The Jarvis–Standing Desk Update

I started using a standing desk a few years back. While visiting the Redgate Software office, I saw one of my coworkers standing and using boxes of books to lift their keyboard and mouse. I tried that.

My first desk from 2012.

It worked OK, and I found myself adding and removing books to experiment with the process. I first moved upstairs, swapping the desk in the basement for the one upstairs. I added flooring to make things easier on my legs.

Things were fine for a few years, and then last year, I upgraded the platform to a piece of furniture. This was really to give me stability, a place for coffee ( probably the most important) and just a bit more space. That worked OK.

Photo Aug 24, 10 43 42 AM

However I’ve found myself getting a bit worn out at times. I often work most of the day standing, and there are certainly days my knees or back will ache. I do switch over and sit at the kitchen counter, or on a couch with my laptop, but those aren’t ideal. What I’d really like is a desk that’s a desk. I could also use space for my laptop, as I’ll use two machines at times.

With that in mind, I started looking at motorized desks. I saw Tim Mitchell get one for his home office, and found someone that rated desks. The Jarvis was well rated, and it wasn’t too expensive. An IKEA desk is around $500, so this wasn’t much more.

Fortunately I work for a company that values employees, and they do allow for some work related infrastructure. Redgate agreed to buy my desk, and I ordered it immediately. Of course, it wouldn’t ship and arrive until I was gone, but I came home to find boxes in my office. I began unpacking and assembling.

Well, actually I started clearing a space in the office. I needed room to assemble, while I continued to work during the couple days I put things together.

Photo Jan 26, 1 35 01 PM

I’m somewhat handy, but this assembly was easy. There are feet (to the right and left) and then two legs (middle) with a brace (top middle) that connect together. Lots of Allen screws, but no real tools needed.

Photo Jan 26, 2 01 17 PM

I got the bamboo top you see above, with grommets in it for wires. I wasn’t sure about the grommets, and haven’t used them a lot, but they are nice for a few things.

Photo Jan 26, 2 30 27 PM

Getting things together felt good, and once I installed the lift, I was ready to try things.

Photo Feb 25, 11 29 56 AM

Unfortunately, one of my legs didn’t work. The desk lowered, but wouldn’t reset or go back up. A quick call to Ergo Depot got me support, a few things to try, and then a replacement shipped the next day. Once again, I left town, not having a desk to use.

However the leg arrived and was ready for me when I returned. I managed to swap out the leg with minimal hassles, and without taking everything apart. Once back together, the lift mechanism worked great. I started moving things over and getting setup late one night.

Photo Feb 06, 6 57 40 PM

I really just duplicated my existing setup, with the exception that I’d ordered a CPU holder to store and lift my desktop with the desk itself. It’s below the desk to the left.

Here we have the current setup, raised:

Photo Feb 25, 11 23 30 AM

and lowered:

Photo Feb 25, 11 24 11 AM

I did find that I wanted my monitors offset to the right, which took a few days to determine. I’ve moved the monitors up and down a bit, trying to find a good height relative to the desk.

I’m also still torn on whether I want the keyboard at desk height. I can change the height, and I use a few different settings, but I think I may get a keyboard tray that lets me lower the keyboard slightly and also get more desk space to use.

I’ve moved over my mat, which is a bit of a pain when I switch back to the chair. I still have to work out some sort of process to make this easier.

However overall I like the setup. I usually raise the desk if I check things at night, and start the next day standing. If I have webinars or calls, I often lower the desk and sit, and usually after lunch (often yoga or running), I’ll eat at my desk and lower it for the afternoon.

I think I’ve benefitted from not sitting for long periods of time, and plenty of people see my at events, where I often avoid sitting, even in sessions. However I also know I need a balance, and a motorized, standing desk has helped me feel better.

If you can afford it, I’d urge you to get one. However I’d suggest you start with boxes of books, and see what works for you.

About way0utwest

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8 Responses to The Jarvis–Standing Desk Update

  1. weowls says:

    Nice. I may someday switch to motorized, but in the meantime I really do like my very cheap, very useful fixed standing desk solution:

    Except it’s always covered in papers, somehow…


    • way0utwest says:

      I looked at your design, Jen. I was tempted to try that, thought I’m not sure my wife would have allowed it. It certainly has more space, and is very budget friendly.

      My only concern was my clumsiness and the fact I like to be close to the keyboard. I worried about knocking knees to bumping lower shelves in there.


  2. Steve says:

    Steve –
    Now that you have the stand up desk, you need to give the treadmill or walking desk a try.
    Here is my setup.

    -Steve Stedman


    • way0utwest says:


      I saw yours. I have a normal treadmill, and was tempted to try that a bit. I still could, as there is space for the device under my desk, and that was an option.

      Budget is a concern right now, and also, I do take some breaks and often run at lunch, so I’m not sure I want more, at least for now. I do consider it at times, and may go that way sometime.


  3. weowls says:

    “My only concern was my clumsiness and the fact I like to be close to the keyboard. I worried about knocking knees to bumping lower shelves in there.”

    I have an overhand of about 6″ of desk, so the shelves underneath are inset. The very lowest shelf is actually an occasional footrest. And I use a wireless keyboard, so it’s pretty close to me. (A halfway decent shot of my setup right now: I’m starting to think that I’d like to get a monitor stand for that 2nd monitor, but we shall see.

    In short, it works really well for me.


    • way0utwest says:

      That’s good to hear. Maybe I should have thought more about that.

      I have a pole with arms for the monitors I like it, and used to have 4. I think it was $120 or so. I don’t move things up and down much, but I do move them in and out, or angle, depending on the time of day (there’s a window to my right).

      Liked by 1 person

    • weowls says:

      I think you’re going to end up liking your adjustable desk better.


  4. way0utwest says:

    I think you’re right. Already I appreciate being able to sit at times. I try not to much, but it’s handy late in the afternoon or for webinars where I might want to be more stable as I try to manage a demo.


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