Rising to the occasion: Sit-to-Stand desks review

The Ergotron WorkFit-S

by Alison Budge

What an interesting experience this is turning out to be! The Ergotron WorkFit-S is a top of the range sit-to-stand desk, and the one that the experts at Ergonomics Direct recommended I start with. The reason being that starting to stand while working is already a new concept for the body that takes some getting used to, so the easiest tool that facilitates this is the best tool.

I am a business writer and editor, so I am behind my computer for maaaaaany hours a day. Recent sessions at a physio were a bit of a wake-up call, in how tight some of my muscles were and how weak others were, as a result of sitting for so long daily and my posture while I do it.

My current setup

original-setup 

I use a laptop on a laptop stand positioned to the left of me (I never work directly on the laptop), a separate and large screen positioned directly in front of me, and a wireless keyboard and mouse, also directly in front of me. I sit on a wheely chair, facing straight on to the desk, with my screen and keyboard directly in front of me.

 

WorkFit-S desk set up

ergotron-workfit-s-setup

  • The actual WorkFit-S desk is an absolute winner, so easy to adjust between sitting and standing.
  • While it is quite big on first sight, the setup was super quick and super easy. You literally clamp it onto the front of your desk, adjust the heights of the keyboard tray and the screen and you’re good to go.
  • The hardest part was trying to figure out how to take the stand off my screen, to attach the screen to the WorkFit-S desk. (Almost as hard was trying to find the instruction manual for my screen and a screw driver in my garage…)
  • Something that I didn’t realise I would need was to adjust the screen to keyboard distance to get my posture right, and that was so much easier than expected – simply an easy slide of the screen down within a groove.
  • The whole structure is quite big and protrudes from the front of the desk; this is only an issue if your office space is limited.
  • The keyboard and mouse tray angle relative to the body can be adjusted by simply tilting the tray, to ensure a ‘downward slope’ from the elbow to the wrist to the fingers. This prevents wrist strain and feels so natural once it is at the right angle.
  • The mouse pad on the WorkFit-S is a bit small for my needs, which has taken a bit of getting used to.
  • There are a number of accessories available; I would definitely invest in a document holder for when I refer to documents and type, which I do regularly.

 

Week 1 done and dusted

So, after a week of alternating between standing and sitting, here’s what I’ve learnt:

 

  • My legs are stronger than I thought and I can stand for longer periods than I anticipated, about 45-60 mins.
  • My feet are weaker than I thought! I stand quite rooted on the floor (thanks Tai Chi) and so the lack of movement and the weight of my body means less circulation and more ‘fat feet’. I used a small box to rest a foot on alternately and consciously moved them more in order to increase circulation.
  • When I got tired, I had thought that I would stick a hip out sideways to compensate, instead I found myself pushing my tum out frontwards (!!!! I know, right???). When I caught myself doing that, I sat down.
  • I was given a ‘wobble chair’ to use as well, as a half-way stop between standing and sitting. You perch your bum against it for support, but still use your legs to hold some of your body weight. I’m finding this concept quite challenging as I can’t quite get my position correct on the chair nor the correct position of the chair on the floor without moving it around a couple of times. I don’t think I’ve got the optimal height as yet, so I keep adjusting that, and will persevere. (And yet a friend sat on it and immediately said how fantastic it was and it’s something she would definitely consider for her back. Price: R3300)
  • I was also given a wrist rest to try, and I love love love this! Why have I never had one of these before?? It provides soft support to the bottom of your hands while typing, maintaining the correct positioning of your hands and wrists relative to your lower arm. It feels so natural that I am not sure I am prepared to give this one back!
  • It has been a true test of my touch typing ability… having the keyboard low to ensure the correct posture of your shoulders, arms, wrists and hands means you can’t look down at the keyboard, you need to look straight ahead at the screen. Looking down places too much strain on your neck. I do touch type, but never realised how much I actually do look at my hands whether from necessity or habit, so have had to tighten up on my typing. This desk will be a real challenge if you can’t touch type yet.
  • I definitely have reduced shoulder pain when standing compared to sitting. When fatigued at the beginning of the week, I felt pain between my shoulder blades, at bra strap height, so I would sit to recover. By the end of the week, this was definitely    less so.
  • An unexpected benefit: by remaining standing for a large part of the day, my mentality is that I am working really fast, and getting so much done. It has been noticeable in my thought process: “Let me just quickly do this… I’ll quickly send this off… I’m up anyway, let me make a quick phone call…” A very interesting concept of which I am now cognisant and will be monitoring.
  • Another unexpected effect: I haven’t really felt the effect of standing in my calves much, however, I went stand-up paddling recently, and wow, felt my sore calves while balancing on the board, so I must be working them while standing more than     I think.

 

All in all, I think the Ergotron WorkFit-S is a fantastic desk which I could definitely get used to. It is so incredibly easy to adjust between the different positions, as is adjusting the screen height to keyboard, and adjusting the angle of the keyboard, all for good posture. The challenge exists for people who can’t touch type, as looking down at the keyboard places undue strain on your neck. The investment needed is approximately R9500, so the desk, including keyboard stand and mouse pad. Other accessories are extra.

 

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