Any experience with a Sit-Stand desk?
Thread poster: Zohar CHABAUD

Zohar CHABAUD  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:23
Member (2013)
English to Hebrew
+ ...
Nov 17, 2017

Hi there,

Before purchasing a new desk, I'd like to know if you have any experience, as a full time translator, with a sit-stand desk?
I recently had some back problems and changed my chair, but now I would like to take it even further and see for an ergonomic desk as well.

My hesitation comes from the fact that I don't want to it affect my productivity; I am wondering if one can efficiently translate while standing up for a long time.

If not, any insights about the right height for a 'traditional' desk? other tips?
Thanks,
Zohar


 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:23
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
some quick info Nov 17, 2017

Hi Zohar,

I don't have much time as I am busy translating, but let me just say that I bought one a while ago and am very happy with it. I must admit that I spend most of my time translating while sitting, although I do raise it once in a while when I get sick of sitting. Once you get the desk you will soon realize that certain tasks are better suited to sitting and/or standing, and that you will probably prefer to sit or stand at different parts of the day. For example, sometimes after sitting for a long time I get so sick of sitting, and my back starts to hurt, so I then raise the table and can happily continue working for quite a bit. Other days, I might start the day standing, and then later moved to a sitting position.

In any case, it was definitely worth the investment. Another benefit is that a desk like this also allows you to finally adjust the sitting height, which is something normal desks cannot do. This can be very useful in helping to prevent RSI, because translating at a desk that is just a little bit too high or low can be very bad for RSI. With an electrically adjustable desk like the one I have this can be easily fixed.

Another fun thing about translating while standing up is that dictating is even more fun. I can basically walk around in front of my desk while translating and occasionally looking out the window.

Michael

PS: I have this one:

n0ohmboykfjwehiee3l1.pnghttps://www.posturite.co.uk/deskrite-500-writing.html

(This post was dictated using Dragon Professional Individual 15. Please excuse any typos


 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 07:23
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Another option Nov 17, 2017

One of my family members has one called Varidesk and she likes it a lot - it looks a bit larger and heavier than the one Michael suggested. That one even accommodates two monitors, which I like.



[Edited at 2017-11-17 15:46 GMT]

[Edited at 2017-11-17 15:50 GMT]


 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:23
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
I have 2 monitors Nov 17, 2017

Tina Vonhof wrote:

One of my family members has one and likes it a lot. She has one called Varidesk - it looks a bit larger and heavier than the one Michael suggested. I would probably buy an adjustable one myself were it not that I like to use two monitors. I haven't yet seen any models that would accommodate that.



[Edited at 2017-11-17 15:46 GMT]


I have two (large) monitors on mine, and they fit easily.

Michael


 

Daniel Frisano
Switzerland
Local time: 15:23
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
Stand Nov 17, 2017

In the last 4 or 5 years I have simply used a so-called "semainier" with work surface about 1 meter from the floor and it's just great.

At the end of the day my legs are (incredibly) LESS tired than when I worked sitting on a chair, and my back doesn't suffer at all.

Drawbacks: 1) Ankles and feet may get swollen during warmer months. 2) Useful only if you can work with no shoes on...

One big plus: it is MUCH easier to take a break... you just walk away!


 

MollyRose  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:23
Member (2010)
English to Spanish
+ ...
adjustable platform that sits on top of desk Nov 17, 2017

I have an adjustable platform that sits on top of my desk (they FINALLY helped us where I work!), which has room for 2 monitors to sit on it, as well as a pull-out keyboard tray. It helps a lot to alternate between sitting and standing. One advantage is that my desk has drawers, which I need. I'm not sure if they make standing desks with drawers. I have a rug to make it softer on my feet for standing.

Mine has locking positions. So you might not be able to get it exactly at the height you want, only close (unless you feel like it is safe enough to adjust without locking it--I do that sometimes and it stays).

You need to make sure that you can adjust everything so you can look straight at the monitor(s) and hold your arms and hands in the correct position, too. Chair-to-desk needs to work (some chairs make my legs "clash" with the bottom of the pull-out keyboard tray. You might consider an adjustable stool or stool-chair. A coworker used one and just adjusted the height of the stool and kept the platform up all the time! She's short, and it worked for her. I tried it but there were 2 problems: It wouldn't go low enough to keep me from clashing with the keyboard (I'm not tall, either), and it was too far away in the high position to reach the keyboard.

