workfit-a-macbook

You’ve probably heard about the benefits of a standing desk. According to some studies, sitting on your rump for even 3 hours a day is incredibly unhealthy. Some even call it slow suicide. While the jury is still out on how bad it really is, let’s just agree to agree that standing for at least part of your desk work day is beneficial to your health.

But are you going to scrap your old desk assuming that you can just immediately stand for your whole 8-hour work day? That probably feels like a big step and somewhat risky (and sitting down sometimes isn’t going to kill anyone). It did to me.

So that’s why I was excited to try out the ErgoTron WorkFit-P standing desk.  It isn’t a special desk but instead an attachment for your current desk that allows to raise your MacBook Pro/Air when you want and then lower it again when you want to sit. If your monitor is adjustable like mine, you can also just put your keyboard and mouse on it and work standing up or better yet, put your monitor on an ErgoTron too.

Need to go back to a traditional desk? It also gets out of the way when you don’t need it.  Here’s how it works…

Installation

You basically install a rotating arm to your desk. The ErgoTron WorkFit-P comes in 3 pieces: The clamp/pole that you connect to your desk, the rotating arm that allows a wide variety of different positions, and the aluminum tray that you can put your MacBook on while you work.

Putting the system together is extremely straightforward. I took a try without looking at the instructions and was able to get it together in about 15 minutes. You’ll need a Phillips head screwdriver and someone who can lift and hold up an aluminum tray.

In my case, I attached the arm to the back of the desk, but it can be attached to the front or the side of the desk as well with pretty much the same capabilities.  The clamp affixes extremely securely with three separate screws. Next, you’ll attach the arm which moves around 360 degrees and lowers from desk level to about three feet above desk level. Finally you’ll attach the aluminum tray which also can swing around and tilt slightly on the Z axis.

Use:

It works exactly how you probably imagine. You plop your MacBook (In my case 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, on it and raise the arm to a comfortable standing position.  It just stays there even with a substantial amount of hand rest pressure on the keyboard. You can even plop your morning coffee, an iPhone and a pad/pencil on there without too much trouble.

ErgoTron also offers a more substantial $500-ish Workfit A package if you want to put your iMac/monitor on there as well.

In practice, it is a great way to move to a standing desk without the commitment. I started out using it for an hour at a time and I’m now up to 2-4 hours between sitting down.  I definitely feel a lot better about my work/life balance and am looking at a full time standing desk with perhaps a treadmill for 2014. The ErgoTron has been a great set of training wheels in this regard.

The only downside I’ve found is that the tray doesn’t go flush with the desk when in the down position. Because of this I usually just swing the arm off to the side when sitting down. In a way though, this is incentive to keep standing up.

It also looks great and is almost all aluminum to match my mostly-Apple desktop cluster of products. The quality of this is on par with what Apple offers. If you’ve used an ErgoTron VESA arm, you know what I’m talking about. Apple even started carrying the product on its website earlier this month:

Screenshot 2013-12-20 11.13.02

I give the ErgoTron WorkFit-P a big time ‘recommend’ for those interested in taking the plunge on a healthier standing desk in 2014.  The Ergotron WorkFit Stand retails for $330, but you can save a few bucks at Amazon

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2 Responses to “Review: WorkFit-P by ErgoTron – An easy transition to a sit or standing desk”

  1. Shaun G says:

    There’s no mention of the downsides to standing for long periods. Can working this way cause any health problems?

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    • It will most likely be uncomfortable at first because your hamstrings and calf muscles have tightened up from all the sitting you normally do. You will definitely want to retain the option of sitting. If you stick with it, standing does get more comfortable over time. If you practice Yoga at all, Tadasana (Mountain pose) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tadasana – is perfect for this, engaging the quadriceps to release the hamstrings.

      Good posture and good ergonomics are just as important when standing as sitting. For example the setup depicted above depicting a laptop sitting directly on the platform will cause the user to hunch over the keyboard and screen. Not good. I would use a laptop stand and external keyboard & mouse with that setup just as I do with a regular desktop. Google ‘workstation ergonomics’ sometime for a wealth of information on the subject.

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