Herman Miller Envelop Desk Review

Herman Miller Envelop desk

Challenging the belief that desks should be stationary, the Herman Miller Envelop is a desk that moves to provide you with the optimal working angle.  Designed by Bill Stumpf and Jeff Weber, the Envelop is designed to make your workspace even more comfortable.

FEATURES/OPTIONS:

- Ergonomic and adjustable angle eliminates the need to hunch forward while working

- The desk’s surface slides toward you can can be placed at varying angles depending if you want to work from a more reclined or a more upright position

- Height adjustable

- Designed to work with an ergonomic chair that reclines, and a footrest

Herman Miller Envelop reclined

Herman Miller Envelop Desk reclined position

REVIEW:

As soon as I pulled the Envelop’s surface toward me, I exclaimed “whoa!  That’s cool!”  This desk is to a normal desk what an ergonomic chair is to a standard task chair.  The surface of the desk slides toward you up to seven inches and to a maximum angle of seven degrees, allowing your forearms to rest on the surface at a comfortable angle while you recline to an optimal ergonomic position in your chair.  I hadn’t realized what I was missing by working on flat desks all my life up until this point.

But while this was supremely comfortable and ergonomic, I eventually realized the only flat surface was at the very top of the desk, so that’s where you’ll have to keep your pens, pencils, notebooks and coffee (careful not to spill it while moving the desk’s surface toward or away from you).

Monitors need to go on the flat surface at the back of the desk, and they can wobble if you slide the desk forward or backward too hard.  Ideally you are supposed to use ergonomic monitor-mounting arms on this desk, which would admittedly be more stable, but that’s just another thing to buy.

Depending upon the kind of mouse you have, you may need to get a mousepad with a bit of texture or friction to keep your mouse from sliding off the desk.

You may want to get a flat side table and keep it next to you so you have somewhere to put your notebooks, pens, and coffee.

Speaking of peripherals, unless your office is 100% paperless, if you want to use this desk you’ll need to buy separate storage units since there are no drawers anywhere.

Regardless of the lack of storage and flat surfaces, this desk makes working awesome and more comfortable than you’ve even experienced.

That being said, a good chair is more important than a good desk, so if you only have the money for one, get the chair.

Herman Miller Envelop upright

Herman Miller Envelop Desk upright position

PROS:

- Maximum ergonomic comfort

- “Wow” factor

CONS:

- Pointless if you don’t have a good ergonomic chair that reclines

- Use is limited to a computer workstation.  You’re not going to write checks or spread out multiple open binders or anything on this desk

- No place to put a cup of coffee, a plate of food, a notebook, or a pencil since most of the desk is tilted downward (not an issue with the Okamura Cruise workstation)

- May require a new mousepad to keep your mouse from sliding off

- No storage (drawers, filing cabinet, etc.), so you’ll have to buy some separate modular storage

- Won’t work well with a big CRT monitor (is anyone still using those, anyway?)

VERDICT:

If you have the money, separate storage, and a flat surface on which to put your coffee, go for it!