Mariella Gradler

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Deskbikes: Ensuring more movement in the workplace

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Driving the car, watching TV, working at a computer: Many workers spend far too much time sitting down. And to top it off, you also work in an office.

A 2018 World Health Organization study stated that over 40 percent of people in Germany are couch potatoes and the amount of time people spend sitting down is increasing everywhere. A lack of movement is one of the most frequent causes of lifestyle diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and, in particular, musculoskeletal disorders. The constant reduction in physical work and the increase in office jobs and computer workstations means more and more employees are affected by a lack of movement in the workplace. Experts often recommend that those affected do sport in their free time to offset the lack of physical activity at work. However, many people do not manage to find time for sport in their daily routine. Furthermore, the negative impacts of sitting down for extended periods of time cannot be offset by occasional sport. Therefore, increasing employee’s activity levels in the workplace is a worthwhile cause.

To prevent all of these negative consequences, Deutsche Telekom provides its employees varied workstations. Our desks are height-adjustable so that we can also work standing up. It goes without saying that we have a canteen at each site as well as a tea kitchen on each floor where we are able to spend our breaks. I – and many colleagues – take the stairs rather than taking the easy option and using the elevator. However, our colleagues have even more opportunities to be mobile in the workplace.

Man is sitting on a deskbike in front of the desk and is cycling

Deskbikes are a great way to keep moving.

Since 2016, Deutsche Telekom employees have been able to use Deskbikes. Our open-plan office has had two Deskbikes for the past six weeks. A Deskbike is a bicycle-based ergometer that can be simply rolled underneath a height-adjustable desk. The height of the seat can be adjusted to the rider’s needs. Not only that: The Deskbike’s pedaling resistance can also be steplessly adjusted, thus ensuring a customized intensity for the rider. Curious as I am, I grabbed one right away and tested it out.

My experience after 6 weeks: I think it’s great! Every morning after I have set up my workstation, I grab a Deskbike and start riding. In the beginning, I thought it would be difficult to concentrate while pedaling away but that soon passed. For me, it’s an ideal way to wake up, an excellent activity during conference calls, or just when I need to switch things up. Within the team, we encourage each other to get on the bike or to start pedaling again if we forget to ride. Even my manager recently came up to me and said “Wow, I think it’s amazing that you use the Deskbike so often.” A further plus point is that the bike is really quiet, meaning that I don’t get any annoyed looks from my colleagues; the person at the next desk doesn’t hear whether I am pedaling or not. I really enjoy it and I feel great afterwards because the movement does me good.

It is often a challenge for me to motivate myself to do some sport after work. The Deskbikes are an excellent way to get extra movement into my daily routine.

Just 15-20 minutes, two or three times a day is enough to improve health and increase productivity at work. Yes, movement also has a positive impact on our working methods. I regularly grab a Deskbike while I am in the office and I’m happy to do something good for my health.