Office space: Coppell company takes a stand for growth

Jason McCann and Dan Flaherty


1221 S. Belt Line Road

Suite 500

Coppell 75019

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Can you stand it?

The argument for standing desks is that they are better for the body and some research published in 2016 by Texas A&M Health Sciecne Center School of Public Health indicates they may boost productivity as well.

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The researchers examined the productivity differences between two groups of call center employees over the course of six months and found that those with stand-capable workstations—those in which the worker could raise or lower the desk to stand or sit as they wished throughout the day—were about 46 percent more productive than those with traditional, seated desk configurations.

Productivity was measured by how many successful calls workers completed per hour at work. Workers in the stand-capable desks sat for about 1.6 hours less per day than the seated desk workers, according to the study, which was published in the journal IIE Transactions on Occupational Ergonomics and Human Factors.

“One interesting result of the study is that the productivity differences between the stand-capable and seated groups were not as large during the first month,” said Gregory Garrett, a public health doctoral student and a lead author of the study. “Starting with the second month, we began to see larger increases in productivity with the stand-capable groups as they became habituated to their standing desks.”

The study also indicated some health beneifts of the standing desks. Nearly 75 percent of those working at stand-capable workstations experienced decreased body discomfort after using these desks for the six-month duration of the study. – Robert Francis

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What began as a solution to a back problem has become a worldwide success. And to celebrate that, the VARIDESK company, based in Coppell, is sharing its product.

Among the recent recipients of VARIDESK LLC’s generosity is the city of Fort Worth. The company donated nearly 300 of its desks, valued at around $150,000, for various departments at the Fort Worth City Hall.

A VARIDESK goes on top of a regular desk and needs no special attachments. It can then be raised so a person can work in a standing position.

“The city has embraced a culture of improving our employees’ health for a number of years,” said Aaron Bovos, the city’s chief financial officer. “This includes a comprehensive wellness program which is managed by our human resources department. The donation of VARIDESK was another step to providing an opportunity for our employees to engage in healthy activities while at work, and we’re appreciative of VARIDESK’s corporate donation to make this happen.

“Specifically, there are studies that prove standing can lower your blood sugar levels, especially after lunch. As you know, standing is a great way to vary the approach to working, and our employees seem to be very happy with the options that the VARIDESK provides.”

VARIDESK began five years ago when, according to CEO and co-founder Jason McCann, he learned of fellow co-founder Dan Flaherty’s battle with back pain. Both were at Coppell-based Gemma Industries at the time.

“Everything that arrived was clunky and didn’t fit right on the desk. We said we have an idea for a better product,” said McCann.

So they created VARIDESK, showed it to a few businesses around the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and off it took. Five years later, they are shipping over a million desks around the world.

“We all wake up here feeling great with the positive impact we’re having,” McCann said.

The company has earned some accolades along the way. Last year, VARIDESK was named the fastest growing private company in North Texas, according to Southern Methodist University’s Dallas 100 ranking. And earlier this year, the two co-founders were recognized as EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 winners in the emerging category for the Southwest Region.

The company now schedules tours of its new showroom in Coppell. Visitors can test products.

“[Customers] can come to our showroom and see what we do,” McCann said. “The cool part about having a living, breathing showroom is we use our products.”

McCann said VARIDESK has also made donations to the Coppell Independent School District, the Fort Worth Opera and even the Australian Heart Foundation. In all, he said, over 5,000 VARIDESKs have been donated worldwide.

Recently signing on to the VARIDESK philosophy are the Dallas Mavericks and Mark Cuban Companies.

Mark Cuban, the Mavericks owner, recently unveiled the Mavericks’ new state-of-the-art locker room, training facility and office space. The renovation includes VARIDESK office products and sit-stand desks and draws on the trend in office furniture toward a more active, collaborative workspace.

“There is nothing better than walking into an office and feeling the energy; it’s just like walking into a Mavericks game,” Cuban said in a news release. “It truly makes a difference when you feel the energy of an open and collaborative office.”

Bovos said Fort Worth city employees were already familiar with VARIDESKs and liked them.

“We had a few employees at City Hall that already used the VARIDESK product. These employees highly recommended the brand and raved about the benefits of the desks,” he said. “We did research on the company and met with several VARIDESK representatives before accepting the donation.”

The most popular VARIDESK, McCann said, is the Pro Plus 36 model, the original version. It sells for $395 delivered. Other popular products, McCann said, include a laptop series for about $175, the VARICHAIR for $195, and anti-fatigue mats from about $50-$95.

“It’s much less than the iPhone and cheaper than a couple pair of running shoes,” he said. “You feel better. People say ‘I no longer have back pain. I’m more productive. I get more done.'”

And speaking of back pain, Flaherty’s discomfort has been replaced by a new problem – but a good problem, said Brad Shipp of VARIDESK.

“We’re having growing pains now instead of back pains,” he said.