The LifeSpan Treadmill Desk Began As an Experiment: Then and Now


When Susan Szenasy of the Metropolis Blog visited this year’s NeoCon annual contract furniture show, she noticed quite a bit of activity at the LifeSpan Treadmill Desk booth. Curious to learn more about the treadmill desk and its LifeSpan origins she sent some questions to Peter Schenk, the president of LifeSpan, a treadmill desk user himself.

The following is a summary of the Q & A interview where Schenk talks about how the LifeSpan Treadmill Desk evolved from its Do It Yourself (DIY) origins as well as the growing desire by employees to get work done and stay healthy at the same time.

  • How did it begin? The LifeSpan Treadmill Desk began as an experiment. We’d been making treadmills for years, and started seeing people posting pictures of their DIY treadmill desks, using our treadmills! LifeSpan took what we learned from them and made a treadmill that smoothed out the bumps. Each of our design elements seeks to solve a problem: the roomy desktop; cable management; wrist pad; control console directly in front of you; free-standing writing surface; and, height adjustability.
  • Who is using them? Treadmill desk users are in all industries, and are all ages. The “ideal” treadmill desk customer is anyone who spends a lot of their day sitting in front of a computer. Being sedentary for eight hours a day isn’t good for you and people recognize that. Our customers are in the corporate work environment (about 60 percent) as well as individuals (about 40 percent).
  • How do companies handle seating and conference groups? Right now companies are either buying individual treadmill desks for individual staff members, or buying multiple treadmill desks for many staffers to share.
  • What areas of office work does it fit best? The footprint is comparable to a regular desk. Multiple employees generally use and share units located in conference rooms and empty offices.
  • What did you learn by showing/demonstrating the product at NeoCon? At NeoCon we showed two patent-pending configurations: one that allows two employees to share a treadmill desk within a standard 12 x 12 cubicle, and another that allows multiple employees to walk and work together, on their own units, with shared tables between them. Our booth drew a lot of smiles. Inevitably, after a minute of using a treadmill desk, even the toughest skeptic would say, “Wow, I didn’t expect it to be this easy.”

As Szenasy points out, NeoCon reminded everyone that people are in different places when it comes to changing their work environments. “Some are stuck in the traditional model, with the perception that work and sitting go hand-in-hand. But an increasingly large percentage is now thinking of standing and working as mainstream, so the idea of walking and working is no longer viewed as something just for health-conscious early adopters.”

To read the entire interview and to learn more visit Q&A: Peter Schenk.


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