Thursday, June 27, 2013

App-controlled Sit to Stand Desk - the Latest Tablet Innovation

If you’re like most Americans, you're probably hunched over as you read these words. You fight it (you’re straightening your back right now) but inevitably you'll return to slouching shortly (you probably already have).

Workrite, makers of office furniture and workstations, believes they’ve come up with a powerful solution, an app-powered sit to stand desk. And like everything else today, it’s powered by technology.

We saw it at the NeoCon2013 conference at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart June 10 - 12, where Rentfusion served as the official technology provider. There Workrite unveiled their latest work-station, Intuition, a sit to stand desk controlled by an app on your phone or tablet.

Sit to Stand Desks Go to A New Level

Workrite Intuition ergonomics desk
The Workrite Intuition desk uses an app to adjust to your
perfect standing or sitting work position.
Here’s how it works. An employee plugs their smartphone or tablet into the desk, then places their personalized ID card on a reader on the desk. The Workrite app pops up with the employee’s desk settings, allowing them to create the perfect sitting or standing height to work comfortably.

The product is the latest weapon in the battle against the maladies associated with life at the desk – diabetes, back and shoulder pain, neck problems, and heart disease.

Dr. Jason Jared, Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine and owner of ProACTIVE Health and Fitness in Chicago’s NorthCenter neighborhood, said many of the patients he sees can trace their problems directly to their working posture.

“Our seated posture has really contributed to making these problems almost epidemic,” he said. “The fact is that most people sit at a computer all day long. We stand and sit with a decreased lumbar curve, and we tuck our tailbone under ourselves. As a result, our upper back arches more than it’s supposed to, and we end up with that hunchback look.”

Your head should rest over your shoulders, Dr. Jared said, but now most people’s heads lunge forward even when away from the desk.

Laptops make the problem worse. People work with the laptop on their legs, pulling their chin down and creating great strain on the neck and shoulder muscules.

“Laptops are horrible for ergonomics,” Dr. Jared says. “You’re tucking your chin and extending your head out in front of your body. Now muscles that shouldn’t be strong are getting stronger, and the ones that should be stronger, are get weaker, creating an imbalance that leads to other issues. It has the potential of being a lower back problem.”

Ergonomics By App

Dr. Jared says that finding your ideal working position is critical. Your monitor should be straight ahead of your eyes and slightly down. The Intuition strives to not only find that spot when you’re sitting, but to make it easy for you to transfer to a standing position, where you’ll burn more calories and prevent slouching.

Scott McPartin Workrite
Scott McPartin believes Workrite's technology could
revolutionize the office.
Workrite's Scott McPartin says the sit to stand desk, which will hit the market at the end of the year and retail for roughly $1,700, is the first adjustable height desk to have an app associated with it. Not only will it remember settings, but it will monitor energy use.

Get up and take your card off the reader and the desk’s electronics, inlcuding your lamp and clock, will power down. Grab your tablet and place your ID on another workstation and that one will pick up your settings, allowing a new level of office mobility.

"In the race to attract the best engineers and employees – and keep them – a quality, comfortable workstation is a fantastic perk, and a relatively minor investment," McPartin says. "With the reporting available from the app, employers can now show data to their insurance companies that could drive down insurance rates as well."

For years we’ve invested in better chairs at the office (and we continue to do so. There were hundreds of models on display at NeoCon) but Workrite is trying to make it easier to spend more time out of the chair all together.

So what do you think? Have you tried an adjustable sit to stand desk? Did it help you?