I usually would start the day standing, which helps keep me feel energized. I am more likely to take a little time to stretch while standing then when I'm sitting. There are some stretches I can do while proofreading my work. By about lunchtime I'm tired and ready to lower it. And it does also depend on the task I'm doing. Some things seem more conducive to standing (just translating and researching terms), and I find myself sitting for more difficult sentence structures or difficult formatting, which require more concentration.

I hope these things, along with others' replies, help you in your search for just the right combination! It takes research, testing, time, and patience. Unless you happily come across it all easily!


 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 07:23
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Different types Nov 18, 2017

Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer wrote:

Tina Vonhof wrote:

One of my family members has one and likes it a lot. She has one called Varidesk - it looks a bit larger and heavier than the one Michael suggested. I would probably buy an adjustable one myself were it not that I like to use two monitors. I haven't yet seen any models that would accommodate that.



[Edited at 2017-11-17 15:46 GMT]


I have two (large) monitors on mine, and they fit easily.

Michael


The desk in your picture seems to be one where the height of the desk itself is adjustable. The Varidesk is simply a contraption that you put on top of your regular (sitting height) desk or take it off as needed. So above your regular desk you have a platform with the keyboard and above that a platform with the monitor(s). Not all models of this type accommodate two monitors. The advantage is that they are cheaper because you don't have to buy a completely new desk; the disadvantage is that it takes a bit of effort to take it off your desk if and when you need to.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:23
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Try working at the supermarket Nov 18, 2017

Zohar CHABAUD wrote:

.... I am wondering if one can efficiently translate while standing up for a long time.



I don't know about translating, but at one of my local food supermarkets they force the checkout staff to stand, for hours. I heard them complaining. I'm sure it isn't good to stand in one position for hours and hours. If you have a bad back, spend some serious money on a good firm office chair that gives you support at the base of your spine, and sit down on it. One like this, for example:

https://hivemodern.com/pages/product604/kartell-vico-magistretti-maui-swivel-task-chair

[Edited at 2017-11-18 09:36 GMT]


 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:23
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
electrically-adjustable in height Nov 18, 2017

Tina Vonhof wrote:

Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer wrote:

Tina Vonhof wrote:

One of my family members has one and likes it a lot. She has one called Varidesk - it looks a bit larger and heavier than the one Michael suggested. I would probably buy an adjustable one myself were it not that I like to use two monitors. I haven't yet seen any models that would accommodate that.



[Edited at 2017-11-17 15:46 GMT]


I have two (large) monitors on mine, and they fit easily.

Michael


The desk in your picture seems to be one where the height of the desk itself is adjustable. The Varidesk is simply a contraption that you put on top of your regular (sitting height) desk or take it off as needed. So above your regular desk you have a platform with the keyboard and above that a platform with the monitor(s). Not all models of this type accommodate two monitors. The advantage is that they are cheaper because you don't have to buy a completely new desk; the disadvantage is that it takes a bit of effort to take it off your desk if and when you need to.


Indeed. My desk is pretty huge, and electrically adjustable. It wasn't cheap, but is is very well made, and extremely useful.

Michael


 

Jan Truper
Germany
Local time: 15:23
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
motorized Nov 18, 2017

I have a motorized desk and like it a lot, but I generally prefer to work while sitting.
While I do only about 20 % of my work in a standing position, my skeleton loves these breaks. Sometimes, I execute a little spin, squat, bend or jump after each completed segment.
I switch back and forth about three times on a regular working day.


 

Zohar CHABAUD  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:23
Member (2013)
English to Hebrew
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
You got me thinking... Nov 18, 2017

First of all, thank you very much for taking the time to share your experience here.
After reading all of your comments I realized that it was probably some kind of inner resistance to the idea of standing up while translating, which had nothing to do with productivity after all. It's as if, when working sitting on a chair, the body is 'set aside', leaving the work to the brain and hands alone.
Therefore, alternating between sitting and standing seems like a good solution, the percentage spent on each position is yet to be defined.

To Michael: The desk looks great. I like the fact that you can customise the size and finish, and the fact that moving from sitting to standing means just pressing a button. Cons: price...

To Tina: Another good solution. I'm just wondering if they have a small size model

To Daniel: Even though I live in south of France, November till May would be 'no way without shoes' for me (peut être en pantoufles..icon_smile.gif. I do agree that leaving work when standing up is much easier

To MollyRose: Thanks very much for taking the time to detail your experience. It actually helped me visualizing myself at work. Would you mind sharing the name of your device?

To Tom: Already got myself a new chair. After reading your comment I did have a look today at the checkout staff's working environment in my local supermarket. They work on a chair but are also expected to do some other tasks standing up (and walking) so they alternate between positions, which seems (again) the best solution

To Jan: I would probably work in a similar way as soon as I decide which solution to adopt.

