Chuck Carroll

Why I Started Working at a Floor Desk

Published: 2024-03-24

One of my many quirks is that I regularly like to switch up my workspace and working environment. I recently moved back to the Pacific Northwest from Austin, Texas this past December and from July 2023 through December 2023, and I spent about 75% of that time working almost exclusively on the floor at my "floor desk". I've experimented with floor desks in the past, but circumstances had pushed me to a point to use it closer to full time. I threw my standing desk up on Craigslist in July 2023 with the expectation it would take a while to sell, but ended up selling it rather quickly.

Original electric desk riser setup in Austin

I had been using an electronic standing desk converter to make my standing desk just a bit taller (I'm 6'4" and my standing desk max height still caused me to slouch slightly), and quickly started playing around with the idea of using it on the floor. For sitting, I used a meditation cushion on top of a folded knitted blanket and would sit on in a variety of different ways. I had previously used a rolled up sleeping bag, but holy shit was that uncomfortable. What was nice about having an electronic riser, is that when I shifted positions, I could change the height to meet my eye level with the screen. Unfortunately, it was wobbly, had very little space, and it was annoying shifting my legs around since the base would get in the way. My knees would also regularly hit the keyboard tray when I shifted positions.

My current floor desk setup with keyboard and stand to bring to eye level.

Since finishing my move in December, I repurposed a cheap coffee table as my floor workspace and also have a slightly larger cushion to sit on. The cushion being larger bring my hips slightly higher and allows me to sit in a variety of ways. The coffee table is far more sturdier than the electronic riser, has much more surface area, and has more space underneath for my long legs.

The floor chair is comfortable, but lowers my hips closer to the floor.

I also picked up a dedicated floor chair that has back support. The stand alone cushion forces me to keep a my back erect, but this requires an active core. If my core muscle aren't active, I begin to slouch and my back starts to ache. This chair, although comfortable and allows me to sit for longer periods, brings my butt closer to the ground and makes my wrists hang off of the table making them start chafe. This also kills the "more movement" benefit of having a floor desk. I'm still trying to figure this out.

Overall, the benefits of this kind of desk setup is that I'm not as sedentary as I would be sitting in a chair. I'm in more "natural" positions, and I'm forced to move around a bit every 30 minutes or so.

Due to the lack of back support (at least with a cushion), it forces me to sit in a better posture with my tailbone tucked back. I briefly mentioned this above, but if I start slouching, I'll start to experience a mild back ache.

Picking up a regular yoga practice has been on my to do list since the beginning of time, but sitting this way does encourage natural stretching from various sitting positions. It strengthens my core, improves my circulation, loosens my joints, and forces me to move. Going from the floor to a standing position is certainly more active than going from sitting in a chair to a standing position.

And although quirky looking, it's certainly a more "minimal" setup.

There are some drawbacks. While it can be a benefit, the fact that I'm shifting around every 30 minutes or so can be a bit annoying and some positions are more comfortable than others. When I sit in saddle position with my feet underneath me, I tend to work that way for longer than I would in any other position and then notice my feet start to go numb.

I transition between the floor, sitting in a chair, and standing throughout my day.

I cannot sit for 8 hours like this, but this is kind of the point. The idea is movement and improving flexibility. Throughout my day I transition between the floor, sitting, and standing. My floordesk right next to my sit/stand desk and the dock cable is long enough so I still charge and get ethernet from the same USB-C cable, I just disable the external monitor when I'm on the floor.

While playing around with this setup, I stumbled upon the r/floordesks which has dorks like myself experimenting with floor setups. Some other setups I found include this, this, this, this, and this. This video is also interesting.

At some point in the future, I would love to get a floor/sit/stand desk, but as far as I can tell, the only company that makes it is Uppeal and it's got a hefty price tag of $1,100.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with this setup. If you have a home office, I recommend experimenting with a floor desk. It's difficult at first and it does take time figuring out what works best and what's most comfortable, for example I learned that it's crucial to elevate my hips above my ankles. However, after the first few weeks my back and legs adjusted and I found my flow.

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