Since we moved, I have had to make a few changes to my office. The giant corner workstation that formerly housed my office in the corner of our master bedroom doesn’t fit in the “library” of our new house. The ceiling is sloped in this room, and so the 6′ high work station was a no go. Sorry, Alve.
Crazy Long Back Story:
When Ross and I bought when we first moved in together, we moved into a crappy rental in Vancouver for a year. At the time I think Ross planned to go to UBC and I was working in Burnaby, so Cambie and 29th made sense. However, the rental was weird – the owner lived upstairs but usually stayed at the donut shop she owned (fun fact: that donut shop is now a Thai joint and it’s about 300 yards from our new house) or was in Hong Kong visiting her son. We called her “HiCaroline” because whenever she called (and she’d always call Ross) she’d start the conversation with “HiCaroline”.
Anyway, the rental was weird – you’d come in the front door and there was a living room with a giant exposed stone fireplace whose only function was apparently to act as a giant draft tube in the winter. Walk down the hall and you had bedroom number one and number two on the right, and miniature shower-only bathroom on the left. At the end of the hall was the kitchen/laundry room. Now, don’t get me wrong. Those European folks who install their laundry facilities in the kitchen actually have it right, as far as I’m concerned. BUT. They also know how to arrange the room so that you know, you don’t have to climb on the stove to get to the washing machine in the corner, and how if you need to open the dryer door, you have to do this janky thing with your hand to make sure it fits past the oven door handle. And they do crazy stuff, like install a drawer for cutlery.
The kitchen also lacked anywhere to eat. So, we ate in the living room, at the exact opposite end of the hall, a lot. We also went out a lot – as DINKs in jet setting Vancouver there was never a shortage of choices. But, you know, occasionally I like to sit at a table.
So, with about 18 inches, we settled on a little kitchen cart and we would sit at opposite ends of the cart on too-low chairs and eat our breakfast.
When we bought the townhouse in New Westminster, we brought the faithful little kitchen cart with us. It became a bar cart as we entertained in our fancy new house – housing martini shakers, booze, stir sticks, and little cocktail napkins. It lived in the corner of our kitchen and actually provided some additional much needed counter space Then, came Kale and the cart was stripped of its party status in the Great Baby Proofing Sweep of 2008 and all of the little bar bits and pieces were reassigned to other household locations.
So, now we’re here at Nootka House. And with a large, bright, well designed kitchen, the sad little cart had no use. And since I had no way to use my Alve Corner Workstation Office Shutter-Inner, the kitchen cart cum bar cart has become my office.
Everything is set up for me. I’m left handed. So, the mouse lives to the left of the keyboard. This drives Ross crazy and I have essentially ensured he never uses this computer. He brings home his work laptop if ever he needs to do computer work (which is usually for work anyway, so he needs whats on his harddrive anyway).
But the whole point of all this unbelievably long back story is this: I’m discovering I like to stand up to work.
At first I had a crappy little stool with no back that I picked up from the Big Box Store That Shall Not Be Named until I found this taller wooden stool with a back. I actually bought it at a local consignment shop, but discovered it was actually yet another Ikea product. Seriously, as much as I want to hate Ikea, I have a lot of their stuff because it fits. I like this new wooden stool – it’s relatively comfortable and is the right height.
But I’m discovering more and more that when I come to do work, I stand at the computer for upwards of an hour, then sit for a bit, and then stand again and switch back and forth. Then someone I follow on Twitter (apologies, I don’t remember who so I can’t link to you) posted a link to this article, which essentially says that sitting all day at a 9 to 5er is terrible for your health. It’s based on this article at USA Today. I’m finding that while standing I actually move around a fair amount – bopping to music or lifting one foot and resting it on the lower shelf of the cart.
I thought I was weird! But apparently this is becoming more and more common. Here’s a bunch of articles about standing desks:
- Treehugger tackles it
- 37 Signals writes about his experience
- Lifehacker tells you how to make one for $20
- Harvard Business Review also shares
- Good old Wikipedia
- The New York Times blogger Olivia Judson (this post also lists some actual scientific references)
While not everyone would want the same office set up, I find this set up is really working for me. I’m actually considering getting a custom made built in done at the same time as getting the bedroom built in done – there are a few things this little kitchen cart lacks and I think if it was maybe 4-6″ higher I would probably never actually sit again.
So, if you’re considering an office redesign for a work from home setting, consider a standing desk.