Category Archives: Productivity

Make it a happier, healthier, Ergotron new year!


With the New Year just a few days away, healthy habits may be inspiring you toward an amazing 2016. Set yourself up for success with these highly innovative solutions for healthy computing at work, school, or home. They’re guaranteed to have a positive impact on your life:

Instantly move to sit or stand as you work with our ultra easy standing desks, such as the WorkFit-T Sit-Stand Workstation. Quickly convert a tabletop into a healthy sit-stand workstation! For all you options, learn more> Or take a peek at our ever-popular LX Arm frees up space and allows easy positioning of your display.

LearnFit™ Adjustable Standing Desk for students keep kids active and engaged in the classroom. Students can instantly and intuitively personalize the desk to their preferred height. Learn more or hear what teachers and students are saying at

The nimble SV10 Laptop or Tablet Carts effortlessly moves to the point of need and offers easy height adjustment. It’s one of the innovative new Ergotron products built with Anthro-DNA™! That mark signifies design and engineering experience our new brand Anthro brings to expand your options at Ergotron. Learn more>

The new ErgotronHome™ Workspace™ Hub27 cabinet brings order and charging power to your home-tech. Better yet, it doubles as a wall-mounted standing desk, for less sitting time after hours. ErgotronHome’s WorkSpace series — the Hub and Lift products — are now shipping. Learn more>


We’re betting you’ll find it so easy to put your New Year’s resolutions in play. Until then, have a safe and happy holiday from all of us at Ergotron!

White House requests $700k for standing desks


America: Stand Beside Her and Guide Her
If the recent White House requisition for standing desks proves anything, it’s that the quest for a healthier lifestyle is not divided along partisan lines. Prominent public figures known to use standing desks include Donald Rumsfeld, Winston Churchill, Oliver Wendell Homes, Jr., and Benjamin Franklin. Notable writers who stood include Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf and Oscar Hammerstein II.

Predictably, the US government support of sit-stand desks has come in the form of modeling best practices rather than by mandate by law. Our safety standards for office workers tend to be conservative when compared to the European Union, which considers height adjustable standing desks an ergonomic necessity.

The Thousand Dollar Toilet Seat
It should come as no surprise that some citizens are crying out that the expense is too great and the money better spent on other necessities. An outlay of $700,000 over 5 years does sound excessive; even when broken down over 60 months it comes to $11,666.666, which apart from anything else is not an auspicious series of digits.

How will government workers benefit from this expenditure? Is the standing desk just another symptom of government running off with our collective check book? Are we figuratively flushing good money after bad? I don’t think so. Several independent researchers have found that an effective sit-stand desk such as Ergotron’s WorkFit line can reduce sedentary time by 50% per day among average knowledge workers. Given the documented harmful effects of sitting too much, this translates as a reduced risk for muscular skeletal and cardio metabolic risks for employees.

Fig. 1 Harmful effects of sitting


Let Freedom Ring

While reducing risks associated with sedentary time promotes health and wellbeing, there is a less concrete benefit that was first verified in the land of our forefathers: Great Britain. The Whitehall study was originally designed to prove that people in higher levels of management were more stressed than those they managed. As it turns out, the lower you are on the company ladder, the more stress you’re liable to experience.

What accounts for fewer health concerns among executives? One explanation is autonomy. People who have no choice in the tasks they do, and when they do them, suffer from a lack of decision latitude that can severely limit their performance and productivity.

On the other hand, people in offices who were given sit-stand desks were able to exercise some control over the way they worked with the simple choice to change postures at will. It came as some surprise to researchers that something as simple as this could elevate mood, energy and concentration!

Crown Thy Good With Brotherhood
With evidence-based data showing adjustable standing desks can help mitigate sitting-related diseases AND enhance performance and productivity, the American government, indeed any government, is exactly the place where you want this investment made. Can’t you just picture it? A sit-stand attachment on the President’s desk in the Oval Office? History in the making…

carrie s_a-hr

Carrie Schmitz, Sr. Manager of Ergonomic & Wellness Research at Ergotron (@giveafig)


[Video] Ergotron WorkFit-S: Feel good about your work

How does a guy growing up working on cars make the adjustment to the necessary, grow your business type of activities required at a desk? This is what Jason had to decide when the orders, invoices and online aspect of his business brought him out of the shop and into an office. He owns a company selling performance auto parts in California. Jason found that by using Ergotron’s WorkFit-S for his computer work he could now stand up for half of his day without his back getting sore. Plus, his clients like it. It is industrial looking, sleek and ergonomic, and has changed his work environment for the better. See Jason’s story. Drive on.

Why We Need to Sit AND Stand

It isn’t enough to have a standing desk. You need the option to sit and stand throughout your day.

