Reviewed by David Savage
Workplaces around the UK are always looking for better ways to work – this may involve better procedures, staff training and equipment, but they also want something that helps with employees’ health and wellbeing, which in turn will help improve productivity.
Sitting in a chair for long periods of time can cause back and hip problems, and no one sits in the correct sitting position when working (I know I don’t, I slouch at all sorts of odd angles at times). It is becoming more widely accepted that standing is a healthier position for us be in, but of course desks and office furniture are still designed for sitting. This is leading to standing desks becoming a feature in many offices now, and it’s not just that they help promote better productivity; they also have some health benefits.
Intermittent standing to work helps your posture, improves your blood flow, helps you burn more calories (apparently 30,000 calories a year), reduces back pain (no slouching and compressed discs) and can improve your overall wellbeing.
The problem is, whilst we know we should stand, and standing disks are on the increase they can be on the expensive side. So, when I was asked to try out an alternative to the expensive and cumbersome metal ones I have seen, I was delighted to give it a go (especially as it had a fold up feature that I really liked). Deskmate have come up with standing desk convertor made of EE corrugated flute (a strong, industrial strength double-walled cardboard) which fold up to next to nothing, and they don’t cost a fortune.
Standing to work all day can be tiring and whilst it helps prevent back pain, it can put more strain on your legs and feet, so intermittent standing every 2 hours is a much better way of working. Some of the metal desk stations I have seen previously are quite big and don’t fold away very easily (lots of offices, especially home offices, just don’t have the storage space for these massive, industrial contraptions!), but the Deskmate and the Deskmate Minimate fold up extremely easily with a small footprint and pop back up just as easily.
I was asked to review the Deskmate Minimate. The Minimate is a laptop only version, while the Deskmate is a two-tiered version for desktop computers and laptops (as long as the weight on each shelf is not more than 10kg). I opted for yellow, which surprised my girlfriend as I tend to go for darker colours and there is a black version available.
The Minimate is a flatpacked, lightweight, fully recyclable and portable standing desk convertor for laptops. When folded it measures 30x3x30cm, unfolded it measures 51x31x30cm. They fold up and down in literally seconds enabling you work sitting or standing with ease. They are suitable for users 5’5 to 6.0ft (if you are taller than 6ft you need the Minimate Large). Available in several colour options, they support any laptop up to 15kg. They are manufactured in the UK, eco-friendly and they can even be personalised for your business.
I work a lot sitting down at the laptop. While I have the luxury of working from home, I do tend to find that at times I worker longer and late into the night, so having regular breaks is important (although doesn’t tend to happen as much as it should). Having the Minimate by the side of my desk is brilliant. Its small footprint when folded means that I can keep it neatly beside my desk and when I want to use it, I just unfold it and pop it on my desk and fold the lid down, it does literally take seconds.
So, you may ask yourself who wants to work standing up? Well I found quite comfortable to do so. The laptop was at the right height for me, I didn’t haven’t to stretch or stoop (as mentioned earlier, if you are over 6ft there is a larger version available). And I bet if you thought about it there will be times at work where you do stand up and bend over to use the laptop. While it wouldn’t be something I would stand at all day, for intermittent periods of the day it makes quite a nice change and does ease the pressure on my back and shoulders. Also, depending on the work I am doing, I have a tendency to sit on the floor with my laptop and this raised it up to a much more manageable and comfortable working position.
As for the strength, my laptop is a standard laptop with a 15.6” screen and sits quite nicely on top. It is not causing any noticeable pressure on the cardboard and is very sturdy and secure.
Overall, this is a definitely a winner for me. It’s probably a tenth of the price as metal ones, it’s portable, folds up very neatly into a small size making it easy to store when not in use. And if you want to take it between the home and office or even client sites, a carry case can be purchased as an optional extra if you want better storage and protection for it. And for the environmentally conscious, it is 100% recyclable and for every purchase Deskmate plant a tree.
I don’t think it is something to use all day, but the ease of folding and unfolding in seconds makes it a very viable option for not having to sit or stand all day.
This is definitely something that every office should try. It will have health and productivity benefits which will also make staff happier. And happy staff make better workers.
I love it and can see me giving it a lot of use. A simple concept, but one that could end up be invaluable. I think I will have to think about buying a carry case to protect mine better.
RRP: £29.90 (currently on sale at £24.90)
For more information or to buy online visit deskmate.co.