Posted: Tue 6th Jan 2015
We met Nick White at the recent Government Exchange event. Aware the Danish government recommends a product Nick has to offer, he attended to find out if there was a similar opportunity closer to home. Nick watched over the event from a standing position at the back of the room. Let this small business owner tell you why.
My background is in family motor dealerships and commercial property and it was on a Saturday afternoon over coffee with a personal trainer that I got the idea for my next venture.
The personal trainer was telling me how she had started to lose weight through using a standing desk. I'd never even heard of a standing desk. My work meant I sat at my desk in front of a PC 5 days a week and as a person who likes to keep fit, I disliked that idea. I reluctantly got back to my chair the following week and the journey started.
I couldn't find a standing desk that I truly liked and in the price area I wanted so decided to make my own. First I wanted to see if I could work standing up so manufactured what can only be described as 4 square "jacks" (this is where the name Jack Desks originates from) and I hoisted my desk on to them. They worked but it was nowhere near a long term plan - it was more like working at sea!
I found a great group of outsourced suppliers and partners who could make the version I had in mind and after a month I was a complete convert. You have to try it to feel the increased energy and alertness you get from standing whilst working.
I'm not a marathon runner but at my desk - 3 hours a day standing, 5 days a week over a working year will burn the same calories as running 10 marathons! (University of Chester 2013) and when you stand, on average, your heart beats 10 times a minute more. This increases 02 levels and nutrients and gets rid of C02 and toxins. It also improves posture. Now are you convinced?!
The opportunities for growth are immense, especially around health. Sedentary behaviour is a serious UK problem (both Government and the NHS are fully aware) and business is one of the biggest culprits. White collar workers, whether secretary or CEO are living extremely unhealthy working lives as the human body needs activity to function correctly. In Denmark if you work for a company for more than 20 hours, by law you have the choice of a height-adjustable desk. I'd like this to be the same in the UK.
My focus now is on looking for sales channels where our products are an obvious fit: health, fitness, postural. We'd love to connect with a major fitness business to market a "Fit Desk" to their customers - and I'd be very happy to sell to government and the NHS. I'm following up on lessons learned at the event as I type and stand.
Nick's top health tips for small business owners:
Be aware of how sedentary you actually are. Do a self-audit and then make sure you understand the potential consequences of over sitting. Knowledge is power.
Plan some fundamental rules that mean you become active daily - eg: Use the stairs.
Get a standing desk! Use it full time or as a hot-desk to do a "power hour".