Office furniture meets workplace wellness

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Last week, the Globe and Mail ran a piece featuring the new Steelcase Walkstation. Before I go too much further I should tell you that Office Interiors has long been a Haworth dealer, one of Steelcase’s main competitors.

Overall, I think this is an interesting product. Is it likely to gain widespread adoption? Probably not. Does it challenge us to think about workforce health in different, unique ways? I think so.

So much of our industry is built around ergonomics – designing products that serve to reduce the strain and stress of office life. Many leading organizations here in Atlantic Canada understand that reducing strain and stress at the office is about more than ergonomics and comfort – it is also about finding ways for employees to lead more active lives.

I think that, if employed properly, a few industries might find something like the Walkstation helpful. However, I think there are even greater benefits to be had through workplace walking programs as they not only encourage physical fitness at work, but also help foster the informal social interaction between co-workers that is so critical in the development of a cohesive, engaged culture.

Interestingly, a company with an Atlantic Canadian connection – WalkingSpree – has been doing some fantastic work in the area of workplace walking initiatives incorporating the use of computerized tracking via advanced pedometers. They’re definitely worth taking a look at.

So, while the Walkstation might not represent the next great advancement in workplace furnishings, it does, to my mind, help shine an important light on the steps all organizations can take in encouraging employees to stay active.