Some Questions For This Desk-Dentist Chair Hybrid

It’s called the Altwork and it’s $5,900.


If you spend any amount of time in a chair for work, you already know that it is bad for you. No amount of physical activity will cure the damage you’re doing to your body. Your abs will become “mushy.” Sitting, as they say, is the new smoking. We will all die early and often as a result of lives spent slumped in a desk chair staring at a screen.

Considering this grim future, please also consider the Altwork, a $5,900 workstation that purports to combine desk, standing desk, collaboration space and naptime all in one machine.

Look at this thing.

You can sit in it like a regular desk. You can stand. You can “collaborate,” which means just turning the monitor towards a person sitting next to you. Most importantly, you can “focus” — elevating your legs off the ground as if you were sitting in a dentist’s chair before they recline the back part and start poking around in your gums. If that posture doesn’t inspire enough focus, you can recline the thing all the way back, so that you’re lying down, with a giant computer monitor looming over your face.

Lying down and working without having to compromise ergonomic integrity sounds like a dream (typing on a laptop in bed gets hard on the old wrists sometimes), but the Altwork seems like more trouble than it’s worth. It’s $5,900. It’s goofy. It’s a dentist chair. It’s a precursor to the pod people of WALL-E, strapped to their hover-pods, zipping around their spaceship drinking fountain sodas and watching stuff.

Some questions for this dubious piece of machinery that I’m sure no one in the real world uses with any regularity arise:

  1. How secure is that monitor? I mean, I’m sure it’s very secure, but wouldn’t you live in fear of it crashing down on your face?
  2. Isn’t laying down and working like this distracting?
  3. Wouldn’t you be constantly focused on the fact that everyone is maybe staring at you out of the corner of their eyes as you send emails to Marcia in Accounts while in repose?
  4. Is working while laying down actually comfortable?
  5. How much time would you spend fiddling with the adjustments to get this thing just right?

An office I worked in once had a stationary bike with a desk attached. I gave it a go for a half hour before realizing I wasn’t getting any work done, choosing instead to concentrate on the fact that my legs were peddling a bike and I was probably breathing loudly. I don’t know if the Altwork is for me. Is it for you?

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