Standing desk tips: How to get started with your standing desk

How to build a healthy workspace that lets you sit, stand, and everything in between

If you’re thinking about an adjustable standing desk, or you’ve just made the switch, congratulations, and welcome! A desk that lets you sit, stand, lean, stretch—and everything in between—is a game-changing purchase.

Purchasing a standing desk is just the first step toward your new, more active work life, but no need to be intimidated. We’ve done the research, talked to the experts, and compiled the best practices on how to maximize your experience so you don’t have to. We’re here to help you customize for optimal productivity, creativity, health and fun. Whether your desk is already set up, or if you’re wondering how to get started with a standing desk, read on.

 

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How to use a standing desk: It’s really not about standing

A decade ago, when a scattered group of office workers revolted and got up out of their chairs, most of them just stood up and raised their desks to counter height. But standing wasn’t the panacea that those pioneers thought it was. We weren’t meant to stand all day, just like we weren’t meant to sit all day. At Fully, we believe in movement and listening to what your body needs. Our Jarvis Standing Desk is adjustable to the millimeter. You can sit, or sit a little higher. You can stand, or stand a little lower

We encourage you to try it all. Just do what feels right, and aim for the expert-suggested advice to move every 30-to-60 minutes. When your new desk arrives, hit the button to raise it to standing height and try that for 30 minutes. It’s a big change in posture and perspective. Your office may seem different from your new standing workstation. Open your shoulders and look around. Listen to your body. For years, we adjusted our bodies to our desks. With a Jarvis, your desk adjusts to you.

 

Find the best position and desk height for your body

Let’s first address the idea that there’s one perfect “ergonomic” position for working. Ergonomics is a word that people toss around a lot these days without understanding it’s origins. A Polish professor invented the term in 1857 by combining the Greek word ergo, meaning work, with nomos, meaning natural law. Early ergonomists had one goal: create a work environment that maximizes productivity. The early focus on positioning the body for maximum comfort had more to do with keeping someone at their desk for long stretches, and far less to do with health.

The practice really caught on in the 1970s, when productivity wonks saw that people performed better when they were stuffed into big cushy desk chairs they could sink into for long stretches, with everything from the water cooler to the bathroom within a few short steps. People stayed attached to their desks, and health declined. We now know sitting all day every day leads to a whole host of health problems, but improvement has been slow.

A healthy work environment really begins with an adjustable height standing desk that gives you the freedom to move and find more natural human postures. You’ll actually be more productive — a.k.a. more ergonomic — when you’re empowered to adjust your body when it needs a break.

 

So, with that in mind, how high should a standing desk be? Here’s what you need to know to find a healthy posture, whether you’re working seated or standing: 

– You want your elbows to make an angle close to a 90 degree angle so you neither reach for your keyboard, nor hunch over it. This is really the only 90-degree angle you should feel inclined to maintain while working.

– Get your computer monitor up to eye level (more on how to do that below). Most people have theirs too low, forcing their back and neck muscles to support their hanging heads. And heads are heavy, accounting for 8 percent of our body weight! 

– Make sure your feet are flat on the floor, or, if you like to sit up high like in a bar stool, support them with a footring

 

And here are two scientifically-proven moves for good posture when sitting:

Make sure your knees are lower than your hips, and that your hips are open. Instead of sitting with your hips at 90-degrees, aim for a 120-degree angle between your torso and quads.

While all of our chairs help facilitate sitting in this open- and dropped-hip angle, you can feel the difference even more by sitting on the edge of your seat and engaging your core to sit up straight. Yup, that back rest and those arm rests are just a crutch. These small, key movements will take pressure off your tailbone, make you engage your core, and improve your circulation. 

When you find the seated and standing desk heights you like, you can use the Jarvis memory handset (that cool set of buttons that allows you to adjust your desk) to save them. Hit M and 1, for seated, and M and 2 for standing.

