Walking At Work — Treadmill Desks

While researching walking at work I came across the “treadmill desk” which combines a treadmill and a desk. I was intrigued and decided to learn more.

Details Sit-to-WalkstationDr. James Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic, is often credited with popularizing the treadmill desk concept. Moving around is good for you and walking burns calories. A person walking at 2 miles per hour will burn approximately 100 calories per mile and will have burned 200 calories after 1 hour. Also, being healthy is green.

Healthy employees are important to business success and moving around is better than sitting. Providing people at work with alternatives to get up and move and still do their work is a no-brainer. A treadmill desk is a viable option.

What is a Treadmill Desk?

A treadmill desk is just what it sounds like, a combination of a treadmill and a desk.

  • TrekDesk Treadmill DeskDesktops have space for a computer, keyboard, mouse, phone, and a file folder or two. Some have accessories.
  • Treadmills run at speeds between 1 to 4 miles per hour so users can walk and still do their work.
  • Some treadmill desks have tops that adjust from walking to sitting height with a section next to the treadmill for a chair.

What are the Differences Between Treadmill Desk Models?

LifeSpan Treadmill DeskTreadmill desks come in a wide variety of models and price ranges. From making your own desktops starting at $40 for materials (treadmill additional). To models with integrated treadmills and electric height adjustable desktops for $4,400 plus. A few are listed below (google treadmill desk for more).
  • Home-made treadmill desks abound from tops laid across arms of a treadmill to desks built around a treadmill.
  • TrekDesk makes a “cockpit” type desk that is placed over a treadmill.
  • LifeSpan, a fitness equipment company, has added a treadmill desk to their line.
  • Steelcase, an office furniture maker, sells the Walkstation under their Details brand.
  • Office furniture maker Signature combines a treadmill with a traditional style desk.
  • KontorMølla is a European company that sells the Office Mill treadmill desk.

Things to Think About

  • Safety first. We’re talking a desk with a big moving component.
  • Placement within the office space is an important consideration to prevent tripping accidents.
  • Measure how much space you have available and remember to leave a perimeter around the treadmill.
  • Treadmill desktops should be adjustable so the employee’s keyboard and work materials are at the proper height. Ease of adjustment is important especially if the treadmill desk is shared by different people.
  • Desks with space next to the treadmill for a chair provide an option for employees to sit down when they get tired of walking. This style will take more space and require a top that adjusts from walking to sitting height.
  • Putting a stool or any kind of sitting device on top of a treadmill seems a dicey proposition. Employees could injure themselves lifting it on or off, or what if the treadmill had not been turned off.
  • It’s probably not a good idea to wear high heeled shoes while walking on the treadmill. Employees can keep a pair of tennis shoes or flats in a desk drawer.
  • Like any new habit, using a treadmill desk may take a few weeks to get used to. People who haven’t used a treadmill should start slow and build up to more time.

Top 3 Applications for Treadmill Desks (Author’s Opinion)

Technology has enabled office workers to be more mobile, and having an assigned workspace is becoming less necessary or even desirable. Employees value flexibility and personal choice. Providing treadmill desks as one of the several options made available to employees is a good strategy.

  1. Shared Areas: non-assigned “touch down” spaces is an excellent Shared Treadmill Desk Area (photo from Details)application for treadmill desks. Shared equipment that employees can log onto or portable equipment make it easy to pick up and go. Employees and even visitors can get in some walking while checking e-mail, returning calls, etc.
  2. Private Offices or Home Offices: seem ideal for “assigned” treadmill desks. It facilitates a variety of work tasks and only needs to be adjusted for one person.
  3. Meetings and Conference Calls: some people spend a lot of time in meetings and on Walking Meeting (photo from Details)the phone. Place several treadmill desks together for walking conferences. Heavy phone users can walk and talk to their heart’s content. In this case, you might not want the treadmill desks facing each other.

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Author: Linda Poppenheimer

Linda researches and writes about environmental topics to share information, spark conversation, and convince people to take action to keep earth habitable for all. She believes our individual actions do matter—it all adds up.

One thought on “Walking At Work — Treadmill Desks”

  1. Not having worked in an office setting for many years I am not familair with the noise level in an office now with all the technological equipment running at every work station. I do know that my computer (which is 5 years old) has a steady hum but my husband’s new computer is almost noiseless. Thus, I am wondering what the noise level is for a treadmill desk and how all these new machines would sound if all going steadily all day. The concept is great but noise is a big distraction and annoyance for me.

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