A few days ago I read a post on Hacker News from Mikael Cho the founder of ooomf declaring why he killed his standing desk

From his post I gleaned these reasons Mikael killed his standing desk:

  • Standing for long periods caused him pain
  • This pain distracted him from his work
  • His standing desk forced his body to take breaks when his brain wanted to work
  • He couldn’t stay ‘wired in’ and focused while standing

Mikael also mentioned the following items related to standing, productivity, exercise, health, and lifestyle:

  • His standing desk helped him stay focused during certain tasks like answering email
  • Sitting isn’t bad. It’s sitting for long periods of time without movement that’s the killer
  • When we don’t move, our risk of cardiovascular disease increases and our blood circulation drops
  • A standing desk may be one way to solve the sitting problem but it doesn’t solve the inactivity problem
  • In the book Blue Zones, longevity was linked to regular, low intensity physical activity
  • One community in Okinawa, Japan has one fifth the risk of colon and breast cancer and lives seven years longer than the average American. In their culture, people sit on the floor, causing them to get up and down thirty to forty times per day

Our mission at Ergotron is to offer high quality sit-stand workstations at an affordable price so that you have the option to sit or stand while you work.

The problem with Mikael’s desk is that it was a $22 standing only Ikea hack that didn’t offer the option to sit without re-configuring your technology. In this limited configuration, transition between standing/sitting is a productivity obstacle.

Having the option to easily sit or stand is critical to a great user experience.

Over the years since I first started using a sit-stand workstation I encountered many of the same issues Mikael faced. My legs got tired. I needed to sit to focus or get into flow mode. I found myself more productive standing going through email but needed to sit to get ‘into’ writing. Some days are different than other days. Some days I stand most of the day, other days I sit most of the day. Most days I am up and down, transitioning more than 10 times.

When at a desk for 6-8 hours a day, simply taking a break and standing for an hour to go through some emails relieves my muscle and joint stiffness.

With my WorkFit-D, using a single hand I can transition from sitting/standing while maintaining creative flow without re-configuring my screens, keyboard, or mouse.

But don’t kill your hack yet!

Are you like Mikael Cho, ready to kill your hacked standing desk? I say wait. Consider what a WorkFit configuration experience might do for you. Maybe a WorkFit D with the Dual Side-by-Side LX Arm configuration.  What, you’re a Macbook user? Think about the WorkFit-P for Apple. Whatever your scenario, we’ve got a sit-stand configuration to suit your style.

And if Mikael is reading this, I have an offer for you. You can find me at @solson.







Steve Olson- Director of Technology – Ergotron a Nortek Company





(Infographic) Nursing Challenges and Changes

While nurses represent the majority of the U.S. healthcare workforce and are on the front lines of the industry’s radical transformation, they face many daily challenges. Nurses are responsible for quality care and patient satisfaction, yet they continue to spend more time interacting with technology and potentially less and less time actually providing care to patients, making it harder to provide outstanding care.

Nurses went into the profession because they wanted to take care of people. In this world of technology they are spending up to 35% of their day doing documentation. This infographic looks at ways that they can make that 35% more tolerable and reduce or combine documentation time with patient interaction (triangle of care).

Nursing Challenges and Changes_Infographic

We believe that if we can provide equipment to relieve physical burdens, solutions to technology problems and broadband telemedicine to alleviate the widespread nursing shortage, the healthcare industry and nurses in particular will be better positioned to do the job they are meant to be doing- providing quality care to patients.

Click here for a PDF of the Infographic and Creative Commons Attribution.

Sit-Stand Postural Rotation for the Worker

Carrie Schmitz, Office Ergonomics Consultant & Engineering Publications Manager @ Ergotron

I had the pleasure of having a conversation with David Antle about his recent studies and blog initiatives. David initially engaged with us through our weekly #ergochat—the ergonomics twitter chat hosted by @HeatherRou. We originally spoke about different ergonomic topics, and this is the first one that came to fruition.

David’s post, “The Multi-Factored Issue of Adapting Working Posture,” explores factors around the ergonomic way of discussing sit-stand. David brings a whole new perspective from the ergonomic field, and it was energizing to meld his theories with our own sit-stand manufacturing concepts. He spoke about the systemic approach to sitting AND standing too much, how postural change can be affected by task, and talking in terms of productivity and ROI to engage employers.

We look forward to future collaborations and blog posts together. Also, be sure to join for the next #ergochat—a great forum to discuss how ergonomics and research is ever changing. We’d love to hear your perspective as well!


