On Stand-Up Desks

We’ve been using stand-up desks almost exclusively for over a year in the office. We love them. Even as we’ve brought on new people, they quickly grow to love them and can’t go back. We even have a great story about how we re-arranged the desks in a client’s office so we could stand. We got funny looks for days.

This new infographic, “Sitting is Killing You” has been floating around the internets this week. Read it, then I’ll share our thoughts & tips.

Sitting is Killing You
Infographic by MedicalBillingAndCoding.org.

Like I say, we love our standup desks. We have couches in our office for sitting but no more sitting desks. We just don’t need them.


  1. Get a good height. We started standing in cafés, where they had counters for us. They weren’t the right height, and you can tell. Find an appropriate height. Our favorite is about 40.5 inches.
  2. Get stools. You can’t stand all day, even those of us who have been doing it for years sit once in a while. Get stools that keep your hands at a good height so you can sit when you need to. I find that I sit when I’m reading something confusing or thinking deeply. Most stools are too short, so you’ll have to shop around.
  3. Ease into it. It’ll be hard at first. That’s ok. Have a stool or a sitting desk you can use while you adjust. It won’t take too long.
  4. You don’t have to spend money. We just propped up normal desks at first. We’d all love desks that raise and lower at the touch of a button, but you don’t need that.

Why do we do it?

Our team has reported that their backs feel better than ever before. Those without back pain say they feel better. I like that it lets me move a bit more, and that we don’t have to buy expensive chairs!

Standing is also a good outlet for frustration. You can quickly go for a quick walk, pace, or move about easier.

We wouldn’t go back. We love our stand-up desks!

Photo of Daniel Morrison

Daniel founded Collective Idea in 2005 to put a name to his growing and already full-time freelance work. He works hard writing code, teaching, and mentoring.


  1. mhw@hypomodern.com
    Matt W.
    May 11, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    Have y’all found a good standing desk that does allow for adjustment? What are you using now, both for stools and desks?

  2. May 11, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    We’re currently using some custom-hacked legs for our desks ‘cause we’re cheap. I know 

    We found a few stools at a second-hand store that are a good height, but they don’t have any branding on them.

  3. sethsoffer@gmail.com
    May 11, 2011 at 11:56 AM

    any thoughts on the makeshift treadmill desk?


  4. May 11, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    I believe our friends at Fusionary have tried the treadmill desk. I personally find it a bit dorky, but don’t tell them I said that!

    We try to do pair programming most of the time, so it wouldn’t work well for us. Two people on a treadmill doesn’t seem safe.

  5. May 11, 2011 at 12:27 PM

    You could try parallel treadmills with mirrored screens? That would be pretty epic. Cubicle farms could start to look like gyms. I need to figure out how I can do dead lifts and squats whilst coding…

  6. May 12, 2011 at 7:37 AM

    It’s incredible how sedentary most people are. They sit at work or school all day, sit at home all evening, and sit around all weekend. I wonder if they don’t realize what they’re doing to themselves long-term, or if they simply don’t care. Stand up, walk around, and exercise!

  7. October 10, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    This is beautifully done infography. People can understand with this help of pics how they have to sit. Certainly if you don’t sit properly, you may get into trouble. My friend had suffered from back pain because he use to keep purse in his back pocket whole day. So nice information. Thanks for sharing.

  8. April 24, 2013 at 20:06 PM

    It’s been 2 years since I read this post, but I finally got around to making my own stand-up desk a few months ago. I mentioned your post in the post I just published about making my desk.