Furniture That Gets Workers Moving

These standing desks and other innovative workstations are designed to get you moving in the office.

By Tamara Lytle Feb 22, 2017
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Standing desks. These help get employees off their rears for the day, though standing for prolonged periods can cause its own health problems, such as varicose veins and joint pain. Experts say the desks should come with stools or other sitting options to give workers a break.

Sit/stand desks. With the pull of a lever or the touch of a button, these units move up and down so people can change positions during the day, which ergonomic experts recommend. 

Sit/stand workstations that sit atop regular office furniture. These are cheaper than full desks and don’t require a company to replace all its furniture.

Treadmill desks. Desks with workspaces to plug in electronics up top and a treadmill below aren’t designed for sprinting but for walking a few miles an hour while holding meetings, reading e-mail or taking phone calls. Companies often provide a few of them in each work area. Employees can reserve them through systems akin to those used to reserve conference rooms.

Bicycle desks. Similar to treadmill desks, bicycle desks don’t take up as much room and are good for shorter bursts of activity.

Elliptical machines that slide under desks. These allow workers to use small pedaling machines while sitting at a regular desk.

Activity mats. Floor mats provide some cushioning for those standing much of the day or places to stretch during the workday.

Chairs that promote movement. Some use yoga balls that engage core muscles, while others are stools that wobble so employees can move even when they’re sitting.

Accessories. Bluetooth headsets allow employees to walk around while making sales calls or participating in meetings on the phone. Fitbit-type activity trackers also encourage movement. Apps from the furniture manufacturers track how much someone is standing or walking and remind workers to get up and move.

Tamara Lytle is a freelance writer in the Washington, D.C., area.

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