Exercise At Your Desk: How My Standing Workstation Works

Every day at 3pm I was hit with back pain and fatigue.  Coffee didn’t help.  Lots of stretching didn’t help.

I consulted the ergonomics department at Disney about creating a sit/ stand workstation and I’ve been in love with it since the day we set it up.  I used to sit all day, hunched over my Cintiq and now I stand pretty much all day, every day.

My back pain has been alleviated and I stay more focused throughout the entire day.  It keeps me energized throughout the day AND I’m burning calories the entire time!

Since I recorded an episode of Chris Oatley’s ArtCast mentioning this, many people have expressed interest in seeing exactly what my streamlined setup looks like…

I can’t post a photo online due to Disney’s “closed set” policy but I’ve drawn a diagram (above) to help you get an idea of what my workspace is like.

I work at a very tall desk, which needed a little extra boost due to my height.

The woodshop built some risers for it, so that when I stand completely straight and have my arms bent at a 90° angle my forearms rest flat on the surface of the desk or Cintiq, depending on which tools I’m working with.

At home, I use an IKEA table top with adjustable legs because the desk itself doesn’t need to be anything fancy to achieve great results. Ikea Sit/ Stand Desk: Legs :: Top

I use a Comfort Crown Anti-Fatigue Floor Mat to keep my legs from getting exhausted. I stand pretty much  all day, every day. (I get a 6-8% commission if you order through my Amazon link!)

I occasionally clear all the clutter off my chair (coat rack) and sit for an hour or two – but not very often. I highly recommend standing while you work!

Check out my entire audio explanation of the workstation in ArtCast #50 :: Digital Comics, Ergonomics & How To Deliver Every Time.


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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }


I have always-always-always been interested in a standing work station. I think the first prof. environment I’d seen with a similar set up was a photo of one of the engineer labs at Google.

I’m a pretty tall guy, and the workstations at my day job — while equipped with those fancy Herman Miller Aeron chairs — still kind of crumple me up.

The “energized” point is also really interesting, because it seems like when you are in an ergonomic ‘comfortable’ sitting position, it’s easy to get, er, too comfortable. Haha!

Thanks for this post! Really insightful. May try this at my home studio.


Adam Grason

Wow I have always thought about doing this but I never really found a way to practically do it. But this is amazing, I can finally see a set up that would work for me. Thanks for sharing Chris.



hi Chris, i always enjoy to listen your podcast. but this is the first time i visit your blog. 😛
and as soon as i see this post, i notice that’s exackly what i’ve always wanted and
attended to make!

i tried, by put some hand-made hard boxes on desk and put monitor and keyboards
on the box. but it’s too weak to lean on, also i didn’t want my desk looks messy or ugly ,
so i quit that a long time before :(

Now i see it’s not an idea just came from my own xD !
wow, i’m glad that everyone has been thought about the standing desk.
who knew? I should’ve made it good and sell it. ㅋㅋ

Thanks again, Chris.


Kathy Weller

Great post! Kindred spirits-I have a standing workstation too. About 5 years ago I had a slipped disc, converted to standing, and I love it. Only problem is that lately I get some burning leg pain from prolonged standing. I’m going to look into the floor mat. Thanks for the tip. 😀


Chris Oatley

Oh, yeah. The floor mat is amazing!


Petra van Berkum

Oh wow I never thought of this, it’s quite unbelievable to be useful. But if it works, it works!
That shop where I work at part-time also has a quite high register desk and it’s pretty comfortable. And yes, I guess it’s better than sitting in the wrong-sort-of-chair. I also have problems with where to leave my feet and legs and all. But I do think one would need good insoles to stand for a long time :)!



hi, very nice setup. just wondering about posture. do you draw (or use the computer) standing straight, or you kind of lean yourself on the desk and let your forearms rest on the surface?


Duane Carpenter

Hi Chris,
I thought I was the only one who found I had to stand more. I got a Studio Designs Futura Craft Station with the glass top partly because I needed to use it as an animation light box set up. I added a set of risers and a drafting stool and it works great to sit or stand. The problem is getting it high enough. I’ll also need A floor pad though. The carpet is just not enough.
Just starting on this site and really enjoying it.


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