HR & Management

“Magic desk” helps CEO create healthy workplace culture

5 min read

12 February 2016

Former deputy editor

User Replay is a digital customer experience management business based in Reading and San Francisco – as a fast-growth company, the management is eager to encourage activity among staff, which has been helped with a “magic desk”.

Rising rapidly across two countries has seen User Replay introduce what it calls a healthy working culture.

“We are a health-conscious business and are generally aware of the downsides of the modern, sedentary office environment can bring,” explained CEO John Thompson.

“Many of the team go out for a run at lunchtime, and I encourage everyone to take even small steps to increasing their mobility while they are in the office.”

This includes ideas such as asking his team to walk around while making phone calls or when they are having routine meetings with colleagues.

“I genuinely believe there are both health and performance benefits in being more active around the office whenever you can,” he added.

Thompson himself was an early adopter of sit-stand desk technology, having originally used products from Ergotron as part of a healthy regime.

He said: “I’m a very active person, but like many, I’ve had one or two back problems over the years and my interest in using a standing desk came about alongside a programme of regular chiropractic treatment and general fitness.”

Now a user of Ergotron’s WorkFit-T sit-stand desk, Thompson estimates he stands for around one third of his working day in total, equating to half the time he is actually at his desk.

His sit-stand workstation is placed on top of a regular desk without mounting or clamping, making it easily movable from one work area to another. When he wants to sit normally at his desk he can, but when he wants to stand, the whole unit lifts easily via two levers, raising the workspace to the right height for standing.

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“I’m aware that my sitting posture is not ideal, so having the ability to easily convert the desk to its standing mode without interrupting my concentration is very useful,” Thompson detailed.

“I can also spend significant amounts of time in the car, so the time I get to stand at my desk plays an important role in my efforts to look after my health.”

Thompson believes that his rounded approach to his workplace wellbeing, and his efforts to sit down less have delivered significant benefits as he noted muscle strengthening and improvements to the back on the whole, a combined effort of activity, the company’s healthy culture, treatment and the desk.

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He has also identified additional benefits from the time he spends standing. “I feel more engaged in what is going on around the office, and I have also noticed that my energy levels remain good throughout the day. Sitting down far less plays a huge part in creating these important effects.”

Thompson feels that an active office environment delivers long term benefits, and those that make a commitment to sit less and stand more feel better and work more effectively.

“Getting out of the sitting habit is something which everyone who works in an office environment should strongly consider,” he said.

“Whether it’s long-term health benefits that are important to you, or just having more energy and focus during your time in the office, something as simple as standing up can have a dramatic and lasting impact.”

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