By Jeff Kiger
Talk about making some strides.
The Walkstation treadmill desk conceived by Dr. James Levine of Mayo Clinic was front and center Monday at the American Medical Association’s Presidents’ Forum in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Ronald Davis, president of the AMA, used a Walkstation as he spoke to the gathered presidents, presidents-elect and executive directors of state, county and national medical societies.
During a break at the conference, the president of the company that is selling the Walk Station said that it has stirred up a lot of interest and basically created a whole new category of office furniture.
"Honestly, we were a little surprised at the reaction," said Bud Klipa of Details, a subsidiary of Steelcase Inc. "We knew we had something unique, but we’ve had nothing that has created an interest level like this."
The Details company announced the new product in October and began shipping Walk Stations in January.
About 25 treadmill desks, which cost $4,000 to $4,500, are being sold each week, said Klipa.
Most companies are buying one or two as an experiment, though a couple large organizations are planning trials with 25 to 50 desks.
How about Mayo Clinic?
Mayo hasn’t bought any of the desks yet, said Mayo spokesman Bob Nellis. However, about a dozen requests for the desks have been by Mayo staff, he said.
In Rochester, people can try out or buy a Walk Station at Schmidt Goodman Office Supplies.
"There’s a lot of interest in it," said Mary Ward-Tix, an interior designer at Schmidt Goodman. While they haven’t sold any of the desks yet, the store is considering leasing the desks so people can try them out.
Klipa said several groups sponsoring conferences are trying out the desks, mainly for people to use during breaks and sometimes during talks like at the Presidents’ Forum.
"We’ve had them at about four conferences since November," he said. "It is a whole new thing that is a bridge between office wellness and office ergonomics.
"And it all started there with Dr. Levine."