The ups and downs of a VARIDESK
Last year a very big and very heavy box landed at Highways.Today HQ. It contained a 36” VARIDESK that I was asked to review.
I must admit I wasn’t actually expecting to get on with the desk as I had tried a standing desk in the past, basically by putting a few bricks under a desk to raise it up, but found I couldn’t concentrate on the longer tasks that I needed to really focus on. I needed to sit down and get on with my work, so the test came to an end very quickly.
The VARIDESK offers a different solution to a fixed standing desk, or the expensive height adjustable desks. By putting the variable height mechanism and work surfaces into a very sturdy and compact unit with a large monitor shelf and a very practical keyboard shelf that all sits on top of your current desk.
Two handles at either side of the unit release the lifting mechanism so the desk can be raised or lowered with the aid of gas pistons, which support the weight of the desk and the monitor and all the equipment on the desk. The maximum load the VARIDESK can take is 35lbs/15.8kg.
The Health Benefits
There has been a lot of stories and coverage on the long-term health benefits of a standing desk, which include less back pain, weight loss, increased energy and increased stamina. The key benefit is the idea that as you are not sitting for extended periods you are moving more, exercising, and fighting off the unhealthy lifestyle issues of obesity and diabetes.
Fighting off the urge to slouch and lean at the standing desk is just as much of an issue as sitting at a desk, but over time this becomes less of an issue as you get used to standing at the desk and train yourself to adjust your posture.
You do need to wear good comfortable shoes though as standing all day long can take its toll.
The beauty of the VARIDESK is you don’t need to stand all day, you can lower or raise your workspace to suit what you are doing at the time. If you need to sit down and concentrate on a document you can do that, or if you are switching between a drawing table full of blueprints or a whiteboard and your computer, you can raise the surface so you don’t have to lean down to use the computer or constantly have to sit down and stand up again.
With practicality comes productivity and the VARDESK has actually impressed me with its versatility, allowing me to sit down to get stuck into editing and having it raised so I can switch between manual tasks and answering emails without having to sit down and ending up trapped and spending longer at the computer then I had intended to.
For doing admin and office work the VARIDESK does bring ergonomic advantages and the company also has an app you can use to remind you to switch between sitting and standing at intervals to give you the health benefits.
In the workshop or the lab
This is where I really see the benefit of a variable standing desk as you are freed from the chair and can move between manual roles and interacting with the computer much easier, but you also have the benefit that you can sit down at the computer if you need to.
As the height of the VARIDESK is also variable, different users can set the work height to suit their proportions.
On the jobsite
With the introduction of BIM and jobsite automation every jobsite now has a portable building with one or more computers, and the addition of a VARIDESK would make this a much more practical and productive environment.
Workers coming in out of the cold and muck don’t have to sit down to use the computer or lean over their desk to access their data and maps and having a raised screen allows for more productive meetings as the crew can stand around the desk instead of all leaning over it, or having to all sit down.
Asphalt plant and quarry control rooms are another practical application where the VARIDESK lends itself to the productive environment of a manufacturing plant, where practicality and easy access between people, vehicles, equipment and computers are critical.
Having now trialled the VARIDESK for a month I have come to the conclusion that the convenience of having the ability to instantly adjust the height of the work surface greatly increases the efficiency of any job where an operator has to switch between tasks.
So for me the practicality was much more important than the health benefits, probably due to the fact that coming from a construction background, the majority of the time I was standing.
Overall, the design of the unit is actually quite sophisticated, looks very professional and blends in well with all my tech. The unit is now a central part of my workstation and my desk is tidier as a result as well.
Before I tried the Varidesk I wouldn’t even have considered buying one, but now I would highly recommend it as a practical tool for the construction industry or any industry where you are constantly getting up and down to use your computer.
I am actually very tempted to upgrade to the 48” version with dual monitor arms!