Everybody Wants Our Standup Desks

Working in digital, one thing's for certain: there’s a lot of sitting. And no matter whether you’re sitting whilst planning, designing, developing, meeting, talking or listening (and laughing), it all takes an insidious toll on your health.
Published on Dec 8 2014 by Marco Rosano

We're just standup guys

Working in digital, one thing's for certain: there’s a lot of sitting. And no matter whether you’re sitting whilst planning, designing, developing, meeting, talking or listening (and laughing), it all takes an insidious toll on your health.

Not that I can blame work entirely for my lower back/hamstring problems, but six years at University sitting in a lecture theatre, followed by my professional sitting career, has certainly set me up to break.

Moving into our South Melbourne warehouse earlier this year, we saw the opportunity to fit-out the large space with a working environment conducive of a healthy lifestyle as a responsibility to the team. Not able to close down the studio and renovate the office completely (although that would have been nice), we decided to work towards a much larger plan, beginning with where the guys spend most of their time; at the desk.

Standing desks weren’t anything new and neither are the well-documented health benefits associated with them. Reduced risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and long-term mortality are just to name a few. Additionally, many startups and large forward-thinking companies such as Google, Facebook and FF Venture Capital adopt the standing desk as they hold their employees’ wellbeing at the top of their respective priorities - much like us. Additionally, it’s argued that a standing desk is more productive than sitting, more on this point below.

With my love of design, my brother’s exceptional carpentry skills and a friend’s removal truck (I cannot thank him enough), we were extremely well placed and in a unique position, to successfully design, build and transport whatever we needed. With that, we got to work.

We began by sourcing the various materials that we wanted to see and use in our industrious office, which would contrast with our daily and extensive use of modern technology. Inevitably, we decided on recycled hardwood timber and stainless steel. 

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It all started with the timber delivery. This old victorian hardwood was recently salvaged from a central pier in Docklands.

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Shortly thereafter, the stainless steel frames were completed.

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My brother's hands are amazing! They built everything, including these self-closing draws.

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Time to bolt down the table tops to the frame. A small problem: the frame didn't account for the weight of the top. There was the smallest amount of sway.

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To remove the sway, we experimented with this makeshift brace. It worked extremely well.

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Our frames then had the brace applied. In retrospect, they looked even more industrious - it was meant to be. The grass looks great too!

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Mounting the power-boards was good fun. A very neat finish as well for something that can't be seen or appreciated.

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Time to mount the power point. Cutting this hole was next to impossible through this old/recycled hardwood.

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As to was this. We actually burnt out an old Makita power drill doing this.

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Time to stain it all. Matt finish.

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Power points were fitted off once the stain had completely dried.

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This guy helped us move them in. It was a cold, hard morning. I cannot thank him enough.

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Looking good in the office already.

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There was quite a bit involved in getting these tables to work. We needed to run all new ethernet and power from the roof of the warehouse.

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Clash of Clans. Power works too.

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A first look of the Standing Desk in working form.

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Configuring the working space.

More than 2 months in the making and measuring 1500mm x 600mm x 1050mm (and weighing over 80kg each), our standup desks include:

  • A 1500mm x 600mm x 40mm genuine recycled hardwood timber table top (with matt finish)
  • 2 wide and shallow drafting draws (with black internal finish)
  • An immovable stainless steel frame
  • An underside mounted power board
  • A table top flush mounted powerpoint with USB charge outlet

As this post is titled, everybody wants one and they are for sale.

As far as productivity goes, I’m not so certain that standing at work "increases" it. I also wouldn’t say that it detracts.

Since moving the desks into the office, each of the guys have adopted their own individual way of working with them. Whilst some commence work by standing and then sitting after an extended period of time, others break up their day by standing and then sitting for 30 minutes at a time. Personally, I’ve found standing most productive when I need a great amount of focus on getting a lot of small (but serious) tasks out the way. Emails, project scheduling, that sort of thing. For times where I need a much longer-term focus, such as tender or proposal writing, sitting cannot be replaced.

What did make the biggest impact to our team however was the configuration of the desks themselves and the affect it had on our development environment and overall culture. When setting them up, we opted for two open parallel rows which would allow the guys enough room to stand, sit and or dance (yes, you Matt) and ultimately, collaborate closer on projects and collectively solve more problems.

For that, they’ve been incredible.

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Monday morning. Our desks at work. Excuse the mess.