Adventures in Ergonomics: Steelcase Airtouch

It’s been awhile since we took a look at anything ergonomic, so I figured it was best we picked up where we left off. In our last installment of Adventures in Ergonomics, we viewed a slew of chairs made to make your back happier. While this go round isn’t quite as ambitious, the product we’re looking at is a component of no less importance.

The item in question? The Steelcase Airtouch, a killer minimal work surface mounted on top of a pneumatic lift for easy positioning. The beauty of this is that you can maintain your same workspace whether you’re in the mood to sit or stand.

In terms of direct need, millions of people suffer from particular sorts of back pain that make it desirable for them to work while standing up. Hemingway and Jefferson both had disc problems that famously forced them to write on their feet. Others have circulation issues with their legs that force them to move more frequently that others. The Airtouch is an alley on both fronts, allowing users to work either on their feet or on their butts.

The lift works as perfectly as any Steelcase product I’ve tried. A simple lever engages the lift, which will raise by default unless pressure is applied to the top, in which case it’ll easily sink to the desired height.

It arrives by way of Steelcase’s white glove delivery service who will assemble the desk for you, a service I vastly recommend you taking them up on. Due to some complications with me moving last minute, my desk arrived in New Orleans and we had to reship it up to NYC where I assembled it myself. It’s fortunate that I’m handy as I can see plenty of people fumbling about hopelessly during assembly.

Also, and this is a no-brainer, but it’s really heavy. Move it with assistance. I had the distinct joy of having to schlep it singlehandedly 10 blocks across Brooklyn (which required disassembly). I succeeded in my task, but I’m not sure I can really claim victory (possibly a hernia though). Suffice to say, however, that its weight is indicative of an unquestionably sturdy construction.

Anyway, back to the desk, in short, I love it. It’s a simple and innovative design that actually adds something to my workspace without doing anything excessive. Sure it costs $1200, but if you spend as much time at your desk as I do, that’s a pittance.

The only real gripe I can muster is its lack of a keyboard tray. Steelcase makes a nice one that sells for a jaw-dropping $260. I feel that, for its initial price tag, a keyboard tray should be either standard or, at least, available at some bundled discount. Because, while the simple flat surface is fantastic, it can become quickly congested with stuff. Adding the tray would cut down on that considerably while adding extra ergonomics.

All-in-all, I feel that, despite its price tag, the Steelcase Airtouch is deserving of a Best Bytes rating for a few reasons. It innovates where others have simply duplicated, it fine construction values and the fact that it fully and flawlessly accomplishes the task its supposed to do. So if you’re in the market for a simple yet high tech desk, I wholly recommend taking a look at the Airtouch.