Treadmill Workstations, also known as treadmill desks, allow users to walk and work simultaneously. They can range from a simple moving platform that you place at your desk, to a full set up complete with the platform, desk, and handrails.
If you are thinking about purchasing a treadmill workstation, or are unsure about the idea, consider the following pros and cons:
- Increased productivity
- Over a 12- month period participants found that their overall work performance improved with the use of treadmill workstations.1
- Improved physiological changes, such as good cholesterol
- One review showed that, compared to standing desk, treadmill workstation had the greatest improvement in physiological changes. Mixed results were reported for the impact of treadmill workstations on work performance.2
- Increased physical activity
- Walking has many health benefits, including lower blood pressure and improved mood.3
- Treadmill workstations are not cheap
- Treadmill workstations can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars.
- If cost is an issue or barrier to purchasing a treadmill workstation for each employee, consider buy 1 or 2 instead. Set up worksite policies that allow employees to use the treadmill workstation for an allotted amount of time per week in order to encourage walking!
- They are a distractions
- Walking and working can be difficult to adjust to. One study found that the use of a treadmill workstation actually decreased performance. 4
- Some employees may need more time than others to adjust to the treadmill workstations. Others might just not want one at all! Let your employees try a treadmill workstation first before purchasing a large amount.
- Safety concerns
- Treadmill workstations can be adjusted for speed and some can even be adjusted for incline. Encourage employees to try the lowest speed first, at no incline, and gradually increase to see what works best for them.
- Establish worksite policies that outline appropriate use of the treadmill workstation. For example, have employees wear appropriate shoes and prohibit the use of increasing the speed past walking pace, in order to prevent injury.
Treadmill workstations can be an excellent way to support employee health in the workplace. Keep the above information in mind when deciding if a treadmill workstation is a good idea for your workplace.
 Treadmill Workstations: The Effects of Walking while Working on Physical Activity and Work Performance http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0088620#abstract0
 A systematic review of standing and treadmill desks in the workplace https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25448843
 Physical Activity http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/walking/
 The Downside of Treadmill Desks http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/06/10/the-downside-of-treadmill-desks/?_r=0