California startup Altwork wins the prize as the design thinktank to take the persistent conundrum of lengthy mind- and butt-numbing sitting spells on the job in a boldly comfortable direction: forget standing people up on the job in the name of motivation – lay them out!
Potentially hilarious as it sounds, no, they aren’t champing that directive in the sense of clubbing working stiffs all over the office like baby seals the instant they’re spied working hard at hardly working. Rather, Altwork addresses many employees’ misgivings about holding themselves upright at standing desks all the livelong day by proposing the Altwork Station, a workstation that integrates a desk, seat and monitor stand with electronic controls to reach even the optimal supine position with a monitor (or several) positioned directly overhead and the mouse and keyboard magnetically secured to the desk.
Protypes displayed thus far do seem surprisingly flexible. The repositioning mechanisms aren’t so awkward as to make standing up as necessary a chore – one push of a button, and there you are, vertical again – and testers report that laying back in purpose-built computing chair while working is actually immensely comfortable, despite it possibly taking a bit to accept that the keyboard and mouse will not succumb to gravity. Even in standing mode, it’s nothing to maneuver screens around on their standard 35-lb.-capacity VESA mounts to show stuff to others in the event of deskside presentations and on-the-spot collaborations.
Even more attractive still, The Station can be programmed to assume your precise preferences with storable settings catered to exactly what settles you in for work or play, whether bolt upright, semi-recumbant, or even traditionally seated. With the push of a button, the motors work everything into place whenever you’re ready to get down to business.