Helmm’s Chief Designer, Sam Cranwell, explains what a standing desk converter is and how they compare to standing desks.
What is a Standing Desk Converter?
In short, a standing desk converter is a piece of ergonomic apparatus that you can place on your existing desk to transform it into a platform you can stand and work at. They differ to ‘standing desks’ in that you don’t need to replace your existing desk if you want to stand and work.
Why get a standing desk converter instead of a standing desk?
There are a wide variety of adjustable standing desks on the market today that can be raised or lowered on demand: manual standing desks, which use a crank handle, and electric or hydraulic standing desks which utilize technology. However, a lot of these sit-stand desks share the same problems:
- They only have one platform to place your equipment on, meaning you would have to buy additional stands to achieve good ergonomic positioning of your screen and keyboard
- The electronic versions are expensive to buy and have a limited operational life span
- You have to dispose of your existing desk, which isn’t great if you happen to love the one you have. Standing desks aren’t available in that many designs yet so your office décor will be dictated by the limited range available
- The temptation to put your desk in ‘sit’ mode is all too easy and it is likely that you will creep back to sitting for the majority of the time.
How to convert a normal desk to a standing desk
Converting a normal desk into a standing desk is something we stumbled on after a conversation in our office that sparked a renewed enthusiasm for standing while working. As manager for the workspace, I dutifully bought two standing desks but after a few days something became apparent – the standing desks were good to stand at, but ergonomically they were no good for the computer users who still found themselves crunched over a screen, albeit on two feet.
My colleagues needed something multi-tiered and so, within weeks, we constructed small frames to add to the standing desks, which would elevate the computer equipment to a more back/neck-friendly position.
It struck us that if we could add a small frame to a standing desk, then why not add a taller frame to a normal sitting height desk and do away with the standing desk altogether? That way, we could move the converter from desk to desk depending on who wanted to use it.
In those early days, we weren’t sure who would stick with the standing desk idea and for that reason, we were reluctant to invest in an office full of standing desks. Desk converters were a low-commitment, low-cost option that allowed us all to get used to that new way of working.
What makes the best standing desk converter?
A good standing desk converter should be adjustable so you can position your equipment at the perfect level for your height, and should, ideally, have at least two levels of workspace for your screen and your keyboard/mouse.
Some standing desk converters can offer you so much additional workspace that they are also ideal as workbenches for skilled activities such as craft work, scale modelling and jewellery making because they allow crafters to get up close to their work for detail.
If you’re interested in standing to work and don’t want to give up your existing desk or replace the desks in your office quite yet, give an adjustable standing desk converter a go instead.