David M. Antle is a PhD candidate at the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education at McGill University (Montreal, QC, Canada) where he is completing a research project on the impacts of working posture on health and performance outcomes in production work. David can be reached on Twitter and at his blog

What’s the skinny on sit-stand desks? (Hint, it has to do with magic underwear)

A new research study by Ergotron, the University of Minnesota (School of Public Health) and the Mayo Clinic was launched in January: “Standing Compared to Sitting in the Workplace: An Experimental Study of Physiological, Behavioral, and Psychological Effects.”

The study is designed to gauge the impact of increased activity when office workers use sit-stand desks instead of the traditional sitting posture desks which have been linked to risks associated to sedentary behavior. “Magic underwear” from the Mayo Clinic (biker shorts fitted with a unique tracking device), worn through various stages of the study, allow the researchers to tell when participants are in a vertical or horizontal position (i.e., sitting or standing).

Caldrea president and VP of marketing chat with James Levine, MD, during research kickoff @ Caldrea

The research is being conducted at Caldrea/Mrs. Meyers, a manufacturer of natural cleaning products situated in the warehouse district of Minneapolis, Minnesota, by the following team:

    • Mark Pereira, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Minnesota
    • Steven Stovitz, MD, MS, Associate Professor , University of Minnesota
    • Nirjhar Dutta, Masters Student in Public Health, University of Minnesota
    • Gabe Koepp, M.S., Project Manager, Mayo Clinic
    • James A. Levine, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic
    • Carrie Schmitz, Ergonomic Research Manager, Ergotron

The study consists of three phases:

    • During the first month, approximately half the participants are working at an Ergotron sit-stand workstation while the other half continue to sit as they have always done.
    • The second month of the study is a “washout,” meaning everyone engages in sit-only desk work, although health measurements are still gathered.
    • In the final month, the people who had sit-stand desks during Month 1 will sit at their normal sit-only desk, while the other half (those who sat during month 1) will use the sit-stand desks.

All desks have been configured to meet the individual needs of the participants.

Measurements taken during the study include: height, weight, hip and waist circumference, sitting and standing heart rates, and heart rates taken after three minutes of stepping on a 16” platform and 15 minutes (one mile) walking at variable speeds on a treadmill.

Self-report surveys are also being administered throughout the study to learn about a participant’s caloric intake, type and level of activity and perceived stress. Participants are encouraged to actively stand 50% more throughout their workday, and will achieve this by adjusting their workstations to sit or stand as their body demands throughout the day, by standing more in meetings, etc.

A significant feature of this study is the use of a medical van developed at Mayo, in partnership with the U of MN, for use within communities. The van houses a DEXA scanner that delivers body mass index data on each of the 30 participants. At the end of the study the measurements and surveys will be compared in order to determine if participants benefited from the time spent engaged in sit-stand work.

Throughout, Ergotron has played a major role, not only supplying the sit-stand workstation solutions participants will be using during the research, but also serving as Project Manager and lending crucial ergonomic resources in terms of education and personal workstation assessments.

Here’s some coverage* of the research to date:

The results of this study are expected to be made public at the end of May and will also be presented at Ergotron’s second annual Just Stand Wellness Summit in July. With what we expect to learn from the Caldrea participants, the possibility that this effort will fuel an even larger, more comprehensive study is high.

*Due to inaccuracies that sometimes get reported, if you have any questions about the study feel free to contact us

Business as UNusual?

Tester Guy can do a lot of things but can he tackle sit-stand computing? You know it. Check out his latest antics with Ergotron’s newest height-adjustable workstation, the WorkFit-D, Sit-Stand Desk.



Life in the Cube: 5 Ways to Increase Productivity?

Michelle Judd, Sr. Marketing Manager, Global Communications @ Ergotron

Recently posted Business 2.0 Magazine writer-reporter Michal Lev-Ram’s piece titled “Designing the 21st Century cubicle.”  

Michal outlines a few “enhancements” companies are choosing but I still think they are getting it wrong. 

With the exception of one small company that I worked for right after college, most of my career has been spent in some style cube or another.

In that spirit, here’s my personal list of the top five cube enhancements companies may want to consider to garner ultimate productivity for the long-term cube dweller.

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The secret life of work from home ergonomics

“Darn it, Carrie, you know better!”

That’s what ran through my mind the other day when I woke up with a very sore, stiff neck. As an office ergonomic consultant, I knew exactly why I had the problem, but I have to admit that when I was doing the thing that caused it, I was not thinking at all. I was just doing.

And here’s the reason why: it was because I was working from home.

For some reason, those sound ergonomic rules that we follow in the office can easily be ignored when we work from home, almost as if working at home isn’t really working.

And while I have everything I need to make an ergonomic workstation in my living room (a cozy spot near the fireplace and in front of the television), I didn’t use it to full advantage because I was only planning to work for a couple hours that evening. If I ever needed proof that just two hours in the wrong posture can result in days of pain and reduced movement, this experience did it.

What went wrong?

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