The Tech Bet

The $5,900 chair that lets you lay down on the job

Altwork Station – a convertible (standing to laying down desk) workstation
Source: Altwork

Worried what your sedentary work life might be doing to you? Then you might be in the market for a multipurpose, ergonomic workstation — if you're willing to plunk down serious money for it.

The brainchild of engineer Che Voigt, who has worked with multiple aerospace engineering companies, Altwork has released a $5,900 chair ($3,900 preorder) that is equipped with full desk and monitor mount while allowing the user to work in a range of positions from standing to fully reclining.

For the Silicon Valley employee who never leaves the office, this may not be so outrageous an offer.

"Movement throughout the day is the best thing you can do," said Voigt, co-founder and CEO of Altwork. "People say sitting is the new smoking, but reports now say that standing might not be the best thing you can do either"

Altwork Station – a convertible (standing to laying down desk) workstation
Source: Altwork

It took three prototypes for a few things became clear to Voigt: The weight had to be cut down, and it had to fit through a standard door in order to leave the office.

The result is the current model, which takes up about 18 square feet, significantly less than a traditional setup in an office cubicle containing a chair, desk and monitors. The desk, which moves with the user, floats the monitor, keyboard and desktop as they recline, holding everything in place with magnets. The mouse pad is magnetized only along a steel ring along the outer edge, leaving the middle as an easy space to move the mouse back and forth while avoiding strain on the shoulder muscles.

The chair has also done away with traditional armrests and incorporated palm rests in their place that make users feel less constrained.

Altwork Station – a convertible (standing to laying down desk) workstation
Source: Altwork

The company customizes its magnet-based desk space using 3-D printers, and has already gotten a range of requests for additional accessories — cellphone and coffee cup holders at the top of the list. Altwork has also received requests for mounting multiple monitors but while the station can easily accommodate more, the mounts can only take up to 35 pounds.

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Even though it doesn't ship until the middle of next year, some visiting executives have already tried to buy it on-site and out of their own pockets. Voigt wouldn't reveal how many orders have been placed so far.

The Altwork Station is geared specifically toward high-intensity computer users. The company has already seen demand from a variety of industries ranging from tech workers, designers and animators to health care. The first deliveries will occur in the San Francisco Bay Area and then more widely.

Voigt says the $5,900 price tag is comparable to a common office setup that would account for a monitor, monitor mount, sit-stand desk and chair a setup that can total up to thousands of dollars without the convenience of Altwork's all-in-one workstation.

"We priced this aggressively," said Voigt. "But we wanted to see this as a tool of the modern office, not a toy some people have."