Any other insights from you are very much welcomed..
Thanks again,
Zohar


 

Mirja Maletzki  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:23
Korean to German
+ ...
Practice runs Nov 19, 2017

I've been considering getting one as well but I haven't made up my mind yet.

I did however discover that my medium height Billy book shelf has the perfect height for me to place my laptop on and work from there. My kitchen counter works as well.

Maybe see if you have something that fits your height at home where you can do a test run and see if it's something you could imagine doing?


Quick disclaimer: I mainly do proofreading (my own texts or assignments) standing up. Somehow it's nicer to stand while reading, not having to type constantly.


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:23
English to Spanish
+ ...
The fad Nov 19, 2017

I think sit-stand desks are a fad. That kind of desk might work for some people but it is not an ergonomic panacea.

Before spending hundreds of dollars on a faddish piece of furniture, talk to a reputable physical therapist or orthopedic surgeon. Choose wisely, because some medical specialists in physical therapy or rheumatology don't care about ergonomics one way or the other.

You have to ask yourself the hard questions: why are you buying that particular desk? What is a traditional desk not doing for you? Zohar, I get the impression that you measure productivity by the number of hours you remain seated nonstop. That is unhealthy. I'm no innocent defender of the traditional desk, however; I used to spend 2-4 hours at a time working on translations or proofreadings or DTP. To me, one of the keys to the solution is taking as many breaks as you can.

Even if you have decided on a sit-stand desk, consider what kind of shoes you're wearing, whether you have a good posture (again, consult with a medical specialist for that), including if you keep a straight neck and your arms at a healthy position to type.

This reminds me of the knee chair, that was very popular in the 90s. Even a well-respected New York translator and friend recommended it. I purchased one and I kept getting knee joint pain. So I tossed it aside.


 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:23
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
right or wrong, cheap or expensive, it's also just fun to be able to translate standing up Nov 19, 2017

Mario Chavez wrote:

I think sit-stand desks are a fad. That kind of desk might work for some people but it is not an ergonomic panacea.

Before spending hundreds of dollars on a faddish piece of furniture, talk to a reputable physical therapist or orthopedic surgeon. Choose wisely, because some medical specialists in physical therapy or rheumatology don't care about ergonomics one way or the other.

You have to ask yourself the hard questions: why are you buying that particular desk? What is a traditional desk not doing for you? Zohar, I get the impression that you measure productivity by the number of hours you remain seated nonstop. That is unhealthy. I'm no innocent defender of the traditional desk, however; I used to spend 2-4 hours at a time working on translations or proofreadings or DTP. To me, one of the keys to the solution is taking as many breaks as you can.

Even if you have decided on a sit-stand desk, consider what kind of shoes you're wearing, whether you have a good posture (again, consult with a medical specialist for that), including if you keep a straight neck and your arms at a healthy position to type.

This reminds me of the knee chair, that was very popular in the 90s. Even a well-respected New York translator and friend recommended it. I purchased one and I kept getting knee joint pain. So I tossed it aside.


I agree that, to a certain extent, it might be a fad. Then again, most things in life can be said to be a fad when new.

However, two different GPs and a physiotherapist I was seeing a year or two ago thought it was a good idea, and I pretty much agree with them. If used properly, I think a sit-stand desk can be beneficial, not just to your physical health, but also to your spirit.

Michael


 

MollyRose  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:23
Member (2010)
English to Spanish
+ ...
adjustable desk riser Nov 20, 2017

The brand of my platform is Rocelco, officially called an adjustable desk riser.

I usually stand on a rug and pillow barefoot! But sometimes I keep my shoes on, when they´re comfortable. If you're at home, maybe you can wear slippers, so you'll be comfy and warm. icon_smile.gif Or you might try an anti-fatigue mat.

I just looked up Rocelco on the internet and found that they also have a "deluxe" model which is wider than mine. That might be better because it allows more room for the mouse. I can use my mouse on the keyboard tray but not move it around much, so I end up putting it on top of the riser, which is higher than I would prefer for that, but it's acceptable.

Oh! I remembered another thing. When I stand, I push the riser to the back of my desk so it will be farther away from my eyes. It doesn't weigh much, so that isn't a problem to push it back and forth.

A chiropractor told me that it is good to alternate between sitting and standing, because it helps keep you moving. (And you burn a few more calories that way.) You may be aware of many people saying that it isn't good to remain in one position for a long time.


 


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