Chairs Are For Chumps

I am eyeball deep in eleventh hour activity for a mega Venture Platform event manager upgrade (more on that next week) and that means 14 hours work days; consequently, it is times like this that make me oh-so-grateful to have made the plunge into ditching expensive office chairs in favor of a motorized adjustable desk.

Adaptistration People 050After two solid decades of buying one office chair after the next (each more expensive than the last) in hopes of finally marginalizing repetitive stress fatigue, back stress, and numb-butt the journey ended up at a place where the chair went away for good in favor of a motorized desk.

I keep telling myself to write a detailed review of not just the desk but the actual research process and it will likely happen at some point in the near future (albeit probably a post for ArtsHacker), but what I can do now is offer a sincere shot-out to the company that came out on top: Nashville based UpDesk.

They were wonderful to work with, very personable, and their desks are worth every penny. Although I did not purchase one, I was very tempted by one of their most unique offerings; the UpWrite desk, which is ostensibly a motorized desk with a gigantic whiteboard surface. If you combine that with arm mounted monitors it offers up a sizable amount of creative drawing space and a little part of me regularly regrets not buying one.

The only first-hand tips to offer here and now include:

  • Buy a bigger surface than you think you need. I purchased a 60″ wide UpDesk and in hindsight, the 72″ model would have been best.
  • Ask about custom desktop surfaces. I ended up getting a white top for the same price as their stock models simply because I asked and they happened to have a few left over from a limited custom order run.
  • Don’t forget to leave room in your budget for some quality cable management accessories.
  • If your floor is anything other than caret, get the casters, I move my desk around all the time thanks to how convenient it is.
  • Assembly is practically stupid-proof so don’t let that be a concern.
  • Don’t expect yourself to stand all day, every day, when you get the desk. Granted, it was a much easier transition than I initially thought having something like a simple bar stool handy makes the process much easier. Can you still use your traditional chair to sit and stand throughout the day? Sure, but you might be surprised at how quickly you’ll abandon the chair entirely.
  • One option available now that wasn’t there when I purchased is a custom unit with a variety of grommets, a powerbrick (which provides a variety of power ports), mounting brackets for UBS, and cupholders

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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2 thoughts on “Chairs Are For Chumps”

    • Yep, that’s one of my regular review haunts as well and interestingly enough, I know the standing desk review you’re referencing as it was one of my first stops. I ended up calling their top pick first but had such an extraordinarily frustrating conversation with the sales rep that I decided they weren’t worth dealing with (not to mention giving them my money).

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