For many people, travel blogging is the ultimate dream; working online as you travel, your office ranging from a cruise ship in Antarctica, to a hammock in the Caribbean.
And with a constantly changing environment, improvising with your work-space is a guarentee. You work from bar stools, futons, and cramped economy seats. You hike 30 minutes with a picnic blanket, in minus 2 degrees, because it’s the only place the WiFi will reach.
Travel blogging means that my office view is constantly changing; it’s exciting, it’s inspiring, and I’m passionate about waking up every day. But, after 5 years of working on the floor in airports, and editing photos on the plane, it’s messed with my posture something shocking.
Without intentionally trying to sound like my mother, I’ve discovered first hand that bad posture leads to spinal problems, including neck and back pain.
I now use the VARIDESK Pro Plus 36 and it has saved me; it’s a standing desk solution that converts any regular desk to an adjustable sit to stand desk. And it’s amazing.
Travel Blogging Ruined My Posture: How the VARIDESK Saved My Back
Your Workspace Matters
These days, it’s become quite common to work from home, or work from the road, but even if you’re no longer confined to a cubicle, your workspace still matters.
If you have bad posture generally, these issues can become exacerbated when you travel. Anyone who’s ever had to sit through a 15 hour flight with back pain will agree with me.
Back pain occurs from prolonged inactivity and sitting, so simply correcting it can often make a world of difference. For me, all it took was introducing a standing desk into my workspace.
The VARIDESK Pro Plus 36 is a height-adjustable workstation that turns any desk into a standing desk, meaning your work can be comfortable, productive and energizing again.
When you need to sit, you sit, when you need to stand, you stand. There are a range of different height settings, but best of all, it’s super easy; with the pull of a lever you go from sitting to standing, and vice versa, in three seconds flat.
Review of the VARIDESK Pro Plus 36
As far as sitting / standing desks go, the VARIDESK Pro Plus 36 is arguably the best in the industry. It’s a work station that you put on top of an existing desk, which is height adjustable so you can choose between sitting or standing.
So that there’s no confusion, this isn’t a portable desk; you can’t take it traveling (it’s a beast of a thing). However if you work from home, or you’re a digital nomad with a permanent base like me, it will change your life considerably.
To be honest, even if you enjoy your 9 – 5, and travel during your annual leave, it’s worthwhile telling your boss you’re buying one of these. Tell them that it’s been proven to increase concentration by 46%, and is used by 90% of fortune 500 companies.
Specs of the VARIDESK ProPlus 36
➤ Weight capacity: 35 lb / 15.8 kg
➤ Top display surface: 36 ” (W) x 12.25 ” (D) / 91.5 cm (W) x 31 cm (D)
➤ Footprint: 36 ” (W) x 29.75 ” (D) / 91.5 cm (W) x 75.5 cm (D)
➤ Extension Height: 17.5″ (Display Surface) & 14″ (Keyboard Deck)
➤ Colors: Black, White, Darkwood, Butcher Block
➤ The Pro Plus Series comes in a variety of sizes; 30 “, 36 “, and 48 “.
➤ Cost: $550 AUD / $395 USD
It’s worth noting that they do have a compact series, sized for laptops and smaller work-spaces, with a compact, lightweight design. Their option called The Laptop 30 has 9 different height settings, and is a great option if you’re looking for something you can move with on the go.
Pro Plus 36: It’s Super Easy
The VARIDESK is well built, and requires absolutely no assembly. It’s ready to go straight out of the box – you literally pull it out, and choose where to place it.
Fortunately too, it’s very simple and self explanatory. There are no complicated instructions or tools required; you sit the VARIDESK on your desk, add your monitors, keyboard and mouse, and you’re ready to get back to work.
When you feel like standing, adjusting the height of the desk is simple; there’s a spring-loaded boost mechanism, and all you need to do is squeeze the dual handles on either side (at the same time), and raise it to your desired height.
The desk moves up and down within seconds, and there are 11 different height settings, so you can easily find a comfortable height. When fully extended, the display surface reaches a maximum height of 17.5″, and the keyboard deck reaches 14″ high.
While the VARIDESK came with an instruction manual, I’m pretty sure I threw it out with the box! It’s so straightforward that they don’t need to send it!
The set up experience is low maintenance, no fuss, and so quick and seamless that you don’t realize just 10 minutes ago you weren’t using it!
Pro Plus 36 Aesthetics
The VARIDESK Pro Plus 36 is a beautiful desk. It comes in four color options, though personally I opted for the matt black finish as the sleekest design. It’s elegant, it’s suave, and it blends in well with all kinds of decor.
