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Stand-Up Desk Experiment

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standing desk

It’s been about two months now since I’ve switched over to my standing desk here at school…and although the view of the white wall in front of me along with the discarded non-fiction books that are heading to better places isn’t the best view….the standing has been fantastic.There is a lot of reading out there about standing desks. I particularly like this one with the links in it as well. After reading this article I contacted B&G here at my school and had them move in this fantastic table. Each of our classrooms have a table like this that can be raised and lowered to any hight you want. It’s really the perfect size and I might just take it with me when I leave.



My setup (all school issued):

A Henge Dock for my MacBook Pro (A bit fussy but the best thing out there I think)

A LED 21-inch LG monitor 1920x1080px. Fantastic and not that expensive.

Computer Speakers, keyboard, bluetooth mouse.

The box my computer is sitting on was just here in the office so I’m using it just to get my monitor up to eye level.


The Benefits I’m seeing:

More active: For me there is something to already standing to do the little things such as drink more water. The water cooler is maybe 15 feet away from my desk…now that I’m standing I’m drinking more water. I can click a link, wait for a page to load walk over fill my water bottle and come back. The walk feels good on the legs and I’m already standing…there is something mental to it….for me anyway.

Less Shoulder Stress: I get massages at least once a week (don’t judge me I live in Asia). Before standing I use to have big knots all along my upper back and shoulders. Since standing they have all gone away and my back overall feels better.

Knees and Feet: The first week my knees and feet ached along with parts of my legs I didn’t know existed. But after about a week they don’t bother me anymore. The body has adjusted and I’m feeling good standing for most of my day. Everything I read said be prepared for this. I was and was able to battle through it. 

Appreciate Sitting: Meetings aren’t that bad anymore…I welcome the 30 minute meeting as it gives me a chance to sit and relax. 

Walking is key: When my legs or feet start to ache I know I’ve spent to much time at the computer and not enough time out and about. Because of my job of helping teachers in their classrooms I’m walking a lot anyway, but if I’m at my computer for too long my feet let me know about it.

As I think about my office setup in my new life I’m definitely going to be sticking with the standing desk.

How about for kids?  As I’ve been standing I’ve been thinking why we don’t allow kids to stand if they want. Kids in Middle School or High School probably sit for 4 to 6 hours a day and many times for 60-90 minutes at a time. It wouldn’t take much to put a tall desk or two in a room in the back in case a student wanted to stand through a class. Would it really be that bad? Anyone doing this already?

I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. linc jackson Reply

    Great idea. I have a lab station (teacher station) that is about the same height. Sometimes I stand and sometimes I sit on the bar stool I had made. (You know you are in Indonesia when it is cheaper to have a bar stool made from scratch by hand than it is to buy a new one from a department store!)

    In general it works great because I can see most of the stations and the main screen.

  2. Alan Stange Reply

    I have three standing desks in my classroom. They are used almost continually. Students share them. Where ever did we get the idea that children, adolescents and adults should sit in uncomfortable chairs for five hours?

  3. Matt Grieve Reply

    Thanks for the idea Jeff, I just got a new chair this academic year after putting in countless work order requests over two years to replace my broken computer chair.

  4. I built my standing desk at the beginning of the school year- I simply built an Ikea TV stand on top of my regular desk. It works brilliantly because my computer is at eye-level, but my keyboard is at a comfortable level for my arms. It also creates lots of great shelf space for external drives, my inbox and outbox for a little dead tree paperwork, and a space for my laptop. I can even keep my coffee mug on a separate level so that it doesn’t endanger my electronics.

    Here it is:

    • Jeff Utecht Reply

      Great looking desk! Have a feeling that’s what mine will look like next year. Hope all is well in Shanghai!

  5. Hey Jeff,

    I know we’ve talked about this before and I know there are a few people at NIST that have made the switch and from what I’ve heard, they’re very happy with the results. Before my life as a teacher, I worked in sales and I can remember the first few days of starting a new job where I had to stand all day. I would come home with my feet and back aching, just wanting nothing more than to sit down. After a few days though, that all disappears and you actually come home feeling more energized.

    I have been meaning to get down to the properties area to have a look at what they might have available as a standing solution. I see for your solution that you’ve attached an external monitor to help position the screen at eye level which makes sense. Typically, I have my laptop hooked up to the SMARTboard during lesson times. Any thoughts about how I could stay connected to the SMARTboard but maintain an ergonomically comfortable viewing and typing situation?



    • I’m not sure if I was over-thinking or under-thinking things but an external keyboard is a much easier solution than an external monitor. When’s our next holiday? 🙂

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  7. Good idea. Personally, I often mark exams and essays standing at our dining room timetable. I have the tasks spread out before me. I remain more focused and keen to push on with the activity. A drink is just a few steps away.

  8. Christina B. Reply

    LOVE IT!!! Since moving to an office this year as Curriculum Coordinator, I have been totally fantasizing about just such a set up!

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  10. I love the idea and it makes sense! It would be something worth trying!

  11. Dennis McCuistion Reply

    In my opinion, this should be the standard for the teaching profession.

  12. Gwen Martin Reply

    My stand-up desk was a great idea until about day 4. My lower back decided it no longer wanted to stand up. Took 2 trips to the chiropractor and some lovely little green pills to convince my back it would hold me up again. I have reverted. Toying with a high desk that has a great “back” friendly chair that can change elevations.

  13. The clinical research also indicated that both sitting and standing for long periods each have their own distinct disadvantages. It seems that one important key to better health is to not commit to going totally sitting or standing but to keep moving.

    • Jeff Utecht Reply

      Agree…and what I have found is by standing I walk and move more. I’m already standing so walking to get a glass of water, or to have a conversation seems easier….I know it’s mental but it works for me. Also working in a school I get plenty of time to sit in meetings. 🙂

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