• 08.10.11

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.

Herman Miller Unveils The Ultimate Desk For Workaholics

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 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 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.

About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D.