As Group CEO of e-Commerce for Econet Wireless, Neil Schwartzman (42), spends most of his day at his computer. We asked him about his treadmill desk experience…
What led you to try out a treadmill desk?
I’d heard all about the health benefits and was curious. I’d also been to a Consumer Electronics Show in San Francisco, where a number of people had spoken positively about using a treadmill desk at the office. I knew it wouldn’t replace going to the gym, but I liked the idea of being more active in my working day. I also believe people think better on their feet. Many of my best thoughts come when I’m walking. Steve Jobs used to hold walking meetings for exactly that reason.
Did you have any challenges adjusting to the desk?
Not at all, actually. By day two, I was loving it. I kept thinking, This is amazing! I wasn’t aware that my legs were moving, though I did notice that spreadsheet work, or more precision work, was a little challenging. On the other hand, I found I was more focused during phone conversations. I tend to pace up and down when I’m on the phone so this felt a very natural development for me.
Tell us about a regular day on the treadmill desk…
When I wasn’t travelling as much for work (these days I’m out of the country about 200 days a year), I would walk on the desk all day – always in my running shoes – and do six or seven kilometres daily. I started off at 1.3 km/hr, building up to 1.8 km/hr, and finally settled at 2.2 km/hr, where I felt most comfortable. I know some people enjoy it, but I didn’t do any intense measuring of my stats; that’s not really my style. I did notice feeling more energetic and less lethargic after a day of working while walking.
Would you recommend a treadmill desk to others?
Absolutely, and especially to anyone who sits all day long. It’s wonderful to get the body engaged during an office day. I also highly recommend Walk & Work! Jan [W&W founder] set up the desk for me and sent through tips as well as the latest articles and research on the benefits of a treadmill desk. He also has a great selection of treadmills, desks, and other mobile workstations to choose from. He was great at helping me select the desk best suited for me.
How would you improve the treadmill desk experience?
As it’s a completely new concept, it would be great for potential customers to have a Try Before You Buy option. (In the interim Walk & Work has partnered up with Cecil Nurse. The Cape Town branch has a treadmill desk as well as a bike desk on display to view and trial.)
Do you think treadmill desks could work in a corporate environment?
I really do! I wouldn't want to share mine, but in a corporate office I guess you'd need a number of workstations so that everyone could get a turn.
Neil is walking and working on the TR1200 combined with the TR5 desk.
We’d love to hear about your experience with a treadmill, bike or standing desk! Feel free to get in touch with us.