I previously wrote about the desk chair, now for the desk. For centuries a piece of furniture you sit in front of. New health studies are finding that many of us are sitting ducks, and that sitting can be quite harmful to our health. The answer is a new interpretation called the standing desk - a piece of furniture we stand in front of. I opted to create a dual work posture environment - I call it a Stitting Desk.
As with most solutions, the standing desk solves some problems but introduces others. Standing is more work, and it is tiring to stand all day. You can get adjustable standing desks that rise and lower for sitting, but they are typically over $1000 just for the work surface. Even if you have the room, working at a standing desk is an unknown for most of us, and $1000 is too much.
My solution was a DYI stitting desk.
For the standing portion, I built the desk out of Ikea parts for about $20. See this site. It is quite simple. The desk is a small side table that has a shelf bolted on its front legs. The table top is for the monitor, and the shelf is for the keyboard and mouse. The whole thing sits atop a regular desk. Some people like to raise the monitor a little higher with a book or spacer. I put this standing setup on top of my desk just adjacent to where I sit - in front of my drawers. Because the keyboard sits on a shelf, there’s room for my feet in front of the drawers.
I used to have a sitting portion with two monitors. Now I have two separate workstations (sitting and standing) each with their own single (but large) monitor. Actually, each has its own keyboard and mouse too. It is two separate workstations, but one computer.
I use a Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse which support up to 6 devices per receiver. Two monitors and two mice makes four devices (room for more). The computer also needs to support two monitors - either in extended desktop or mirrored modes. Mirrored is simple if you have identical monitors - I went with extended.
With two large monitors at different heights, the mouse can be a bit hard to find. Two quick adjustments in the Mouse settings solved this problem. I added mouse trails to make seeing the mouse movement a little easier. I am not a big fan of mouse trails, so I keep them on the shortest setting making them barely noticeable. I also set it so that pressing CTRL beacons the mouse location.
I thought I was done here, but there was the problem of the Windows Taskbar. I am accustomed to the task bar along the bottom of the display. With extended view, my minimized apps were only on the primary monitor. I bought third-party software to “mirror” my taskbar on the extended monitor. I went with Actual Multiple Monitors. The software actually does quite a bit, but I have it dumbed-down to its simplest mode. I use Windows-key / to move applications from one monitor to the other.
I do like standing. I try to stand until about lunch. Standing is great on conference calls, but not for video calls. My only outstanding issue is just one webcam. I could have two, but then I’d have to reconfigure the applications each time I move. Instead, I just sit (so I don’t have to explain the standing). My primary speakers are at the sitting desk, but they are good enough quality that I can hear them in both positions.
The stitting desk works well, moving from one desk to the other is simple - Windows key and / moves the work and I move myself. Both keyboards and mice are active and waiting to be used.
All said and done the solution was less than $200 for software, second keyboard, second mouse, and Ikea furniture.
If you have a big enough desk for two workstations, I do recommend this configuration. Apologies for no photos - I considered it, but my desk is just too messy and too personal.