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At LiftMetrix, we are in the business of ROI. At the office, we maximize productivity from the tools and resources that we have…everything from our morning coffee to our desk setup. With that in mind, picture the fun our engineering team had when they decided to pit two stand up desks against each other…one top of the line desk and one starter model. It started out as a simple idea when one team member discovered a $25 option, the innovative Oristand, invented by Ryan Holmes from Hootsuite. Discussion ensued and our team began to research and discover many other options at various price levels and qualities.  We wanted to learn which stand up desk was best for our company, so we set out to answer the following questions:

  • Could a $25 cardboard box really be a realistic option for a stand up desk?
  • Would the $500 top-of-the-line Varidesk be everything we dreamed of?
  • Did the stand up desks increase our productivity?
  • Could either desk be suitable for both the engineering and sales teams?

As a NYC based start up, you can imagine how hungry and scrappy we are, so for this fun experiment we set up a framework for comparing the two models while wasting no resources; the latter ended up being an incredibly important factor.

We purchased these two models because they’re wildly different but offering are specially designed to make your more productive, by elevating your workspace. The Oristand is a simple option that’s easy to set up, cost effective and environmentally friendly (made from cardboard). On the other hand, the Varidesk is a fully assembled desk designed for the most complex work spaces. The desk is easily raised and lowered but is quite bulky.

Varistand on the left and Oristand on the right.

Varistand on the left, Oristand on the right.

So how did we structure the competition?

In order to compare the two models, we ultimately decided that the winner would be the one that provided the greatest value. Since we are also in the business of writing algorithms, we created a function of 4 factors to define our Value Equation :

Productivity (5 pts) – Does it increase productivity?

Universality (5 pts) – Is it suitable for sales and engineering?

Transition-ability (5 pts) – How easy is it to transition from sitting down to standing up?

Cost (10 pts) – Will it break the bank?

Now for our findings:
Productivity: Both stands increased productivity and score well. Oristand ranks just behind the Varidesk because it can only fit 1 monitor and keyboard but can easily be paired with a second stand to match the use-case of the varidesk.
Oristand – (4/5)
Varidesk – (5/5)

Usability by all team members: The Oristand was a perfect fit for our engineering team, each with 3 screens. Our sales team finds the Oristand very convenient as they are always up and down from their desk.

Oristand – (3/5)
Varidesk – (4/5)

Transition from standing to sitting desk: The Oristand collapses flat and can be stored easy. The Varidesk collapses down to a seating position in 3 seconds. Cons – With monitors, the Oristand can be cumbersome and the Varidesk is heavy, making it impossible to move.

Oristand – (3/5)
Varidesk – (4/5)

Cost: From a pure cost standpoint, there is no contest. Oristand blows Varidesk out of the water.

Oristand – (10/10)
Varidesk – (2/10)
Quick math told us that Oristand was the winner of our head-to-head stand up desk competition. It provided the most value for our team with 20/25 points, while Varidesk came in at 14/25 points. The conclusion naturally led us to the thought, “For $500, what are our standup desk options.” So for $500:
  1. We can either equip 1 engineer with a great stand up desk (Varidesk)
  2. We can outfit a 20 person sales team with work stations (Oristand)
  3. Or, we can provide a 10 person engineering team with a flexible workspace (2 Oristand per person).
One Varistand or Two Oristands

One Varidesk is equivalent to two Orstands; one made from recycled packaging from the Varidesk

The conclusion of our experiment was enlightening but it did not stop there….We wanted to maximize the resources from our test by minimizing the waste. If you checked out the photos of Varidesk and thought about it coming fully-assembled, think about the packaging it came in. The packaging was impressive, one that would make the Amazon Fulfillment Centers envious, but it was cringe-worthy in terms of waste. We thought, what other stand up desks can we re-create from the Varidesk packaging? The result, a whole new set of office furniture, from the waste of the Varidesk packaging.

We built a look-a-like Oristand and two tier workstation fit with 2 monitors, keyboard and mouse. Varidesk’s packaging provided more workspace than the desk itself. It just goes to show, cardboard boxes are a perfectly effective option for a stand up workstation.
Full setup

Our full office setup – Varidesk, Oristand, Makeshift-Oristand, Two Tier Packaging

Final Conclusion:
Save yourself $500 and the hassle of building your own stand-up desks and go buy Oristands for your team! Some googling will show you that many other people agree with our findings!
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Posted by Graham Gullans

Graham Gullans is co-founder and chief operating officer of LiftMetrix, which provides a social media ROI measurement solution for enterprises. He is also a prolific angel investor and a board member for Zoomcar, the largest car rental company in India.