After five years of research and $1 million in investment, the Sonoma County, California-based company Altwork has created a workstation that can adjust between sitting, standing and lying down, like you’re at the dentist’s office.
The workstation costs $5,900, and will start shipping in mid-2016. Pre-orders receive a hefty discount.
Altwork’s isn’t the only prone workstation on the market. For the last 10 years, Michigan-based Ergoquest has designed and sold a fleet of reclining and zero-gravity desks. In 2014 the “Super Upward-Looking Dozing Desk” went on sale in Japan.
There’s often a snickering tone to reclining desks’ coverage. The UK’s Metro newspaper recommended Altwork’s station to those with a “passion for being really, really lazy”; Time magazine said the Japanese model “brings us one step closer to becoming the pod people from Wall-E.”
But doctors and orthopedic surgeons have long recommended a prone working position as an ideal (if rarely attainable) solution for people with chronic back pain and other disabilities.
Ergoquest’s clients are primarily hospitals and spinal rehabilitation centers. Altwork engineer John Speicher said he started working on the model after a back injury left him unable to sit at a computer.
Lying down probably isn’t going to be the next big office trend. Even Altwork’s designers say the supine setting is designed for serious computer use—think coders regularly putting in marathon sessions.
But the workstation’s real selling point may be the variety of work positions it offers. And if you can’t get your office to splurge on reclining desks for all, simply alternating between standing and sitting, taking frequent breaks and even fidgeting are still better for your health than sitting or standing in one spot, all day.