Stand Up!

The first thing Jonas Milder said to me when he came into our studio was “you don’t look so good, does your back hurt?”. It did. It really did. That was the beginning of my learning about the benefits of standing while working. A month later I began standing up while working as much as possible. I converted my desk to a stand-up desk and encouraged stand-up check-ins and meetings for our team. A few months later I still have some (but far less) back pain and standing up at work has become a part of my overall effort to lose weight and increase my happiness and energy.

Standing up while working is not a new idea, but there is a lot more discussion about the negative health impacts of sitting too much at work and many more options for desk workers to break free from their chairs (and their desks). In order to convert my desk I followed instructions by Colin Nederkoorn, which Georgia shared with me. I am tall, so I only bought and used the $8 end table from IKEA, and then elevated my laptop/monitor to eye level using yoga blocks (wood, books, or boxes will do fine). I also used a cardboard box to create a higher desk surface next to my computer. Finally, I added a plug-in keyboard and a wireless trackpad.

Recently I’ve heard of a few situations where managers were reluctant to support their employees moving to a stand-up desk. If you are having trouble moving to a stand-up desk or have positive stories or photos to share about your stand-up (or treadmill) desk experience, please email me and/or add a comment to this post.

For more details about our Workplace Lab click here. And for information about Jonas Milder’s furniture business click here.

Nick Jehlen's picture
Nick Jehlen is a partner at The Action Mill


I’ve been playing around with the idea of trying a standing desk since Jethro hacked together one for himself. I spent hours researching fancy monitor arms, and I was waiting for it to arrive before I started. Then, I noticed that a box of paper puts my laptop at almost exactly the right height – so I’ve now joined Jethro in the standing desk experiment.

Nick Jehlen is a partner at The Action Mill