I’m always trying to think of ways to boost my energy and productivity levels when working from home. It’s so tempting to work on the couch, and I’m always getting distracted by the thought of tasty snacks. Is it any wonder that I’ve gained a few pounds since leaving a job that had me on my feet for over 40 hours a week? If, like me, you have no inclination to do exercise before or after work, a treadmill desk may be the answer to better health and wellness in the workplace.
The healthier we are, both physically and mentally, the more alert and focused we are. Our energy increases, we sleep better, we’re happier in ourselves, and we’re more equipped to deal with stress. As a direct result of improved health, work productivity increases. I’d like to achieve these benefits without leaving the house or giving up my free time, so I did a bit of research to determine whether a treadmill desk is a viable solution or ridiculous notion. I’m now seriously considering getting one.
What Does Science Say?
Researchers at Stanford discovered that the activity of walking, whether indoors or outdoors, increases our creativity levels by approximately 60%. As a writer, this is something I would welcome. Even when sitting back down after a period of walking, our creative inspiration continues to flow, so there’s no need to continue walking for the entire duration of the working day. Steve Jobs was renowned for his walking meetings, so if it was good enough for him, I’m going to give it a go.
According to a 12-month-long research study carried out by the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, “overall work performance, quality and quantity of performance, and interaction with coworkers improved as a result of adoption of treadmill workstations.”
There’s an initial period of adjustment, during which time you will have to get used to working and walking, so productivity may decline slightly. And of course, treadmill desks are not conducive to all types of work. I imagine it would be a bit tricky to use one if, for example, you were a dressmaker or photographer!
These positive findings are supported by a 2014 study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. In addition to treadmill workstations, cycling desks were also trialed. Not surprisingly, the peddling participants did not fare well, but those who were walking and working suffered less stress and boredom than normal, their performance was unaffected, and they benefited from increased satisfaction.
While your physical health will inevitably increase, there’s no absolute guarantee that your productivity will, but it’s unlikely to decline. A one-year treadmill desk trial carried out by Dr James Levine of the Mayo Clinic discovered that the daily activity of participants increased, naturally. As a result, weight loss was observed. However, workplace performance was unaffected. Personally, I still think that’s a positive outcome because there was no negative impact on performance, but the participants became healthier as a result.
To Walk or Not to Walk
The opportunity to improve my physical, mental, and emotional health without sacrificing my spare time or damaging my productivity levels at work is something that really appeals to me. I love to multitask and essentially, I’d be getting paid to exercise. A treadmill desk is also a tax-deductible expense if you’re self-employed, so that makes the price tag a little easier to swallow. The only aspect that really troubles me is how it will fit in with my decor.
About the Author
Rachel Craig is a digital content writer and editor at Quality Formations Ltd, specializing in company formation and regulatory compliance, business startup advice, and healthful living. Splitting her time between a shared office and home office, she has extensive personal experience of the benefits and challenges faced by the home-based worker. Through many a trial and error, Rachel has discovered an effective strategy for optimal health and a successful work-life balance.