Thought Experiment: Walking Conference Calls – Sitting is Killing Me

I spend a lot of my time on the phone and the sitting is killing me. I’d much prefer to be walking.

Before you jump to the easy answer – I do know that mobile phones exist.

The problem isn’t the talking part of calls, it’s the viewing part. Most calls are presentations, someone is trying to get me to look at something on a screen. Often my job is reviewing so I want to be able to look at other reference material or to do a quick calculation. It’s that part that causes me to sit.

There are, of course, a number of options, but conceptually there are only two:

  • Walk where the screen is
  • Take the screen on a walk

I can already take the screen with me, but I can’t do it comfortably:

For the laptop and tablet I could use some kind of support rig like the one below, but that would look weird:

Also, a rig like this wouldn’t be any good in the rain and I live where we get a lot of rain.

I think we are getting there with our use of something that I wear though.

Something like Google Glass would work. Ironically Google Glass sales were halted last week so perhaps not.


A number of other technology companies are planning on doing and already doing a similar thing to Google Glass, one of these may eventually catch on.

I suppose that some kind of virtual reality thing, like the Oculus Rift, could do. It could showing me reality as well as the presentation, but the current rigs are hardly mobile. Again, it would look weird, imagine the response from all the dog walkers, although putting them on people on a roller coaster does look like fun.

So it’s not looking very hopeful for the concept of taking a screen for a walk. That’s a shame because it’s by far my preferred concept. If you are going to walk while in a call you want the advantage of being outside and all the benefits that it brings.

The options for the second best concept – walking where the screen is – are far more mature. They’re not very conducive to the standard open plan office though.

I have tried walking near my screen, coming back to it when needed. While this produces a level of activity it’s not very challenging, it’s also massively distracting to the others in the vicinity.

The other alternative is to get a treadmill with screen attached – a treadmill desk.


There are some challenges to this kind of desk arrangement. The first challenge is that they are expensive but beyond that they are also relatively noisy so would need specific facilities. It would be interesting to work through the health and safety of using one of these in an open plan office 🙂

My colleague Steve Richards uses an exercise bike which works for him:

Again I’m not sure that it works in an open plan office, but given a dedicated area I can see how it would work. It works for Steve because this is his office at home.

There’s also the bottom of the pile option of cycling while sitting at your desk with the DeskCycle:

There’s also the option of the under desk elliptical.

The goal is really movement, and there are no reasons why other exercises couldn’t fulfil the option of walking but again you’d feel a bit odd. Add in an exercise ball and the options grow massively.

I suppose it’s better than nothing! Did I tell you – sitting is killing you!

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