Why Call Center Employees Should Have Ellipticals Under Their Desk

I wrote a much-read blog post called Sitting Kills. What Your HR Department Can Do About It. In that post, I wondered what role HR departments should play when faced with data that says that people who sit for the majority of the day are 54% more likely to die of a heart attack. If that statistic is true, think about all the call centers around the world: they are a literal heart-attack waiting to happen.

I have a possible antidote.

Parade Magazine featured an article in their Stay Healthy section titled Push Pencils—and Pedals! in which four under-the-desk gadgets were featured as a way to promoted more activity.

Among the items suggested:

This Webble Ergonomic Footrest





Not into wobbly footsie? Well, then, how about this:


Stamina InMotion Elliptical Trainer




I can’t decide whether to laugh or hop right online to order one of these bad boys. I mean, can you imagine all the jiggling and jostling that would occur if a bunch of teleservice reps were revving up on their ellipticals while taking customer calls? It’s quite the visual, isn’t it?

Funny mental images aside, it does have me wondering . . .

If you were a manager and an employee asked you for an under-the-desk “foot fiddler”, what would you say? Both items retail for $150. If one of these products were incorporated into, say, a 300-person call center for all employees it would cost $45,000.

Employers across the globe continue to seek ways to manage employee benefits costs. This could possibly be seen as a smart way to insert preventative health measures into the workplace. Now, with the addition of research pointing to the health risks of a seemingly low-risk job, is that enough to move this request from wacky to wise?

Would you as a manager agree to it, even if the request entailed a far-fetched exercise device?

Or, is it not far-fetched at all?


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