Office workers can attest to the detrimental effects of sitting all day. Ideally, employees would have adjustable desks in their work spaces. The next best option is a standing desk. Wellness expert Mark Sisson points out that working while standing is much better for your health, morale and productivity than sitting all day. In the home office, you can make your standing desk from canning shelves, wood scraps and other materials around the house. But even office cubicles can be retrofitted with DIY standing desks.
Things You'll Need
- Safety goggles
- Steel-toed boots
- Power drill
- Drill bit, 1/2 inch
- Driving bits, assorted sizes
- 2 sawhorses
- Countertop, laminate, 23 inches deep
- 2-by-4 lumber, 6 feet long
- Circular saw
- T-square, 24 inches
- Carpenter's pencil
- Scrap wood, 23 inches long
- 2 C-clamps, 6 inches
- Spirit level
- Straight edge, metal, 48 inches
- Bolts, 3 inches long, 1/2 inch diameter, box
- Washers, 1/2 inch, box
- Nuts, 1/2 inch, box
- 2 crescent wrenches, 1/2 inch
- Wood screws, 4 inches, box
Preparing the Cubicle
Put on your safety goggles and steel-toed boots before beginning any work on this project. With the help of a partner, remove any items on the desk from the work area.
Remove any cords, power strips and battery backup units from the work area. Tuck away any ceiling- and floor-installed network cables, to avoid damage and tripping hazards.
With the help of a partner, use your power drill and any required driving bits to remove the existing desk. Remove the old desk's parts from the work area.
Cutting the Parts
Measure the cubicle's width. Place the countertop on the sawhorses. Mark off the cubicle width on the laminate countertop. Using the T-square, draw a pencil line from its rear to the front.
Place the circular saw against the pencil line. Mark off the saw's edge with the pencil. Use the T-square to draw a line across the countertop.
Place the scrap wood onto the countertop, flush with your second pencil line. Clamp it in place on each end with the C-clamps. You now have a jig ensuring a straight cut.
Place the circular saw tightly against the jig. As your partner holds onto the countertop's free hanging end, make your cut.
Cut three lengths of 2-by-4 with the circular saw. Cut the first piece to the cubicle's width, the others to 20 inches.
Installing the Desk Supports
Draw a pencil line along the cubicle's inside at 37 7/8 inches. Use the spirit level and straight edge, to ensure the line is level and perfectly straight.
Mark the lines on the cubicle's sides with pencil at 2 1/2 inches and 19 1/2 inches, counting from the cubicle's back. On the line in the back, place pencil marks 2 1/2 inches from the corners. Add another pencil at the line's center.
Lay your 2-by-4 sections flat on the ground. Draw a parallel line across the length of each piece, 1 7/8 inches from the edge.
On the 20-inch pieces' pencil lines, place the pencil 1 inch from each end. On the other piece's pencil line, place marks 2 1/2 inches from each end and one at its center point. Place the 2-by-4s against the cubicle walls, to ensure all pencil marks line up.
Attach the 1/2-inch drill bit to your power drill. Drill through all marks on the cubicle walls and in the 2-by-4s. Attach the 2-by-4s to the cubicle walls with bolts, washers and nuts, but only finger-tighten the nuts.
Installing the Desktop
Place the countertop onto the 2-by-4s so that it is flush with all cubicle walls. Attach a Phillips-head driving bit to your drill. Secure the countertop to the desk supports by driving the 4-inch wood screws through the countertop and into the supports, at 5 inch intervals. Countersink the wood screws for a better look and added safety.
Tighten the support's bolts and nuts with the crescent wrenches. They need to be "dog-tight," in other words, as tight as possible.
Re-tighten all bolts two weeks after installing the standing desk in your cubicle. The 2-by-4s will expand or loosen slightly in that time.
Tips & Warnings
- Fitting a cubicle with a standing desk is a two-person job.
- Measure twice, cut once.
- A 2-by-4's actual dimensions are 1 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches.
- Painting the 2-by-4s black will give the desk a more professional look.
- Always wear safety goggles when cutting wood.
- Always wear sturdy work boots when installing countertops.
- Thumbs in when working with power saws.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images