Are Treadmill Desks Safe to Use in the Workplace?
First off, yes treadmill desks are safe to use. For the most part, walking on a treadmill desk poses all the same difficulties as walking elsewhere in an office, albeit with potentially more multitasking depending on the user. However, I'd like to think as a whole we are being more adapt to walking and multitasking what with the abundance and ease of cell phones. Rarely do you find someone walking down the street with a smartphone not tethered to their hand. Basically, walking on a treadmill desk while typing on your computer or while on a conference call is much like walking down the street while using your smartphone. In fact, without the added obstacles of other people, cars, bicyclers, etc. it is probably more safe.
Even so, we understand the concern for HR in adding them into the workplace. After all, walking while working is a fairly new concept and few people have had the opportunity to take a treadmill desk for a test drive so to speak. Because of this, at LifeSpan, we have added a variety of safety features to our treadmill desks.
Treadmill Desk Safety Features
This LifeSpan exclusive feature recognizes when you stop walking and automatically
Pauses the treadmill belt to ensure no one steps back on without recognizing the belt is moving.
Audible Safety Alert
Each LifeSpan treadmill desk comes with the audible safety alert enabled. This feature notifies the user when the treadmill is starting, as well as when the speed is being adjusted by producing a beeping sound. You may find this to be distracting and therefore are able to disable it through the treadmill desks personal settings.
Starting Speed of 0.4 MPH
Each LifeSpan treadmill desk starts out at a leisurely 0.4 mph. This is important for shared work spaces so users aren’t caught off guard by an accelerating belt. This safety feature can be disabled in personal settings, thereby allowing the treadmill to resume the previous speed.
Out of the box, the treadmill desks is set with a maximum speed of 2.0 MPH. However, this can be adjusted to 4.0 MPH if this is a concern. Again, this can be changed by accessing your personal settings.
As with standard fitness treadmills, treadmill desks also come equipped with a safety key located at the front of the console. The key can be fastened to your clothing so if for any reason you step away from the treadmill, the key will release, effectively turning off the treadmill.
Walking Belt Markings
The walking surface includes a white markings which will rotate with the belt to indicate belt movement. Since the motor is nearly silent at low speeds, this is essential to keep someone from being caught off guard by stepping onto a moving belt.
Lack of Incline
Private and government business's will not even consider a treadmill desk that offers an incline feature. Walking and working at an incline puts the user in a non-ergonomic position, which in turn, can cause discomfort and increases the risk of bodily harm. Also, the desk would need to rise in unison with the treadmill, creating numerous design challenges.
LifeSpan treadmills come equipped with raised side rails on each side of the belt to allow the user to step on and off of the moving treadmill belt.
Treadmill Desk Setup
Like with any other piece of large furniture, you will want to make sure there is a wide girth of space surrounding the treadmill desk. Enough for you to get on and off the treadmill with ease as well enough room for coworkers to easily maneuver around. You will also want to make sure that any cords from the treadmill or other electronics are tucked away and aren't hanging out in the walking area for someone to potentially trip over.
To ensure stability, make sure both the treadmill and the desk are placed on a level surface. To help aid in this, the treadmill desk includes six leveling feet: one at each corner of the treadmill, and two located under the desk legs. These can be adjusted to help eliminate rocking created from placement on a non-level surface.
Whether you are using a LifeSpan DT5 or DT7 desk, or another standing desk, the desktop height should be set at a height ensuring proper ergonomics. In doing so you will avoid unnecessary strain on the joints, decreasing the potential of fatigue.
Treadmill Desk Tips
As with any other product, a treadmill desk should be used solely as it was manufactured to be used. Doing so will help eliminate unnecessary mishaps.
You'll want to wear comfortable attire if you plan on walking for large periods of time. This includes both shoes and clothing. I personally keep a pair of tennis shoes next to my desk that a switch into every time before I begin walking. I don't know how many times I've seen pictures of women wearing 3-inch heels while using a treadmill desk, but I would definitely advise against doing so. You will want to wear comfortable, breathable clothing. Even though you will most likely be walking somewhere between 1.5 and 2.0 MPH (and likely won't break a sweat,) walking for long periods in skin-tight clothing is never enjoyable.
For Additional Information
Hopefully this helps address any questions or concerns you had with treadmill safety in the workplace. If you have additional questions, you are more than welcome to give us a call at 877.654.3837 or speak with one of our live chat agents.