What if you could lay down and work?

That might seem like total perfection, but so far no one has devised a way to make that happen and not feel like you can't get anything done. A tray in front of you? You're not really laying down. At CES 2017, a company called Altwork has created a desk that is designed to take stress off your back, help you relax, and stay productive. I tried one at CES 2017, thinking it would be a mere novelty--something to make coworkers snicker.

Then, I fell in love with it.

The Signature Altwork Station costs $5,900. A company rep told me they are already sending out orders. There's a setting for sitting normally with a desk in front of you. With a tap you can use a preset to elevate the desk for standing, lean back a little for casual work, or lay all the way back. The desk rises at an angle electronically in a way that feels like it will fall over but it stays secure in place. Magnets hold the keyboard and mouse in place.

You might think: No way, that would never work. For me, it felt perfectly natural and relaxed. Everything I've read recently about workplace health says sitting all day is terrible for us, especially in terms of attributing to heart disease and other serious ailments.

I was able to focus differently on the screen, moving the mouse and thinking a bit more clearly. I can't really explain adequately why this works, but I've never been able to use a computer from this position before, like I'm in a dentist chair with no dentist anywhere around.

With a few taps, I adjusted the back rest a bit more and felt like my spine was more relaxed. I could see coders and graphic artists who do creative work using this product for all day computer sessions. One reason the product exists is to save space for a startup or smaller firm that needs many workers but can't afford a large space. I could see everyone tapped in, leaning back, typing away wearing earbuds without as much chatter. There's a more peaceful feeling you get when you are totally at rest as though you are reading a book or at the pool.

Of course, cost is a big issue. If you can afford $5,900 (or $4,900 for a slightly less equipped model) you can afford more office space, unless you are in San Francisco. However, I came away from my test thinking it could be a major ergonomic boost--I was relaxed and more energetic after a short session and imagined being able to switch positions easily.

The product is highly customizable. You can select the desk portions, seat fabrics, and layout and design the exact unit you want for your working style. I want one.

Published on: Jan 5, 2017
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