At the beginning of this year I made a decision that I was going to make more of an effort to stand while I worked.
Being in the web development field since college, I’ve spent countless jags of time sitting, often with horrible posture, churning out code. I’d try to get up and walk periodically, but that act wasn’t happening nearly enough to resemble a practice that could remotely be considered healthy.
Maybe it was because my lower back was aching more than normal or, more than likely, it’s because I turned 40 this year. Either way, I realized I could be taking better care of myself by doing some pretty basic things.
So, obviously if I was going to stand more whilst working, I’d need a standing desk. But it took less than a minute-long Google search to see how cost prohibitive decent standing desks were. There was simply no way I could justify the cost. I could stack phonebooks (remember those?) up for my monitor and keyboard, but stability becomes a major issue with that setup. I’m reasonably handy with tools, so I even thought about using discarded scrap wood from my local hardware store to build something from scratch. It would be a cheap option, but it’d also look pretty shabby and if I needed to move it, quite cumbersome.
The whole situation – simply trying to do right by myself – was becoming quite irritating, almost to the point of complete abandonment. But then a friend at my co-working space mentioned Oristand. I’d never heard of it, but it sounded brilliant.
A Magic Box
To hear it described, Oristand sounds like a cardboard box and, well, it is!
And yet it isn’t.
It’s actually more like large-scale cardboard origami, than something you’d put your belongings in. Describing it is hard, so I’ll let Oristand’s promo video do that heavy lifting, then I’ll describe my time with it.
Pretty cool right? And at $25 (USD) I had to at least try it.
Earning a living on top of a cardboard box.
Once it arrived I brought it to my co-working space here in Durham, NC and placed it on my desk. Assembly couldn’t have been easier. It unfolds quickly and in less then 10 seconds, you will have it on your desk waiting for your laptop or monitor on the upper shelf and your keyboard and mouse/trackpad on the lower shelf.
One thing I noticed right away is that it is not adjustable in any way. I am 6 foot 3 inches tall and, ergonomically, it just wasn’t going work. I often combat RSI issues so, for me anyways, I needed to either raise my desk or put the Oristand on something higher. Luckily, I found some cheap plastic furniture risers (“footies” you put under each table leg) at a local store that lifted the desk to a perfect height. Solved!
Currently Oristand only makes one size of its stand. So if it doesn’t match your body type, you may have to tap into some additional creativity. Don’t give up!
Once the ergonomic issues were resolved, my Oristand worked completely as advertised! It’s easy to fold back up and carry to another location, it’s super light weight, and it’s takes up very little space if you need to hide it away for a bit.
It’s also WAY sturdier than I anticipated!
Many folks online were asking the manufacturers if it was sturdy enough for an external monitor and while they don’t officially endorse such behavior. I certainly can speak to the safety of doing so. I’ve got an early 2000’s Samsung LCD monitor that is many times heavier than my 13in MacBook Pro and I’ve had it up there non-stop for a couple of months now. So far the Oristand handles that weight without buckling or bending.
So though the Oristand folks don’t endorse putting an external monitor on their stand. I haven’t seen a single problem with doing so on my end.
Some additional nice touches.
Aside from the portability and surprising rigidity of Oristand, I was also pleased to find cutouts for cables for your monitor or non-Bluetooth peripherals.
Also being able to get an Oristand in different colors was a pleasant surprise.
Lastly, there isn’t a single standing desk out there that is 100% recyclable. Being made of only industrial strength cardboard, it feels good knowing that once my Oristand does start to break down, all I have to do is put it in my recycling bin and buy another one for $25.00.
Standing up for a healthier “me”…
As I mentioned briefly above, I’ve now been standing whilst working for a couple of months now. It’s uncomfortable at first and you should definitely take breaks (sit or go for brief walk), but I noticed my body feeling better overall after standing for just a few weeks. Really. It won’t take long to feel the benefits.
I definitely recommend raising your desk (versus raising the Oristand) to get your keyboard at the proper height for stability reasons. Other than that, I can’t think of single thing about this product that would keep you from not giving it a go.
Hands down. The construction of the Oristand and the convenience it provides for the price, make it a total no-brainer if you are looking to give your standing game a fighting chance.
Highly recommended! Go get one.