For most of my professional life I have sat on my arse, staring at a screen. You get to thirty something and start worrying about the long-term health drawbacks of a such a sedentary lifestyle. Spurned on by a home-office move and ongoing back grumbles I bought myself an IKEA BEKANT standing desk. You can easily spend a fortune on these things, however I’m unashamed to have made more than a few “tactical” Ikea furniture purchases. It’s built to a precise price point, if you are happy with that definition of value then it’s been generally been acceptable.
The BEKANT Desk
To match my dining room decor, I opted for the oak wood-veneer. The worktop is nicely finished around the edges and whilst it doesn’t feel expensive, it doesn’t feel cheap. In fact, it doesn’t feel noticeably different from an office desk you’d find anywhere. The BEKANT series is available as a regular desk. The only difference being the motorised legs, switch and power unit. With the desk in In the sitting position you’d struggle to identify it as anything unusual.
As you would expect, the desk comes flat packed and requires basic tools to assemble. It didn’t take more than 30 minutes or any special skill to put together. It was however, heavy. I’m not known for feats of strength, but that said I managed solo assembly easily enough. I had reservations over the plastic plugs used to attach the legs to the table, but once bolted in place it was sturdy. Turning the thing right-side-up was the only part a second pair of hands would have been useful. The feet are adjustable, making it easy to install on less that even surfaces.
The lift mechanism is rated at 70 kilos, which is more than adequate for my 24 inch monitors, laptops, and associated doodads. Whilst the desk is only about 15 mm thick, I attached a monitor desk clamp without fear of breaking anything.
One of my few criticisms is that the included cable management net is adequate to cater for the power brick, and that’s about it. I have 14 powered devices either on, or around my desk. I hadn’t considered that with a standing desk your cabling crimes are suddenly on view. However, for £10 the SIGNUM cable management cage makes a nice job of tidying them up. I’ll probably have a second crack at this.
The free movement of goods and people
The desk is easily adjustable via the little control pad which has a basic plastic keys to prevent small fingers playing with them. The instructions tell you to screw them it, but blu-tack has held the pad just fine. For fancy memory features look elsewhere. That said, I find that I rarely, if ever, adjust it. I suppose the control “could” be finer, but for the price I don’t think the engineering could have been bettered. The movement is gentle and it doesn’t lurch. There is no danger that my unsecured monitors would unbalance and tip 16 million pixels over the floor.
Elevate and Accessorise!
To elevate my monitor I use CAPITA 17cm legs screwed to a EKBY JÄRPEN shelf. The laminate is more or less the same as the one used in the table top. I also purchased the sort-of-matching-ish GALANT drawer unit in oak. Mine is less ORANGE than the one in the photo. It’s a nice enough wheeled unit that doesn’t look to out of place in the home. It was quite difficult to put together, but is impressively engineered and sturdy for the money.
Using a standing desk
The first couple of weeks were tough on my feet. I left my office chair out of the way and didn’t give myself any alternative. After a month of daily use, I find my desire to sit down to work all but gone and I find working standing up quite natural. I’ve never suffered particularly from RSI-type issues, and can easily rest my wrists on the keyboard. The dining room that doubles as my office has a hard wooden floor that is not the most comfortable to stand on. However I have found an old pair of Crocs to be adequate compensation. I may yet invest in a standing mat or possibly a “wobble board” if I can find a nice one, but for me these have not been required purchases.
Standing Desk Health Benefits
Are there any? Who knows. Anecdotally, the definition in my calf muscles has improved; and maybe my posture is better. Touch wood (laminate), my back hasn’t given me any new problems. Work at a “normal” desk is very different. Horrible, in a word. It’s nothing unusual, but you soon forget how sitting at desk hunches you.
Would I recommend working at standing desk? Yes. It might not be for everyone, but I feel more comfortable and (so far) my back has given me less grief.
Would I recommend the IKEA BEKANT? For the money, absolutely. I honestly don’t know what you’d get for spending more money. Maybe a (more) solid worktop would have been nice, but that would only add to the weight of the thing and require more powerful motors. So about 6 weeks in I couldn’t stand to go back.
Just stumbled upon this article on FastCompany, which explains includes my new favourite term “T-Rexing”.