New year, new desk

So the new varidesk has arrived and is “installed.” I use scare quotes there because there is no set-up or installation. You truly take it out of the box, put it on your existing desk, and you’re ready to go.

Mine is the 36’’ inch pro plus. The dimensions they list on the website are accurate so pay close attention to them. The varidesk is designed to sit on top of an existing desk. My desk is fully covered in depth, and I have some space on each side for things like my external hard drive, pen holder, staple and such. But you be careful not to clutter up this area so it doesn’t interfere in the movement up and down. Going down flattens it out some so that you have a little less space than you may think you have.

The 36’’ holds my imac (with the largest size monitor) and a second monitor. They have to be turned in just slightly, but they do fit and they come in a few pounds under weight.

The desk is adjustable, mostly. That is, you can adjust it at multiple levels at the standing stage to ensure that you and your arms are in a good place. It’s not so adjustable at the sitting stage. While on one hand this is not surprising, on the other hand since I had been standing so long, I had forgotten how to actually use a desk sitting down. The desk that holds my varidesk was not one that I ever really used sitting down so for me the problem came in when I went to sit. The keyboard was too high and my fancy ergonomic office chair was at the maximum height. So all it took was to move the keyboard to the pullout keyboard draw to make to make it work.

I am very specific about my body placement when working. This is one reason that (knock on the wood) I have no hand or arm issues and no computer hunch problems in the shoulders and back. The standing desk—when you and your equipment are in the appropriate position—encourages one to stand up straight and when you don’t, your body quickly reminds you to do it. Thus, I’m probably a little pickier about the keyboard and the monitor height etc.

Speaking of monitor height, the varidesk works fine, but it will take some getting used to. I don’t like to be right on top of the monitor, and in the standing position, it’s closer than I have had it in years so that will be a minor adjustment. It’s also a few inches lower than I would like. But I do realize that I am pickier than most when it comes to these things.

I would definitely recommend the pro plus series with the keyboard on a different level. I would not like nor be able to use the model where everything was on one level. That’s not how I stand, sit, work, and I know the dimensions wouldn’t be conducive to having the keyboard and monitors in a good place for me physically. A good stand up desk experience requires that your arms are pretty level with your keyboard and the monitors are at eye level.

I don’t know about y’all but I have all sorts of stuff that sits around on my desk. You can’t really do that with the varidesk. I can still include some of my stuff, but because of the actual space by the monitors (on the top level of the varidesk) and the amount of space it takes up, there just isn’t as much room as I had before. But, varidesk understands the modern worker and sends along a coaster designed to not slip on its surface (which is a little slick). Because of the movement, you have to make sure that the area is always clear from stuff. Varidesk sends these great velcro things to help bind all the cords neatly so they don’t get caught.

The movement is smooth and easy.The movement down is easy. You press the two “handles” and sort of lean it and down it goes. Quite easy. It’s so smooth that my beanie baby moose that sits on the top of the iMac doesn’t move. Neither does my gecko that sort of drapes over the other monitor.

I find the movement up to standing position a little difficult. Admittedly, since my shoulder surgery and long, tedious, and still ongoing rehabilitation, the strength in my arms is not at all what it should be. Part of my own strength problems is trying to get it to lock into a position that isn’t the uppermost top position. So it is adjustable to folks who are probably up to 6 feet. First you have to find the right one and then, it’ll take some time to figure out how to get it to lock into the position I need. I’m hopeful I’ll figure out a good trick to make it work where I’m not a nervous wreck I’m going to dump everything on the floor (not that it is likely to happen at all. It’s just that unsupported fear.)

I’m not a fan of the way they have the keyboard ledge because it puts the mouse at a different angle from the keyboard, which for me, is not a good physical location. The keyboard sits further up and the mouse is back and more to the side than I need/want. Part of that is the fact I have a huge accessibility keyboard (that I have to have) so my keyboard and mouse never quite fit in a premade space.

You also definitely need to make sure you have a mat. I’ve had one, but if you order from varidesk and don’t have one spend the money and get it. The mat is essential for foot and leg health. And for all you pajama lovers (which I am broadly one), don’t stand in your bare feet or slippers (even if it doesn’t really bother you). Wear good shoes with good supports. From a person who knows a foot specialist by his first name, your body will thank you.


Now, this isn’t a commercial for varidesk. It is a commercial for a standing desk. I’ve always loved mine and can’t go back to working without being able to stand. I landed on varidesk because it had the features that I most wanted (easy movement, adjustable) at a price that was reasonable. They’ve received lots of great reviews and I can see why. There are other options out there, but none seemed as simple to use as varidesk. That’s basically all my decision came down to.

I loved my old ikea hack standing desk. It was the perfect solution to try out a standing desk and it was inexpensive. I switched for two reasons. One, my ikea desk was bigger (width wise) than most of the images that you find in those instructions. I had a coffee table instead of end table. We always knew that eventually the shelf that held my keyboard would give it up, and I was quite surprised that it lasted as long as it did. And since I had to do something, and it coincided with the time of the year where making a change seems less jarring, I thought I might as well try a new solution. Part of that was because I had picked up some bad sitting down habit in a chair not meant to be sat in for more than just a few minutes and that was causing body problems. We have to take care of our body so I decided a solution where I could use my fancy ergonomic chair would solve the problem.

So new year, new desk, and I hope a rejuvenation of work habits. 🙂

The varidesk for what it is (and it’s a brilliant and stable piece of technological engineering) seems to be a good solution.

Happy writing, y’all.