NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Some employees in the City of Dallas 311 call center are walking off extra weight, all while working their usual jobs. The department added a Trek Desk last year, to give workers an alternative to their sedentary work styles.
The desk is a work station built into a treadmill, complete with computer monitors and a headset for taking calls from city residents and water customers.
Approximately 100 people – mostly customer service agents – work at the center inside City Hall.
Amanda Straley is setting the pace in the office – she’s worked at the call center for three and a half years, and walked at the treadmill station for about a year.
“Initially I was not for it,” she said. “Other people did it, and I was like, ‘there’s no way I’m going to be able to talk on the phone and walk.’ But once I tried it, I picked it up and I love it.”
Straley was motivated to lose baby weight. She’s out of her chair and on her feet for up to four hours of her eight hour work day, burning around 500 calories and walking five to six miles. “You want to go faster and put the incline up more, but you are also at work and have to pace yourself.”
By walking five days a week, Straley has lost 65 pounds in the last year.
Another call center employee, Beverly Moore says she was inspired by Straley.
“I was paying for a gym membership but never using it, so when they put the treadmill desk in, I was like, ‘Alright!’,” said Moore.
Moore started walking two to three times a week, but now hops on every day. She says she’s shed 15 pounds since December.
“I actually had a relative of mine who had a lot of serious health issues due to her weight,” she said. “I decided that I wanted to get healthier for myself and my kids.”
Approximately half the employees in the call center have tried the Trek Desk, managers say. Five people, including Moore and Straley, use it on a regular basis.
The two women bring walking shoes or tennis shoes with them to work, and say their new habit has inspired them to make healthy eating choices, too.
“It boosts my mood. You just have more energy throughout the day,” said Straley.
The City of Dallas considers it a pilot program, and will study the usage.
Chief Wellness Officer Forest Turner says the health of the city’s 12,000 employees is a growing priority. “Our healthcare claims show that we spend a great deal of our annual budget on treatment of disease that is brought on by being overweight. We want to use this as a chance toward improving that.”
Turner is looking at the possibility of adding walking work stations to other areas in City Hall – including cafeteria space that is only lightly used at the moment.
“The overall goal is to help improve the health of city employees. If we improve the health, we improve the bottom line,” said Turner.
Both Straley and Moore says their health has improved. They think more walking work stations would help others, too.
Moore is thankful for everything. “For the city to think about their workers in that way, I thought it was really cool of them to do that.”
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