So, About That Treadmill Desk in the Newsroom

So, About That Treadmill Desk in the Newsroom

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How do New York Times journalists use technology in their jobs and in their personal lives? Nellie Bowles, a technology reporter in San Francisco, discussed the tech she’s using.

As our tech culture reporter, what is your most crucial tech tool for doing work?

There’s only one gadget I can’t live without. It weighs in at 114 pounds. It is my desk treadmill.

I can never sit still. I get a nervous twitchy energy when I try. I’ve used a standing desk since my first job out of college in 2010, but got my treadmill (the LifeSpan TR1200) about six months ago, and life on it is truly my ideal state.

The treadmill goes under my desk. I walk usually 1.5 miles an hour, but drop to 1 mile an hour for writing something tricky. I’ll kick up to 2 miles an hour if I’m feeling wild or on a long call. If I’m transcribing or doing something that doesn’t require tons of decision making, I’ll do 2.5 miles an hour, but that’s the max. And I stay like that all day long. And that’s how I work.

How did you decide to get a treadmill desk?

For me, the game of work is always how long each day I can keep my mind sharp and absorbed in the task at hand. I find walking to be very good for this. But logistically for my job, I need to be typing notes during calls and writing up stories, so I discovered the treadmill desk. My mind doesn’t flit around as much when I’m treading.

It also just feels good. I think it’s strange that from a very young age, we’re all expected to cram our bodies around these squat little tables and then remain stock still for hours on end.

How did your colleagues react to it?

I moved the treadmill into the office on a Sunday evening so when everyone got in Monday, it would just be a fact of life. Were there jokes? Many jokes. But we’re goldfish and get used to new items. And the trick is that bringing up the treadmill now is actually worse, because then I’ll start rambling about some new treadmill desk health study and how I’m going to live forever. So we’ve reached a silent truce.

I’m in an open-plan office, and my desk neighbor Jack Nicas (who covers Apple) said he was a little concerned that I would be looming half a foot off the ground walking 10 miles a day straight at him.

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