Treadmill Desks: Misstep Or Step Forward?

We’ve known that walking stimulates creativity and the thinking process. Why, even the best thinkers of their age like Aristotle and Virginia Woolf, both took strolls for inspiration. So, combining the two activities, walking and working, is a genius idea, right? Are treadmill desks and other similar equipment the next office must-have feature or are they just a fad?

With many conflicting opinions and studies on this topic, we have taken the time to weigh up the pro’s and con’s. So, before you get your people hopping on these workstation hamster-wheels, let’s review the facts:

Stop! Treadmill desks are a misstep:

Office workers rely on our motor skills to carry out typing, and we also require much concentration day-to-day. It seems this is the point at which where the treadmill and other similar desks fall flat on their face. According to a recent study, typing speed and efficiency is much reduced while working on a treadmill desk, by as much as 10 per cent says another research. There’s also the safety concerns, like those faced by some Toyota employees who were injured using their treadmill desks. Because walking consumes user’s cognitive resources, it becomes difficult for them to concentrate while using the treadmill desk. No surprises there—one could argue that walking while texting falls under the same principle, and that can be seriously dangerous. But doesn’t research also point out that walking is good for concentration? Yes, however, focus improves after walking, not while the deed is being done.

Go! Treadmill desks are a step forward

On the flip side, another research highlights that using treadmill desks improves health and mood resulting in better performance. It reports that people using treadmill desks were less stressed than those seated.

And the health benefits don’t stop there, as these walking workstations have been found to also assist workers in reducing weight and levels of bad cholesterol.

As for the concentration issues, some argue that with practice and consistent use, treadmill desks and focus-heavy work will be like a walk in the park. And with sitting desks causing more and more health problems, employers do the right thing by their workforce in exploring other options that promote movement.

Alas, there’s just not enough definitive research to give substantial evidence for or against the treadmill and other movement workstations. We know that sitting is bad for us, but wouldn’t it be just as easy to take five and go for a short stroll without having to reconfigure our desks?

Our modern work life is defined by being as stationary as the materials on our desks and for long periods too. In an ironic twist, we seem to want to return to a time where ‘work’ meant ‘movement’. Will treadmill desks usher in that not-so-new age?

We’ll leave you to decide if that’s true for your business—perhaps during your next evening stroll.