The next web

Nov 27, 2011

Ann Tancio

Building the perfect geek office – Sit, stand or walk?

I’m in the offices of others quite often. What I’m constantly amazed by is how little thought is put into building a space that’s not only functional but also comfortable. In short, somewhere that you wouldn’t mind spending your day.

Fortunately, I’m sitting here in my office. My plush, inviting space has been crafted specifically the way that I want it because I spend the vast majority of my time sitting in it. I’m an office geek. I can go to Staples and wander for hours (no, really). I look at computer desks and chairs like some people drool over cars and computers.

With that in mind, I wanted to come up with a geek’s guide to the perfect office. It’s a collection of important additions and I’ll do my best to provide cheaper alternatives, too. This time around, let’s start with the desk. Ready? Here we go.



Sit, Stand or…Walk?

I’m all for traditional desks, but I also think that there’s room for the-next-web-11-0more interesting options, too. Personally, I use a music production station, designed to hold keyboards. But instead of the keyboard, I have a large piece of custom-cut wood that sits on top. It provides me with a huge, open area, with plenty of room for my laptop, a 24-inch monitor, a Traktor Kontrol S4 and even an empty spot to my left for the day’s coffee mug, a plate of snacks and the like.

Stand-up desks have been all the rage this past year, and there are loads of options out there. But let’s take that one step more interesting – a treadmill desk.

Mike Arrington had a great post about this the other day over on Uncrunched. He opted for a modular version, with a custom desk from TrekDesk, and a treadmill of his choosing. The advantage to a treadmill desk? More calories burned, better sleep at night and an overall better feeling of awareness during the day, according to users.


The budget option? It will cost you about $39, on top of the cost of the treadmill itself. Details are over at Jay Buster’s blog.

Tired of walking? Take a rest by kicking back in something loungey. For me, the ultimate lounge seating comes from none other than Sumo Lounge. A few months ago the company sent me a Gigantor to review and I’m still amazed by how comfortable and durable this oversized “bean bag” is.



The Gigantor lives up to its name – it’s freaking huge. If you want smaller options, Sumo Lounge has loads of them. From single-person seating to the new Sway 2.0 (complete with a pocket for your remotes), Sumo Lounge has the best bags in the business, bar none. Oh, and they’re also on the low end of the price scale.

But when you’re lounging, you’re still going to need a work surface. Let’s face facts, a laptop on your lap doesn’t work all that well. Because of that, there have been loads of options that have come to the market but there’s not a single one out there that can compare to the offering from Levenger.



Levenger’s lap desk is incredibly wide, designed to sit on the arms of a chair. As such, though, it also sits very well on your lap and provides a surface that works great for a laptop, plus a couple of other papers and such that you would want to keep stashed under the elastic straps. At $50, it’s perfect for gifting…or for adding to your wish list.

The cheaper (and sometimes handier) option comes from Staples. For $21, you can pick up a lap desk that’s not quite as wide, but has a cushion on the bottom which really does make it ideal for sitting across your knees without feeling like it’s going to slide off into the floor.

Not looking for a change of office lifestyle? There’s a lot to be said for the traditional desk and chair method, but there’s more to be said for making sure that you’re using a great chair.


I have my butt in a chair for at least 12 hours every day. In order to make sure that I can walk when I need to, I need to buy a new one. As of yet, it hasn’t happened, but the one that I have in mind is the Amia, from Steelcase. At $629 (in fabric), it’s not cheap, but it’s said to be one of the best all-day desk chairs on the market.

Of course the name Herman Miller is going to come up, and there’s no denying that the Aeron is an amazing chair but price alone sets it way outside of the range where many of us would be comfortable.

Need a cheaper option? There are literally thousands of them on the market, so recommending one over another is hard. That said, I’m incredibly impressed with the idea of the Isokinetics yoga ball chair, and I intend to give a full review of it soon.

So that’s it for this edition of the perfect geek office. If you have some butt/foot/work solutions that have been great for you, we’d love to hear about them in the comments. Also, I’m taking ideas for what next week’s post should be about, so leave those too.

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