Inactivity is Killing Productivity


Ergo Depot helps companies of all sizes create healthier workplaces.

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1114ergodepot IMG 9359 500pxBY JON SHADEL

“I’m not advocating against sitting. I’m advocating for movement,” says David Kahl, founder of Ergo Depot and an industry thought leader in healthier workplaces. “The body needs to move,” he says, while rocking back and forth on an adjustable sit-stand stool in his Portland showroom. “Sitting all day is killing us.”

Since Kahl founded the company in 2005, Ergo Depot has grown into one of the industry’s leading distributors of adjustable-height desks and chairs that encourage movement. Kahl credits this growth to employers’ realization that active workplaces provide great returns in the form of increased productivity and happier employees.

“For too long, we’ve been immobile in our workplaces. But at Ergo Depot, our products aren’t chairs and desks in the traditional sense,” he explains. “These are products that encourage you to move.” Kahl stands up, hits a button and his desk readjusts itself with a soft hum. “The best position is always the next position. That is what your body is trying to tell you,” he continues, explaining that Ergo Depot’s adjustable products allow the body to change positions throughout the day. “We only design and sell products that allow your body to be active.”

1114ergodepot IMG 9334 500pxMedical research supports Kahl’s assertions. “Long-term studies are showing a direct relationship between inactivity and mortality,” he explains, citing studies such as one conducted by the American Cancer Society. This study tracked the health of 123,000 Americans between 1992 and 2006 and found overall death rate was 20% higher for men and 40% higher for women who sat for more than six hours a day. Other studies have linked inactivity to obesity, cancer and lower levels of productivity. “I think it’s safe to say the way we’ve been working isn’t good for us,” he says.

As the costs of adjustable-height desks have declined, Kahl and his team have emerged as ergonomic gurus, helping companies of all sizes create workplaces optimized for movement. Clients like Apple, Boeing, Disney, Google and NASA turn to Ergo Depot for their selection of carefully engineered products. From their Portland headquarters and the recently opened San Francisco showroom, Ergo Depot offers their own line of adjustable-height desks alongside a carefully curated selection of movement-inspired office furniture.

Ergo Depot isn’t just providing healthier furniture, Kahl explains. He is aiming to transform the relationship workers have with their workplace. “I aim to evolve the way humans work,” he concludes. “When you feel better at work, everyone around you feels better.”