Friday, October 26, 2007

Workstation/treadmill combo to combat obesity in the workplace

Ok, I don't know about anybody else, but I used to do data entry (and I spend quite a bit of time on my computer at home now) and I don't think I could walk and type at the same time. At least not and type accurately or with any speed.
So now they are willing to sacrifice speed and accuracy on work just to have thinner employees? Do they think what they supposedly will save on medical bills and insurance costs will more than cover lost productivity? And $4,000 for a workstation? Sounds a little spendy to me. When I worked for Young America Corp, we had about 400 people doing data entry in-house. I don't think they would have been willing to part with $1,600,000 for workstation/treadmills so we could exercise while we worked. And I think it would have been considered discrimination if they bought them for only the workers they considered fat and no one else.
I want to know how they know that everyone who sits at a desk at work all day long is also sitting in a car/bus/train on the way home, and then doing nothing at home but sitting on their ass in front of the television and/or computer. Shit, I forgot, it's only the fat people who do things like sit on their asses all day long, no matter where they are. And they are still counting on burning more calories = health. When are they going to get a clue?


  1. I also used to do Data Entry... and I seriously think that even IF an employer were willing to buy just ONE of these to give it a try... they'd quickly nix the idea. As soon as they saw that it was impossible to walk on the damned thing AND keep up the quota.

    This is just asinine.

  2. My question is, when do they get to sit down and do their jobs? Because I couldn't see a chair anywhere, to switch off sitting with walking. So do companies really expect their employees to walk for 8 hours per day? Yeah, I'll bet applicants will be beating down their doors to work for them.

    I'd just love to meet the nimrod who thought this was a good idea.

  3. I don't know, I'd like to give it a try. It seems the machines are slow-paced, and I've been known to read books while walking/pacing. But I hate sitting in front the computer all day (and am just too lazy to find a more active job).

    That said, I think it would be a cool idea for employers to offer this as a benefit to employees. I could see it if a company set up a special room with two or three of these stations hooked into their shared network - then employees could choose to use them at will. But, yeah, the price tag? Steelcase shouldn't depend on this as their primary line.

    The most annoying thing about the article, to me, is that the focus is of course, anti-obesity, rather than health.

  4. I guess they think that if people can drive and text message at the same time, it's nothing for them to walk and type. And if it was just intermittent typing with no consideration for speed, maybe. But you can't have it both ways. I think very few people could keep both their fingers and their legs going and going and going. I do medical transcription, get paid per line, and there's absolutely no way I could pull that off.

    Not to mention that the whole idea smacks of crypto-fascism. What's next, two-way mirrors in the bathroom stalls to make sure we're all wiping front to back?

  5. My job is all scanning documents and pictures. I suppose it might be nice to do it from a reclining bicycle just to keep me awake and alert, but in truth I usually have to get up every other time to look straight down at the scanner to position my work. Doing that job while exercising would seriously cut into my speed and increase my error rate.

    However, a workstation at home tied to a reclining bike would be just the thing! My daily exercise is really cutting into my online gaming time. I could see a demand for more exercise machines that you could dock your laptop onto, some people hate that their workout is cutting into their work.

  6. And what are they planning to do with disabled employees? Are they hoping they can justify not hiring someone because they couldn't use such a workstation? Seems to me it's a discrimination case waiting to happen if companies seriously went to these.

  7. I think I prefer the sort of behaviour that goes on at our workplace. People get fed up of sitting down and say to the others, "going for a walk, be back in 10mins". Its as commonplace as going to the bathroom; noone blinks an eye.

    The invention just seems... ridiculous. I'd rather have a few more photocopiers and a nice water purifier in the workplace than those crazy things :-/

  8. Ugh. I've done data entry and I've worked for Young America as well (living hell, anyone?)

    While I do think that employers should allow employees options for being more active/less sedate since it's brain-taxing body-underusing desk jobs that are part of the problem of deteriorating health in the US, actually putting people on a treadmill? I can see the sequel to Office Space coming from a mile away on that one.

  9. di - went to your blog and wanted to post about that gorgeous blue dress, but couldn't get it to work. November is my birthday month too, maybe I'll take a page from your book and treat myself to some scrumptious clothes for a change.....thanks for the idea.

  10. I think it's a good idea if used properly. I agree that there should be some sort of option to sit down when they need a break. If you really think about it, to walk for 8 hours straight everyday, even at a slow pace, it can be really hard on the body. It's not even like some other on your feet job, where you at least have many moments of standing still while you are working. This would be continuous walking the entire day, with the exception of a lunch break ( please tell me they at least let them sit down to eat lunch : /


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