|I started experimenting with a standing desk a little over 2 years ago.
The first attempt was to raise up all of my equipment to an appropriate standing height. It was meant to be temporary and experimental, so I simply used boxes, book and boards already around the house. I simply wanted to see what it felt like and get an idea of appropriate keyboard and monitor height in case I wanted to make permanent changes.
Pros: The change of posture was positive, and I found standing helped me focus on the work at hand. When I needed to stop and think, or got frustrated, I could step away, pace, reach for a reference book more easily. My day self-organized into getting a task done, then stepping away, then stepping back to get a task done.
Cons: This setup was all or nothing. Going directly from sitting all the time to standing all the time was physically difficult, tiring and even painful. I still do not like standing all day, and I find some tasks - research, reading - I focus on better when sitting.
That experiment lasted a few months. We moved, and for my new home office I bought a height-adjustable desk (specifically, a GeekDesk[^]).
Pros: Within its range, adjustable to any height you like at the touch of a button, so instantly flexible for whatever work you need to do. Getting under the desk for cable or equipment management is super easy. (Seems dumb until you have to crawl under your desk to plug something in. Raising the whole thing up seems brilliant.)
Cons: Expensive. And now it's your responsibility to set it at standing height. Like the treadmill that turns into a laundry rack, it's easy to get back into the habit of leaving it down at sitting all the time (as I am right now).
As with any exercise, making it a habit is the hardest part, but also the most effective strategy.
I still like the GeekDesk a lot and recommend one if it fits your budget or someone else is paying. If I had it to do over again, I'd probably invest in a tall draftsman's chair first, set up a dedicated standing desk, then standing becomes the default, but I can still sit. Small outlay. Almost the same flexibility.
If you use a laptop, then of course you can simply move to a different location to sit down. Again, the dedicated standing desk works for you, though not if you like to use big desktop monitors.
Good shoes are important for extended standing. Since I work at home, changing between house shoes with good sole support like Birkenstocks, regular shoes, and stocking feet makes for a nice variation.
Going back to the "painful" remark, my experience suggests that going from all sitting to all standing is going to be about as fun as going from all sitting to running a marathon. Start slow and build up to a comfortable routine. Overall, when I actually use the standing desk, I find it beneficial for both my body and my focus on work.
I know a few people who walk or bike while working, but this doesn't interest me at all. It seems distracting, the setup seems inflexible, and I'd much rather work hard, take a break, go out for a walk and clear my head, then come back refreshed for more work. YMMV.
Director of Content Development, The Code Project