Sitting for too long is bad for my cybernetic back. You’d think that all these cyborg parts means posture won’t matter. Turns out the artificial spine is just as delicate, if not more. This explains my love for standing desks.
My initial reaction to the Uppeal Desk when I saw it on Kickstarter was outrage. People are funding a standing desk?! The popularity of standing desks has grown so much in the past decade that you can find many of them on Amazon. They come in electric and hand-cranked versions.
My incredulity then turned into awe when I realised that unlike conventional standing desks, the Uppeal Desk can go so low that you can use it sitting on the floor. I love to sit on the floor, especially seiza-style. There is a certain mindfulness in this sitting position, that’s why I love it so much.
What is it
The Uppeal Desk from Uppeal Design lets you adjust its height from standing, to sitting in a chair, and all the way down to sitting on the floor.
Traditional standing desks allow you to work standing. Then came the ones with adjustable heights, so you can switch between standing or sitting table heights via a manual hand-crank or an electric motor.
Instead of just adjusting the height of your ergonomic chair, you can also move the table to the ideal height for the most comfortable seating position.
I dislike sitting too comfortably in a chair from Ergomax or SecretLab. I understand why these chairs are so popular for office and gaming use, but if you know me, I value mindfulness a lot.
To understand more about mindful sitting, I recommend reading How to Sit by Thich Nhat Hanh.
Sit in such a way that you feel light, relaxed, happy, and free. Many of us have so many anxieties and projects that weigh heavily on us. We carry our past sorrows and anger and they become a kind of baggage that makes life heavy. Sitting meditation is a way to practice letting go of the things we carry needlessly.Excerpt from How to Sit by Thich Nhat Hanh
What problem does it solve
The benefits of standing desks are basically the opposite of the risks associated with long hours of sitting. These risks include obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer (especially colon or breast).
Standing also burns more calories compared to sitting. So using a standing desk while you work means you’ll burn more calories without working out.
With the Uppeal Desk, you don’t just to work standing. You can also work on the desk while you sit on the floor. Although it is common in the East, floor sitting is still not as widespread in western countries.
Sitting on the floor requires more muscle activity compared to sitting in a chair, and as such is healthier and burns more calories.
Who is it for
The health-conscious and people who watch their postures would love this.
You already know the benefits of working while standing or sitting on the floor. You’ll definitely jump on the Uppeal Desk if you’re shopping for a new desk. Not literally, but you can actually literally jump on it if you’re below 135 kg or 300 lbs. The hundred over backers who have supported the Kickstarter campaign show that the product appeals to some people.
Is it innovative
While electric adjustable standing desks are nothing new, the Uppeal Desk is innovative in catering to people who love sitting on the floor. This demand probably shot up significantly with people working from home during the pandemic.
I hope this is a sign that floor sitting is gaining popularity and more people will choose to sit on the floor instead of extremely comfortable chairs. You’ll realise that after sitting for some time, you’ll want to stand up. It is a natural reaction and reminder from your body to exercise your muscles and joints.
Standing up and sitting down are actions that make you squat and helps with blood circulation.
Is it worth it
Uppeal Desk is selling for a Kickstarter special price of $649. It will retail for $749 after the campaign. The prices are for the table frame only. The table top is sold separately starting at $100. Standing desks are usually sold with the frame and tabletop separately. This lets you match the frame with your preferred tabletop type, colour, and finishing.
The Kickstarter campaign compares the Uppeal Desk to its leading competitor that retails for $1556. As someone who follows the price of standing desks, I smell bullshit.
The market price for an electric standing desk frame varies from $200 to $800. Small brands retail on Amazon between $200 to $300. I live in Shenzhen and I bought mine directly from the factory for $199 including the tabletop.
It has the same design as the ones sold in Canada by PrimeCables (CA$399), in the UK by Allcam (£349), and in the US by Fromann ($309) and VIVO ($249). Note that these are all prices for the desk frame only. The factory I bought mine from probably supplies to these brands as well.
So, is its worth it to pay $500 extra for a standing desk because it goes all the way down?
Let’s put the price aside for a moment and talk about the practicality. I don’t think adjusting the desk over such a height would be feasible, especially if you have a display and other devices on the desk. Personally, it feels like I’m daring one of these gadgets to topple over.
I have a coffee table that is perfect for me to sit at if I want to. Those few steps I take from my standing desk to my coffee table count towards my daily goal of 10,000 steps. This fits in perfectly with my Pomodoro technique. I pace away from the desk every 20 minutes. These breaks also help me look away from the computer screens and rest my eyes
What are the alternatives
There are many standing desks in the market, but none that lets you sit on the floor. If you want to explore the mindful world of sitting on the floor, then Uppeal Desk is the only option for now. You might have more choices when more factories catch on to this trend.
Or if you have the perfect coffee table like me, then you already have your floor sitting setup. Just pick up your book or laptop, walk a few steps, and sit down.
Check out this interesting setup by Danny Choo. He uses an IKEA SKARSTA with recycled wooden top.
The appeal of the, uh, Uppeal Desk is its versatility. If you are looking for a desk that can fit your standing and sitting needs, and everything in between, then look no further.
For those of you with existing solutions like the ones I mentioned, getting a conventional electric standing desk is the most straightforward. You’ll save around $500. As for getting a desk that can lower to a sitting position, how often would you need to use the sitting mode?
But if you are great at decluttering your desk and have nothing that might fall over while you raise or lower the desk, then Uppeal Desk could be the answer.
So the real question you need to ask yourself is not whether you need the Uppeal Desk. Rather, you need to figure out how often you would actually be switching between standing and floor-sitting modes.
Hi, I’m Takeshi.
I’m a cyborg bear. You might think I go for techy stuff, but I do have an artistic side and appreciate good design.
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