Workplace ergonomics has become a popular topic in recent years. The days of people using normal desks with normal chairs are starting to disappear as evidenced by the high number of ergonomic office and task chairs that are being released onto the market and purchased not only by offices but by individuals for their home offices as well.
Herman Miller, a company well-known for its ergonomic chairs, has also takes its game into the area of desks with the Herman Miller Envelop desk.
The Envelop desk is so named because it envelops you. It slides towards you at a slight downward angle and has a cutout for the user to allow the desk to surround you rather than just be in front of you like a traditional desk. The angle is adjustable depending on what is most comfortable to the user.
The keyboard rests on the sloped part and when combined with an ergonomic chair and proper posture, allows for good ergonomics of the forearms and wrists. Monitors can be placed at the top of the desk on a surface which remains flat, or can be attached to the back of the desk with monitor arms. Add a foot rest under the desk and you can achieve some ideal ergonomic working positions.
All of this innovation is not without some drawbacks, however.
First, because the desk surface is angled, it’s hard to store anything on it. Is your mouse going to slide off the desk? Where are you going to put your cup of coffee? It’s advanced ergonomics at the cost of some functionality. Of course, this can be remedied by placing another table or filing cabinet next to the Envelop desk to put your coffee, pens, notebooks, etc. on.
Second, the desk is height adjustable (which is nice) but to adjust it requires turning the desk upside down, so it’s not something that you can just adjust on a whim.
Third, there are no drawers or anything. External storage is required. So it’s not really feasible for an all-purpose desk solution.
Finally, making use of its tilted surface requires an ergonomic chair that reclines so your body can be positioned at the correct angle relative to the desk, so if you just have a standard office task chair you might not even be able to take advantage of the Envelop.
The Herman Miller Envelop may be a great option, or it may not work at all, and it’s all going to depend on the user’s needs. But if it meets your needs then it’s definitely a cool piece of ergonomic furniture that is not only functional but also adds a stylish element to your office.