Treadmill Desks or Gym?
March 21, 2014– As technology increases so does the number of people sitting at a desk and a computer every day. As a paralegal and business owner I can tell you that I spend more hours sitting than I do moving. As a result, I am always looking for ways to increase my movement during the day. Apparently, I am not the only professional wanting to find solutions to the problem of moving less due to working at a desk– but are treadmill desks the answer?
Around Christmas time in 2013, I was sitting in my office working and my business partner comes in and tell me to turn on the TV that there was a report airing on ways to increase productivity in the office. My partner continues to tell me that there are companies all over the country putting special treadmill desks in their offices because they believe that the moving during the day will help with productivity. After watching the report, I didn’t give it much more thought—until today when I was on Twitter.
Today the subject of walking while working seems to be all a buzz. Half of the professional I follow on Twitter, and Linkedin are talking about that fact that new research shows that walking and moving during the work day will increase your office’s productivity.
I believe that we do need ways to improve the health, energy and productivity of office workers, but I am not sure having treadmills installed at workstations is the correct answer. Presumably, this approach could cause more problems. The problems I foresee has to do with personal communication skills, and work related injuries.
We are already a society of oversharing, social media junkies. We are no longer a society of meaningful personal face-to-face communicators. We do communicate a lot, but how much of the sharing and commutating that happens on social media is truly meaningful? The only place I can always count on for some real face time and chatter is the gym.
With that said, walking, and increased movement are great ways to increase energy. People do often feel refreshed after a great workout. However, do you really want to call your insurance agent, marketing agent, or administrative assistant and hear them huffing and puffing? Or hear an annoying humming of a treadmill? I personally think that would be a distraction to the conversation. So, instead of putting treadmills in private offices why not open more corporate gyms or offer gym memberships to employees? In addition, companies with these gyms could, allow workers to go to the corporate gym during work hours and have meaningful peer to peer interaction about project. I think this approach would increase both communication and productivity better then running at my desk alone.
Arguably, I don’t know whether working on a treadmill at my desk alone will indeed help with productivity, but it will be interesting to see how many companies follow this trend.