MEDFORD, Ore. — An Oregon lawmaker is pushing for a pilot study to see if state employees would benefit from walking while working. The Republican representative wants to dip into the state’s general fund to pay for the study.
Representative Jim Thompson out of Dallas, Oregon is pushing for a pilot study with House Bill 27-67. He’d like use the state’s general fund money to buy 10 to 20 treadmill desks or walking workstations. Thompson’s office says they cost a quarter of the amount of the capitol workers’ current desks.
An example of a walking workstation is a trek-desk. Workers would walk about two miles an hour all day while state officials monitor the workers weight, mood, and blood pressure over the course of two years.
A local consultant, Jared Hill, who specializes in ergonomics or the applied science of equipment design in the workplace, says this idea is part of the growing trend of movement at work. While being active is recommended, he says it may interfere with productivity.
“When we sign up to work for a company we come to that company with the expectation that we’re going to work,” Hill explained. “So, work comes first and in the time we’re at work there are lots of things that you can do to stay productive and active. I don’t know that the treadmill desk is going to be the one that makes a difference.”
At Asante, at least a dozen employees have adjustable work stations; the tables raise and lower if employees want to sit or stand. They also have special flexible chairs that adjust for back support. Hill says it’s all about varying your position throughout the day.