By Keila Torres Ocasio
Connecticut Post, Bridgeport.
Linda McDonough, operations manager at Symphony Workplaces, hopped onto the Steelcase treadmill desk, the only one of its kind at the Greens Farms Road building.
Then, after adjusting the speed to a steady walk, she began working on the computer sitting on the desk surface in front of her. “It’s very easy,” she said, of working while walking on the piece of exercise equipment. “You get used to it and you can type easily.”
The treadmill desk has been a part of Symphony’s offerings since the business center opened in October. The center offers flexible office spaces of various sizes, hourly rentals of meeting and training rooms, virtual offices and educational and networking events.
The space contains several meeting rooms, a training room for up to 40 people, 15 solo spaces and five suites that can accommodate between eight and 20 people.
“We’re trying to bring clients in and make it more functional,” said Shawn Webb, Symphony’s sales manager, noting there is a difference between a workspace and a workplace. “A workplace is a lot more than just a physical area. It’s where you help people create synergies beyond their desk and office.”
The center tries to do this by offering monthly networking events and amenities, like a common space that features lots of free snacks and coffee.
Another of these amenities is the height-adjustable treadmill desk that goes up to two miles per hour.
Webb noted a New York Times article once cited a study indicating women ages 50 to 74 who sat six or more hours per day died at a rate 34 percent higher than those that sat three hours or less.
He said he loves to have guests who are touring the business center hop on and give it a try. “The treadmill desk is a big hit,” Webb said.
“The more people try it, the more they utilize it,” added McDonough.
Attorney Frank E. Sisson III of Sisson Law Offices, Symphony Westport’s first client, is a huge fan of the desk.
“Symphony’s commitment to its clients’ health and well-being was a major factor in my workplace decision,” he said. “I feel better walking just a few hours a week, and I have heard medical professionals say that sitting is the new smoking.”
McDonough noted that walking while working is not a completely foreign concept.
“A lot of people pace while on the phone,” she said. “It actually increases productivity because your energy is increasing.”
Symphony Workplaces started in New Jersey over 26 years ago. The next Symphony Workplaces will be opening in Palm Beach, Fla., later this year.