Employee wellness has become a hot-button topic in the last decade. As more research and information emerges on how a sedentary lifestyle, such as office work, affects the human body, products are being developed to combat these effects. The most common product on the market are the sit to stand desks. They are almost essential in the modern workplace. The quirkier, but more effective defense against long-term sitting is the treadmill desk.
Does it look out of place? Is it a little expensive? Yes. Is everyone suited for the treadmill desk? Absolutely not. With all that being said, treadmill desks have started to gain a following of believers who no longer want to think of a day in the office without it. Look at this honest review from a Bustle employee. If that isn't convincing enough, check out this guy's take on the innovative product.
Lack of benefits has never been an issue with the treadmill desks, as you can see in the above infographic. The major obstacle for the treadmill desks has been the eyesore/distraction that many employers perceive this contraption will be. Unfortunately, it's hard to predict how it will affect your coworker's ability to focus until you try it. The treadmill desks are much quieter than the normal treadmills you would encounter at the gym, but they aren't completely devoid of sound. The other issue with these desks is their sheer size. They take up a lot of real estate in the office, so if space is an issue buying multiples of the treadmill desk may not be an option. Other than those two possible issues, the only other distraction may come from everyone in the office asking for a treadmill desk of their own.
It is estimated that between 400,000 and 600,000 treadmill desks have been bought since it was introduced into the market. With a number that high, it's safe to say that the treadmill desks are here to stay. That's probably a good thing too as many consider sitting to be the new smoking. According to the Mayo Clinic, "research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns, including obesity and metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. Too much sitting also seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer."
If living longer and losing weight doesn't convince you to purchase a standing or treadmill desk, maybe the mental health side of it will. In a study by Indiana-Purdue University, they found that the walking workstations, regardless of a person’s exercise habits or body mass index (BMI), had significant benefits,” said study leader Michael Sliter. “Even if you don’t exercise or if you are overweight, you’ll experience both short-term physical and psychological benefits.” In another study by "Take-a-Stand Project", it was theorized that the treadmill desks can improve mood, it was then backed up when 62% of participants in the study claimed an increase in happiness. It can also act as an anti-depressant as it is exercise, and exercise has already been proven to decrease depression.
In the end, whether you perceive the treadmill desk as a passing fad or a revolutionary new office product, the treadmill desk makes you rethink the way you work. As research continues to come out against the sedentary work lifestyle and the millennial generation continues to advocate for empoyee wellness, it can be expected that many other innovations will be coming out to decrease the negative side-effects of sitting all day. For now, the best options are to pick up a standing desk or start walking with the treadmill desk.