CHANGEdesk helps your computer monitor rise to the occasion
By Jim Bray
Do you get tired of sitting all day and would like a desk that raises and lowers to help facilitate your working while standing? There are many such desks on the market, including the subject of this rant, Uncaged Ergonomics' CHANGEdesk.
According to the press materials accompanying the desk's announcement, a report from the American Journal of Preventative Medicine claims that sitting for more than three hours per day is responsible for 3.8 per cent of all-cause mortality deaths (I wonder what a non-mortality death is). Also according to the release, researchers estimate that reducing sitting time to less than three hours per day would increase life expectancy.
I guess that means I'll be dead before nightfall…
To combat this dire threat, you could stop working and take a walk, but if you're really busy you might like a desk that can sit and/or stand with you - hence the $250 CHANGEdesk and its many competitors.
That's a pretty reasonable price compared to some other examples of the beast that I've found online (I've seen them selling for more than $1000!) though it appears that, since I've had issues with its stability since I got it, there may be a reason for that. But the idea is great!
I prefer sitting, any time or any day (unless I'm lying down…), but there are times when I do radio appearances from my home office and I like to stand when I do that because I think it helps me speak better (or at least less incoherently!). This hearkens back to my radio days; when I was a DJ in the 1970's I often stood when I turned on the microphone and I carried that over when I was a news reader in the late 1980's as much as I could (that particular studio wasn't really equipped for it).
And on rare occasions I just want to stretch my legs while I'm working at my desk, for a little while (it also gives the bum depression in my office chair a chance to recover a bit) - so when the folks at Uncaged Ergonomics offered me a sample of the CHANGEdesk I leapt to my feet in anticipation.
CHANGEdesk is marketed as a no assembly required, ready-for-use conversion unit you sit on top of your regular desk or table. It can swing up and down as you want, easily and quickly, and since it also comes with a keyboard shelf and mouse holder (though they put the lie to the "no assembly required" claim, somewhat), you can switch between sitting and standing without having to move your keyboard, mouse and monitor.
The thing is quite heavy (it's made of metal and what appears to be MDF board) and its triple-tiered panels can be adjusted to five different heights - ranging from 4.5 inches to 21.5 inches. When I raised it to its top setting it positioned my 24 inch monitor at perfect eye level. The company says the desk will support up to two 21 inch monitors and weight of up to 30 pounds.
Setup is child's play; you merely unpack it and plop it down onto your desk or table, then add the keyboard and/or mouse panels if you so desire.
An electric version of the CHANGE Desk retails for $399.99, by the way, but manual operation is pretty straightforward.
In my experience, the left side of the desk won't lock into position when I raise it, and it feels like it's going to collapse under the weight of my monitor (and the other sundry stuff I pile on it). It hasn't happened so far, and fortunately I don't raise it very often, but it certainly feels like an accident waiting to happen.
I mentioned this issue to the company and they sent me a PDF showing how I could fix it, which was awfully nice of them. Alas, whether it's my fat fingers or a total lack of grace on my part, I couldn't get the fix to work. Nor could my son, whose fingers and carriage are far more graceful than mine (not a difficult prospect, alas).
Upon mentioning my lack of success to the company, they sent me another document meant to show a fix but it was pretty much the same and I couldn't get it to work, either. To be fair, the desk hasn't collapsed on me but it doesn't make me feel all warm and fuzzy that it won't happen, either.
Other than my issue with it not locking into place, the unit does seem to be built well - and a company rep told me via email that they're aware of the issue, which was caused apparently by it being an early production model and since then the company has improved their construction and assembly methods to ensure it doesn't happen anymore.
I have no reason to doubt this, though of course I have no evidence either.
On the upside, thanks to the triple tiers of the CHANGEdesk, you can store papers and stuff inside it to a certain extent, though when the desk is retracted it's nearly impossible to get at them and you have to be careful not to put so much stuff there it'll interfere with the desk's operation or position. For that reason I prefer not to put stuff in it; it doesn't matter anyway: I have drawers in the desk on which the CHANGEdesk sits.
Since the CHANGEdesk sits on your existing desk or table that means, obviously, that it isn't a floor standing model, so if that's what you're looking for this won't be the product for you. But it fits fine on my existing desk and still leaves plenty of room to pile junk.
Uncaged Ergonomics also offers a line of ergonomic keyboard trays, the Wobble Stool, the LIFT adjustable height monitor stands, Rise Up Standing Desks and more.
Hopefully, the company has addressed the stability issue because that could be a deal breaker for many people, and rightfully so. I have no reason to think they haven't, especially since the company assured me it has addressed it. Check with them before you buy anyway, just in case.
Copyright 2016 Jim Bray
Jim Bray's columns are available through the TechnoFile Syndicate.
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