Forget treadmill desks: all I want is a human hamster-wheel at work

Committed to healthier office life? This new desk invention will get you there. Well, sort of.

Ever feel like you’re not getting anywhere at work? That you’re just spinning your wheels? Now there’s a workstation especially for you: a hamster-wheel desk.

You’ve heard of standing desks. You’ve heard of treadmill desks. You’ve seen people sitting on exercise balls at work. But for the really hard-core among us, the people really committed to rejecting the traditional office desk and chair, you can build yourself a giant wheel—a giant wheel into which you stick a standing desk. The wheel is powered by you, so no electrical outlet needed. And you just walk (and walk, and walk) while you work.

Curious about the movement away from the standard office desk and chair? Well, there is a significant part of the population who believes that “sitting is the new smoking” in terms of damage to human health. Writers have experimented with walking desks, which keep you moving throughout the day, and found that the treadmill desks offer a host of health benefits. But treadmill desks are expensive, require a power outlet, and besides, they lack the sheer conversation-starter mojo of the hamster-wheel desk.

This does, however, raise the question: if hamster wheels are the next big thing in office furniture, what’s the next next big thing? My vote: Habitrail cages for office workers. Need to ask a colleague a quick question about the TPS reports? Commando-crawl through a series of tubes, get the 411 from Bob, and then just slide on back down to your pod.

Okay, maybe that type of office culture is still a ways off. In the meantime, want to build a human hamster wheel for yourself? It’s actually pretty easy for a handy person. Check out the instructions here. And if your colleagues ever give you the side-eye, tell them you’ve finally embraced being stuck in the rat race.

Leigh Anderson
Leigh Anderson
Leigh Anderson is the author of "The Games Bible: The Rules, The Gear, The Strategies" (Workman, 2010) and has written for Vox,, and Popular Science, among others.

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