Standing desks have become commonplace in the office, but they are big beasts that need floor space. In the era of working from home, however, a new breed of rather beautiful wooden standing desks has emerged. Instead of being floor-mounted, these perch on a tabletop and are adjustable; you can put your laptop or screen at the level that suits you, and your freestanding keyboard at just the right height to stand and deliver.
These new-wave standing desks have in common a clever cantilever design that means they can be assembled for use, or packed flat when you finish work – in seconds, without bolts or fixings.
Harmoni’s take on the wooden standing desk is, says the Manchester-based company, inspired by the Japanese art of kanawa tsugi – joinery without nails. I liked it a lot. It slots together easily and I’ve found it good for reading too, even if, while flipping through documents, it feels a bit like standing at a pulpit.
But there are other comparable products out there. The British-made HumbleWorks desk comes with two taut steel “guy ropes” at the back to nullify the slight bounce you might find in the Harmoni’s keyboard platform if you hammer the Qwerty. HumbleWorks products might strike some as over-engineered compared to Harmoni, and are a little trickier to set up, but they are impressive and practical nevertheless.
Another popular choice is DeskStand, made in Cape Town by a small social enterprise. It has the simplicity of the Harmoni and the firm says it’s shipping in container-loads to Amazon in the UK and US.
The health benefits of standing or walking for office tasks are no longer a fringe matter. Still in contention is how long you should be on your feet. Waterloo University in Canada has a kinesiology department that recommends, for best effect, standing to work for 30 to 45 minutes an hour – but warns against overdoing it, saying that standing for two consecutive hours can cause back pain.
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