Social media overrun by DIY standing desks during COVID-19 lockdown

With people around the world working from home during the ongoing lockdown, ergonomics is still taken seriously as they try fashion their own standing desks

Let’s face it, productivity is the name of the game when one works from home owing to the Coronavirus lockdown. Social media is ablaze with posts about how to DIY a standing desk or sit-stand desk. This means home improvement on a very resourceful level. After all, stepping outside for a quick run around the block is restricted at this time.

In one of the many circulating tweets, founder of Delhi-based Red Carpet Up, Sandeep Srinavasa shared a photo of his standing desk, “WFH productivity hack: Get a standing desk (even if it is books on a table) 1. You exercise your back muscles, 2. Standing forces you to take a break away from the computer which increases productivity when you come back to it.” He cheekily adds, “Standing desks are the Shaolin Kung Fu of WFH warriors.”

A typical standing desk is a mechanical desk of which the table-top can be raised or brought lower at the press of a button. This action does not require the repositioning of the desk nor does it require too much adjustment of cables for the user’s electronics. The offices of most multinational companies and new startups feature standing desks which have become a necessity rather than just an extra accessory or perk. For many, these smart-furnishings help them tackle productivity while not wasting away in a chair for several hours at a stretch.

Quirky yet functional

So back to the work-from-home social media trend. If you want to be as productive as you are at work, why not mimic the settings as much as possible? The most common and acceptable method seen on Twitter and Instagram is where one just piles large books into a waist-high stack, upon which the laptop is set.

Eric Horvath used his baby’s stroller handles for his DIY standing desk  
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Some more creative examples include: former politico @EricHorvath using the handlebars of his baby’s stroller as a standing desk. Another from @adequateaaron showed a laptop resting on the near-top shelf of their wardrobe. Biologist @jw_tsang shared her laptop on top of an ironing table. Podcast host @enjus ventured into risky territory by setting up his workstation on his switched-off induction stove, which we would not recommend.

There is a lot of credible research available online about the science behind a standing desk. A 2019 study ‘The ups and downs of sit-stand desks’ by Dr April Chambers for University of Pennsylvania explains, “[Study participants’] work showed that use of a [sit-stand desk or SSD] effectively got participants to sit less and stand more and that the device made users more comfortable at work.” But there is a disclaimer, “However, many frustrations with SSDs stem from the physiological outcomes. Early adopters were fed the idea that these desks would be the miracle cure for obesity, but users were not achieving the results they expected.” The study adds that while participants experienced small decrease in blood pressure or low back pain relief, weight loss or calorie burning could not yet be established.

Jennifer Tsang makes her ironing table versatile  
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Probably one of the best aspects of making your own standing desk is that you can use literally anything practical around the house and, often, you will find yourself using that old organic chemistry textbook gathering dust on the bookshelf. Another welcome fact is that there is no embarrassment factor here; if you did this at your office, you might receive a few odd glances. But at home, the freedom is uninhibited.

Rather than run-of-the-mill memes or inspirational quotes of the day, the Internet over the past few weeks has also become a place for strangers or familiars to share snippets into their lives as work-from-home warriors… and with most of the world in the same boat, the scale of this is clearly global.

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