no longer considered standing desks something reserved for trendy open office spaces at Silicon Valley tech companies.
Stand and deliver (a standing desk converter to my wife).
For those unfamiliar with ergonomic office equipment, a standing desk converter is essentially a desktop that sits atop an existing desk. A mechanism on the desk converter allows the user to raise it to standing height. Because my wife’s work requires her to use two monitors, we knew we needed a standing desk converter wide enough to accommodate both. She also wanted one that she could raise or lower without having to struggle.
Stand in the place where you work.
We decided on the Vivo standing desk converter for two reasons: its size and ease of use. At almost 32 inches wide, the Vivo has plenty of space to accommodate both monitors. We also liked its double-tiered design: A lower surface sits 3 inches below the spacious upper tier so the keyboard is always perfectly situated, whether the converter is at desk level or at its maximum 20-inch height. At close to 12 inches deep, this lower tier is large enough to accommodate a standard keyboard along with a mouse and pad. Best of all, a hydraulic arm does all the heavy lifting with its powerful 33 pounds of upward force.
An upstanding desk.
Assembling the desk converter was easy. It took less than 30 minutes and required only the included hex wrench. The desk is surprisingly heavy, thanks to the beefy metal tubes that make up the bulk of the raising and lowering mechanism and the desk’s broad base.
The desk converter’s two tiers are made of thick pressboard, which adds to its overall weight. While we tend to associate pressboard with cheaper furniture, these surfaces are faced with a hard plastic veneer on both sides and around the edges, so they feel like they could withstand a fair amount of abuse.
The desk converter has to support a laptop and monitor, a full-size keyboard, and any weight the user applies to it when resting their hands on the keyboard. Given the amount of weight that would be on the desk, one of my chief concerns was how stable the desk would be when fully loaded and in a standing position. Would it be too top-heavy and potentially tumble over?
Let me start by saying this desk is built like a rock. With a weight of nearly 30 pounds, much of which is in the base, the desk converter stays firmly rooted to the surface it’s sitting on. I tested it by placing my forearms on the top surface and leaning my body weight on it. Aside from a slight flexing of the lower tray, it didn’t budge.
A standing ovation.
Given all that weight holding the desk firmly to the surface beneath it, I was a little skeptical that the hydraulic arm would provide the necessary force to raise the desk converter. If my wife had to deadlift this desk to get it to a standing position, it would pretty much defeat the purpose of having it. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case. The stout hydraulic arm provides all the force needed to raise the desk. My wife also likes the easy-to-operate handle that allows her to lock the desk in at any height up to its 20-inch maximum by simply squeezing and releasing.
Although my wife loves this desk’s ability to essentially raise itself, the hydraulic arm is so strong that it actually makes pushing the desk back down a bit of a chore. Initially, the amount of force required to lower the desk was a bit too much for my wife. When she was ready to return to a seated position, I had to lower the desk for her. However, this was mainly because of her back injury. Now that she has healed and gotten stronger, she no longer has difficulty lowering the desk on her own. That relatively minor gripe aside, this standing desk is a great option for those looking to untether themselves from their office chair from time to time but who don’t want to give up their standard desk.