Get the most out of your standing desk

Standing desk chairs

Not your grandpa's office chair

As you can probably tell by now, we think sitting is A-OK when you do it right. Check out our Three Keys to Active Sitting, complete with our active chair guide, to find an ergonomic desk chair that’s right for you. Whether you want something more traditional or a chair that rocks, bounces and sways, we can help you sit with confidence. 

Standing mats & balance boards

The Earth isn't flat!

Now that your desk is dialed in. Let’s find some more bliss with accessories, starting at the floor. Here’s a fact about human feet: They weren’t meant to stand on perfectly flat surfaces. There were almost none around when our feet evolved. And our feet, like our bodies, were meant to move. That’s why we offer a range of comfy standing desk mats. They have contours—bumps, ridges and valleys—that massage your arches and stretch your toes. Or, if you really want to get moving, try one of our balance boards. They work your core while while you type and talk on the phone.

Jarvis Monitor Arms

Mind your spine

We promised to talk about your neck and getting your computer screen at just the right height. Looking down at a monitor day after day collapses the natural curves of your neck and back and can compress the disks in between your vertebrae. So, it’s time to ditch that stack of books and try a monitor arm or shelf to get your screen right where you need it. Whether you work from just a laptop or a 4-monitor command station, we have options for getting your screen right to eye-level where it belongs.

Desk lamps

Let there be light

Back in the day, most office light was fluorescent, and really bad (you might be looking up right now and saying that it’s still bad). But technology has made better bulbs that are inexpensive, energy efficient, and, most importantly, designed to energize or calm you as needed. If you’d like a desk lamp, consider one designed with the human experience front and center. This Aleris LED desk lamp is like a bicycle for your eyes. It has 16 different settings: four different temperatures and four levels of brightness. You can make your desk feel like the top of the Continental Divide in the morning, and a Paris bistro by night.

Jarvis desk accessories

Power to the (tidy) people

Pop quiz: What is a grommet? A) A piece of rock-climbing gear; B) Wallace’s dog; C) A little kid who surfs; D) The little metal eyelet in your tennis shoes that the laces goes through. The answer is E, all of the above. In our world, a grommet is a hole in your desk near the back that funnels all your cords down in one tidy stream to the outlet in the wall. With an adjustable desk, you can’t hide your rats’ nest of cords underneath with those shoes you keep meaning to return. A well-placed grommet and a wire management kit keeps everything untangled. 

We even have power grommets (I know, right?). It’s an outlet and USB plug all in one that means you’ll never have to crawl under your desk to find juice again. Are you a super neat-freak with a lot of devices to charge? For all you dongle-carriers out there, no worries, we have integrated USB C along with USB A charging ports. Consider a clamp-mounted surge protector. Don’t want your boxish computer on your desk or on the floor? Stash it underneath with a Buddy CPU Holder.

 

 
What about my stuff?

Regular desks have drawers built in. Adjustable desks don’t. Most people don’t miss them because so many of our old files are in the cloud now. But if you like paper, and staples, and you’re not ready to give up those squeezy stress balls you got at the software conference three years ago, we have some desk storage options for you. The most delightful one might be this drawer that attaches under your desk top. Also cool: this under-desk coat hook.

If you need more space, consider an elegant little Sidekick File Cabinet that matches the finished metal frame on your Jarvis desk or your Capisco Chair.

How to care for your Jarvis

We design our desktops to be low-maintenance, but here are a few little things you can do to keep them looking as good as they do on the day you unbox them. 

– Use a coaster for both hot and cold beverages.

– For any light stain, a mild liquid detergent is a good place to start.

 

– For stains, use a household cleaner. You might need a brush with a soft bristle to help lift it. Scrub lightly at first!

– Please do not use steel wool or abrasive cleaners, like Comet. They tend to scratch and discolor laminate.

 

– Clean them just like you do your whiteboard! We recommend Expo markers and erasers. And don’t leave your equations and marketing plans on for too long or the ink gets tougher to erase. 

– Once in a while, use a liquid cleaner. Expo makes one in a spray bottle.

 If you’d like more cleaning tips, or you run into a special situation (cat scratches, a shattered Sharpie), please pick up the phone. Our customer service team has seen and heard it all!