The desk has a two tiered design, with a keyboard tray on the lower deck, and a spacious top display surface with enough room for dual monitors. I found the 36″ has plenty of space for all your electronics, paperwork, and accessories, but they also offer a 48″ if you need more surface (seriously though, 48″ is massive).
Personally, there’s so much space on the keyboard deck (36″ x 14.25″) that I have my laptop, keyboard, mouse, and diary all set here. I utilize the upper deck for my drink bottle (the desk comes with a cup coaster), office supplies, and accessories.
The design of the desk is very clean and simple; it’s been created not to require any new furniture, but to fit your current workspace and blend in. When it’s not standing, it sits low on your desk surface (4.5″), and the keyboard is not raised, which is great ergonomically.
A Solid Build
The ProPlus 36 is super sturdy and solid (weighs 15.8 kg), and having been designed with a spring assisted lift means that the desk itself does the heavy lifting for you – it’s a heavy desk, and you’ll need two people to lift it out of the box, but adjusting the height is very light and easy.
There’s a weighted base to minimize movement during use; even when it’s extended at its maximum height there’s no wobbling, and the jump between heights is a smooth movement that allows you to adjust without sending stuff flying (though probably wise to remove open liquids when adjusting).
There’s a steel crossbar for lateral strength, and the use of steel frames and premium materials enhances its overall stability. The manual version that I have has the spring assisted lift, though the 36 also comes in an electric version where it adjusts with the touch of a button.
Adjusting the height of the desk requires both hands for operation; you have to push in levers on both sides of the desk at the same time; this is a great design, because it means a child won’t accidentally be able to operate it, and there’s no chance of fingers getting caught in any of the mechanisms.
Desk and table surfaces are made with sturdy, long-lasting MDF, and there’s a protective, heavy-duty 3D laminate finish, which has been great, and seems to repel scratches. High-quality materials like steel and aluminum mean that the frame is supportive and stable, even when it’s adjusted out to its maximum height.
High Quality Product
The VARIDESK retails for $550 AUD ($395 USD) – there are cheaper products on the market, but you get what you pay for, and this is a really affordable price point if you’ve been looking at new standing desks.
As soon as you unpack your shipment, you’ll notice straight away that this is a high quality product, and not some cheap plastic knock off. It’s sturdy, solid, beautifully finished, and I’m going to go as far as to say that it’s faultless.
Unlike other DIY standing desks, the ProPlus 36 is fuss free from the very start. It’s high tech but simple, it’s modern but subtle, and it doesn’t force you to stand all day, but empowers you with the flexibility to sit or stand as you need.
The ProPlus 36 gets my tick for stability, for ergonomics, and for aesthetics. It’s flexible, thoughtful, built to last in the long run, friendly, portable to a degree (you can move it, but it’s heavy), and overall it’s great value for money.
There’s a no-risk, 30-day guarantee, that means you can try it out, and if you’re not happy within 30 days, give them a call and they’ll pick it up for free.
They have free shipping throughout most of the world (US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK, South Africa, Europe, Singapore, and Israel); click here to start shopping; you can change your region by clicking on the globe symbol in the top right corner.
How VARIDESK Has Changed My Life
For a start, I can now fly again without having to deal with excruciating back pain. I’ve only been using the VARIDESK at a standing height for around 10 minutes for every 2 hours, but it’s done wonders to relieve my back pain.
With this design they’ve actually acknowledged that a standing desk that forces you to stand all day can be just as harmful as continuous sitting. You want to be able to switch between sitting or standing and keeping the body moving to avoid the health complications owing to a static position.
According to a study I read, standing desks help burn up to 50 calories per hour; when used for 4 hours per working day, that’s 1,000 calories per week, or 48,000-52,000, which is the same calories burnt as running over 18 marathons!
The jury’s still out on that one but I’ll report back after a couple of months as to whether I’ve lost weight!
It does make sense though; sitting for the full day can significantly slow your metabolic rate and negate any workouts you do get in that day. Getting your blood flowing and increasing your metabolism is only a good thing.
The VARIDESK Range
While the desk itself encourages regular body movement, there’s also an app which reminds you to stand through the day and can be custom set.
And of course, VARIDESK have a huge range of other life changing products; tables, seating, storage; you can create a complete active workspace!
One product I’m heading back for is ‘The Mat 36‘; they have a range of supportive standing mats to place at your desk which encourages movement, and helps to cushion and support your feet, legs, knees, joints, and, of course, your back.
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