Last woman standing: Testing an Evodesk XE
By Tarrant Figlio, senior community manager for TreeHugger and Mother Nature Network.
Since 2009 or so, employees of Treehugger and sister site Mother Nature Network have taken a stand—literally—when it comes to desk work. That’s right, they have transitioned to standing desks. Someone would make the switch and crow about it. They spoke of more energy, less back pain, how healthy they felt. I listened with curiosity, but did I switch? No. I work from home, so I can avoid the peer pressure caused by being the only one left sitting in the office.
Secretly though (or not so secretly) I wanted to give it a try. If I didn’t have my crew of hound dogs as co-workers in my home, I’d probably not stand up all day. Fortunately, they tend to encourage me to stand up and take them outside fairly frequently. Of course, when I am outside with them, I promptly sit on a deck chair and work on my phone while waiting for them. The sedentary life isn’t good for me or anyone. I read our many standing desk articles. I pondered it. I didn’t need a new desk though. I also didn’t want to get a standing desk and then learn that standing just didn’t work for me.
Fortunately, I’d talked about these things in our virtual water cooler. Then one fateful day, we received a pitch for the Evodesk XE. Who could review it? How about Tarrant!
Next thing I knew, I was playing with the configurator and choosing my set up. I chose the XE, not the pro—I didn’t need a keyboard drawer. A fun part was choosing the optional DeskShields Skin. These come installed on the desktop if you choose one—and they protect against scratches, scuffs, and liquid damage. Liquid damage, like the coffee rings that have made themselves at home on my usual desk. You can choose a clear or woodgrain look, or you can choose one of 80 designs. I chose the bookshelf design. I might have chosen the robot monster or the coffee cup design if I had known the books were largely thrillers and mysteries.
Tarrant Figlio/CC BY 2.0
The Evodesk XE arrived in two relatively small boxes. I soon set upon assembling it. This part was the biggest drawback. The site says it takes 15 minutes to assemble. It didn’t. Five Allen wrenches, many steps, some countersinks that were not quite right, had me wondering why me. It also seemed a bit wobbly and top heavy to me. The cord control is elegant. The desk is wide enough—something I was concerned about since I use a mouse, left-handed even. That may not seem like a big deal, but some adjustable desks I have seen leave no room for a mouse or only leave it on the right side.
Time for the test drive. I put it on my desk and played with the programmable controller. The motor is whisper quiet, much quieter than I imagined it would be. There wasn’t any information in the instructions on how to program the four positions. It didn’t matter though.
Once I hit a good height for standing, I rarely adjusted to the sitting height. If I was to purchase after trying it, I would save the money and just get the standard controller rather than the programmable one.
The height adjustment can lower the desktop to within a few inches of my current desk. Adjusting the height up for standing is incredibly smooth. That coffee that I spill on my desk? I can leave the cup on the desk, press a button and the whole set up raises with ease, with nary a spill.
What was it like using the standing desk? It took a bit of getting used to at first. Some activities of my work day don’t seem to lend themselves to standing. Spreadsheets completely befuddled me standing. Fortunately, I don’t have to do too many of those. Moderation, emails, scouting stories, Slack, and Skype—completely easy while standing.
I found myself standing far more than I thought I would. I figured that I would adjust the desk down and sit most of the day. I didn’t. My legs didn’t really tire like I thought they would with a long day of standing. I didn’t get an anti-fatigue mat so I am unsure as to why I didn’t experience it. I also ended up pacing and wandering from my desk a bit more. Those places where I’d fidget with something on my desk or click around for no reason fell by the wayside. Instead I’d walk to the window and gaze outside. I’d straighten a book on the shelves. I wandered into the kitchen and started dinner. Just momentary things that gave my brain a pause. I seemed to get more done while standing. I have read about productivity increasing. I never really believed it. Why would that be? I don’t know, but I know it happened for me.
In any case, I have learned that a standing desk is a good option for me. I am not sure that the Evodesk XE is the right one for me; it seems a bit too much for my needs since I rarely adjust it. For someone else with a better mix of desk activities? Sure. I imagine there is a good segment for this desk.
I received the Evodesk XE for a trial period. I was not financially compensated for this post. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.