Co.Design

Herman Miller Unveils The Ultimate Desk For Workaholics

Americans work too much. Herman Miller’s new Envelop Desk doesn’t pretend otherwise and is designed to make it comfortable to park in front of a computer for hours on end.

Americans work longer hours than people in most other developed countries. More than 10 million employees log 60-hour workweeks. Thirty-four percent of the workforce doesn’t take vacations. Barring dramatic shifts in the cultural and political landscape, Americans will continue to work themselves into the ground. So Herman Miller has unveiled a desk that — while no month-long holiday in the French Riviera — promises to make life a touch more tolerable for workaholics everywhere.

envelop

Envelop Desk has a flexible table top ergonomically designed to make it comfortable for people to park in front of a computer for hours on end (or as comfortable as that can be). Typically, when workers sit at a computer, they contort their bodies to ensure that their eyes stay focused on the monitor. Cricks, ungodly back pains, and the like inevitably result.

Envelop is meant to help your body adjust naturally with your eyes. The soft, molded urethane surface slides toward and away from you with a simple tug or push and tilts 7 degrees so that your laptop or computer always rests comfortably in your sightline. "When people slouch over their laptop, we call this the ‘turtle’ position and it’s very bad for your back," says Herman Miller’s Wayne Baxter. "You want to get that laptop in a semi-reclined position so your reach and eyesight are the right distance from it, regardless of whether you're sitting or in a forward recline."

In short, Envelop lets you move around in your chair, as you’re wont to do in the course of a grueling work day, without having to twist yourself into all kinds of awkward positions to keep your eyeballs on the screen.

Sounds great, but we worry about our papers (yes, we still have papers) slipping off the desk. Tables are parallel to the floor for a reason. "It's a slight 7 degree downward slope, so you can maintain a cup of coffee and papers on it as long as you're cautious," Baxter assures. "Works fine with a wireless mouse. There is also a flat surface [behind the slope] to keep things horizontal."

envelop-2

Envelop was conceived of to complement Herman Miller’s Embody Chair (Bill Stumpf and Jeff Weber designed the two together), though you can buy the desk as a standalone item for $960 here.

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14 Comments

  • Donald

    This thing looks weak. I typed in "the ultimate desk" in google and this puny thing popped up. I agree the chair is what makes this desk look fancy. The desk itself would look more in it's place on somebody's lawn with a for sale sign in front of it. And I don't want to have to be "cautious" with my papers sitting on an angled desk for hours. 

  • Ron

    Lol, the desk is cheaper than the chair... cannot recall the name but that's a brand name chair...

  • DaisyD

    You have to be a big time workaholic to be able to afford this setup. Even that chair there in the first pic is a lotta money... 

  • Malcolm Bastien

    Considering how many hours I put in front of a computer either at home or work this is something I really want to try. Because of just how much use it would get as well, that sort of investment would definitely be worth it.

  • Pete Walker

    Man, do you people actually read (or think) before you comment?  Have any of  you actually used (or even seen) the product?  

    I agree from the photos it's not exactly making sense, and the writer probably didn't work with more than HM publicity photos.  HELLO...it's not the only thing you use in a design.  I recently completed an office using this desk and the Embody chair, and the client LOVES it.  

    Of course, it's not the only work surface in the office, and the other surfaces either complement or directly augment the HM desk.  The desk and the Embody chair compliment each other perfectly.  The center cutout is hardly too small unless the user is one who inspires debate about people being required to buy two seats on an airplane.  

    So, neener neener to the lot of you -  get a life and actually use or design a use integrating the products you criticize, then perhaps your comments will be credible.

  • Alex JB

    I think this is hysterical. It's a lovely desk, with an unusual surface that I'm sure will inspire much conversation. But 'designed for workaholics' ?  Hardly. The center cutout is way to small - it's not even the width of the chair that's in front of it. What would it do other than accommodate a beer gut? Basically, it just means that the computer has to be further away from you.

    Most workaholics I know require a LOT more surface area for their desks because they have things like papers, books, writing tools, speakers, headphones, etc etc etc. 

    And I'm guessing that the magic surface wouldn't do well with a keyboard tray attached to it.  Who could work for hours on end stretching their arms out to work on a laptop keyboard that's sitting on a desk?  Not that people don't do it, but HM is hardly solving any problems here.

  • Adam Dole

    Sedentary behavior is literally killing our country. I think Herman Miller and other 'human-centric' furniture makers would want to emphasize solutions that tap into the underlying problems we face as a workforce, not contribute to them. Wouldn't it have made more sense for HM to design a desk that forced you to stand up every hour? 

    For those interested in reading more about how sitting too much is the same as not exercising enough, here is a great read:
    http://blogs.scientificamerica...

  • Rockstar CPA

    There doesn't seem to be much done in the way of concealing cords... In a desk that's meant to be worked at for hours, surely somebody has at least a power cord to deal with? Maybe a telephone? Innovative desk designs always impress me, but they often leave out how unsightly all the dangling wires become.

  • Guy

    Couldn't agree more... this desk exposes everything and assists with cables not in the least. The "Walnut" veneer version is another $250 more. Sheeeet... its veneer ! Fail to see the use of the elbow dents as well... I would need to sit test for a few hours to eval this desk properly.

  • Hassan Schroeder

    "Tables are flush with the floor ..." -- eh? That would kind of obviate the need for chairs, wouldn't it?  :-)