As much as we had been putting it off, the day was finally upon us.
An email from our HR department here at Mothership informed us that we would gradually be required to return to the office, bringing the era of working-from-home-by-default to an end.
Don’t get me wrong.
I enjoy getting to see my colleagues and all, but nothing quite beats the feeling of waking up later and working while in bed, though admittedly some of these habits aren’t the best for productivity.
Yet, one thing bound to get me excited about coming back to the office is shiny new things — like this EverDesk+ Max standing desk that I’ve gotten to try out over the past week.
As part of a sponsored advertisement (yes, this very article you’re reading now), I was asked to try out EverDesk+’s flagship desk to see if it would make my life — and working from the office — better.
To set some context, here’s the desk I normally work with at the office.
Nothing too shabby, but nothing too fancy either.
For the most part, it does the job, except for a few things that kinda annoy me, both somewhat related to the height (I promise these are real problems, not made up for the sake of spruiking a standing desk).
First, the height of the desk means that my wrists sometimes rest in weird positions while I’m typing away on my keyboard.
This sometimes causes my hands to hurt or feel sore at the end of the day.
To mitigate this, I’ve taken to using a laptop stand that I’ll mount my computer on periodically throughout the day.
I also find myself frequently wrestling with the height of my seat to vary the angle at which my arms approach the keyboard.
However, this brings me to the second thing that tends to vex me — at certain heights, the armrests of my chair bumps up against the drawers of my desk.
On days when I’m more attentive, this largely isn’t a problem, apart from the fact that I can’t sit as close to my desk as I would like.
On days when I’m not so conscientious (which is most days), this results in a jolt when I inevitably bang my chair against the desk’s drawers.
Anyways, enough about my old desk.
There are shiny, new things to write about.
Here’s how my working week with the EverDesk+ went.
Day 1 (Monday)
As I strolled into the office, I came face to face with a fully assembled EverDesk+ Max.
Putting the desk together was actually quite easy, thanks to the fact that EverDesk+ tries to make it as idiotproof as possible — you don’t even need a power drill as the whole set up comes with predrilled holes.
For those of us who aren’t so confident, an assembly service is available on request.
Everything about the workstation is customisable, from the tabletops — I opted for the aged darkened walnut — to the frames and the table size.
Other options for tabletops include the lighter-coloured raw ashen oak and the WildFolks series which features an epoxy resin “river” running through the middle of the table.
In fact, even the shelves and accessories can be configured, meaning you can place them wherever makes the most sense for your work.
The pegboard, in particular, comes with all sorts of modular components, like hooks where you can hang your headphones or keys, and trays where you can store notebooks and stationery.
There’s even a cute little magnetic photo clip so you can showcase images of your loved ones.
I’ve used mine as a good reminder of why I come in and work so hard every day.
A big part of what makes the EverDesk+ so customisable is the Unigroove, which is just a fancy name for this little trench that runs the length of the table.
It allows you to install accessories like monitor arms and shelves in the positions that make the most sense for your workflow and personal organisation.
It also serves as an elegantly designed way to route your wires — from your chargers, HDMI cables, and monitor power cables — underneath the desk.
The desk’s UniGroove cable stoppers, small blocks made from felt, help to keep wires in place and look neat; it's a world away from the jungle of wires that many desks I’ve used in the past end up degenerating into.
That jungle is saved for this nifty shelf attached to the underside of the tabletop and a cable spine which ensures that power cords reach power points in an orderly fashion.
Once everything was set up, we got to the real fun: playing with the desk’s controller which allows you to adjust the table’s height.
This is what really piqued everyone’s curiosity.
Throughout the day, random colleagues would stop by the desk for a demonstration, ooh-ing and aah-ing as they watched the dual motors quietly extend the table to standing height and back to sitting height.
I must admit, I too enjoyed the novelty of adjusting the height by turning the knob on the controller.
Day 2 (Tuesday)
By the time Tuesday came round, the novelty of manually moving the table up and down by turning the controller’s knob started to wear out.
Thankfully, the EverDesk+ Max allows users to save up to three height presets.
The desk’s controller lets you find the precise height that you’re most comfortable with, down to the centimetres.
Sometimes, even 1cm is enough to make a world of difference.
After trying out a few different heights, I settled on two that I found the most optimal for standing (107cm) and sitting (69.8cm).
Saving them was pretty easy as well: just a few taps on the controller.
Two days in and the wrist problems I was complaining about earlier were non-existent.
Being able to set the exact height of the desk meant that I no longer had to hold my hands in awkward positions as I typed.
As for chair-banging-against-desk problems, I’d saved my sitting height so that it would never happen again.
Whenever I wanted to bring it to a different height, all I had to do was press a button and watch the EverDesk+ Max’s dual motors bring the table smoothly and promptly to new heights.
(The company’s representatives, who I’m sure are in no way biased, have informed me that the EverDesk+ Max is quieter and faster than some cheaper competitors.)
Pro-tip: forcing yourself to stand while working is the best way to fight off the post-lunch urge to take a nap.
Day 3 (Wednesday)
On Wednesdays, we work from home.
As I had become accustomed to a certain standard of living, my primitive, non-adjustable desk at home just couldn’t fill the void left in my heart from being away from the EverDesk+ Max.
Back home, my wrists craved the times where they could type away with carefree abandon, far removed from the shadow of awkward angles.
Instead of the soft, soothing purr of the EverDesk+ Max’s dual motors effortlessly elevating my work to the next level, I was left with a cheap desk that squeaked and squealed with every little movement.
As I slumped back into my usual desk chair at home, something else called to me longingly: my bed.
It was nap time.
Day 4 (Thursday)
After a day away from the office, I was determined to get the most out of the desk before I had to return it.
One feature I hadn’t tried until Day 4 was EverDesk+’s “Health Coach” — which promises to help you get healthier while you’re working.
The “Health Coach” is really a system that nudges you at certain intervals — 15, 30, or 45 minutes — and tells you it's time to stand up.
At times when work becomes all-consuming and engrossing, the buzzing (similar to a phone ringing on silent) serves as a good reminder to take a break and stand up.
So how about the health part? How do standing desks actually help?
According to Harvard Medical School, sitting for long hours is associated with a higher risk of:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Premature death
Healthline reported that a study found participants who used standing desks said they had less stress and fatigue than participants who remained seated for the entire work day.
87 per cent of those using the standing desks also found they had increased energy levels.
Being someone who’s all for avoiding premature death and having less stress, I set my “Health Coach” to give me a reminder to stand up every 15 minutes.
I’m happy to report that I haven’t died yet.
Day 5 (Friday)
Normally, I love Fridays. It’s the one day of the work week that I look forward to the most.
But this particular Friday, I wasn’t too eager for — cue the music.
That’s because it was the last day I had with the EverDesk+ Max; my HR department had cruelly informed me that the desk would be office property and placed in a neutral location where anyone could use it.
As I stood at the desk, the sun slowly setting over my shoulder, I looked down (mostly literally, not metaphorically) at my poor colleagues, forced to sit while typing away, and remembered all the good times I’d had with the EverDesk+ Max.
Did the desk really make me more productive? I think so.
Did the desk really make me more healthy? I’m pretty sure - at the very least, my wrists don’t hurt as bad.
But most of all, the desk made me happy — and for many of us coming back to the office, you can’t really ask for much more.
Writing this EverDesk+ sponsored article made the writer fall in love with a piece of furniture.
All image by Mothership