Here at MartianCraft we do little to hide enthusiasm for our remote-only work environment. In fact, we care a great deal about the health and happiness of our staff and we’re constantly looking at ways we can improve. We have been at the forefront of workplace improvements such as the treadmill desk with Jeff LaMarche, co-founder of MartianCraft, providing blueprints for skilled home workers to construct their own. In 2014, our CEO Kyle Richter launched the MartianCraft Health Initiative, which provides equipment and funds to all of our staff to pursue a healthy, active lifestyle and improve their personal wellness.

However, it was our latest study in workplace ergonomics that proved the most ground breaking and life changing for our employees. Before we go into that, we’d like to explain what is wrong with current work desk options.

The problem with standing desks

There is much research and zealotry in the tech world that posits a standing desk will quite literally save your life. Just ask any standing desk user for confirmation and observe as a wave of punditry crashes down upon you. At MartianCraft, we were worried that too much standing might start to have disastrous results on our feet. So we gathered the top scientific minds on foot health, arch stability, and toe necrosis to determine the effects of using a standing desk on the human foot.

Flatfoot graphic

We discovered troubling results compiled from over 2 years of research. Dr. M.J. Towtinkler, of the Center for Perfect Arch1, found that more than 30 hours of working at a standing desk on a weekly basis will deflate the curvature of ones arch by 0.126% — and that’s every week. After extended use standing desk owners are left quite literally flat-footed. Since MartianCraft is known for always being at the cutting edge of technology and nimble, we immediately knew this was a problem for our staff.

Head, shoulders, knees, but no toes

In an effort to save your butt, you could be doing worse damage to your feet. In a global study, the National Toe Necrosis Institute (NTNI)2, found an average of 20% of standing desk owners will lose 10% of their toes during a 5 year span. Toes, it seems, don’t like you to stand and work.

Toe necrosis

When we discovered this research we were floored. It goes without saying that we needed to do something for our workers, and do something fast, or they would face the choice of certain death while sitting, or the sudden loss of feet if they stood. That’s when we discovered an unlikely institute and a novel solution would bubble to the surface.

Dude, you’re getting a hot tub

After reading a report from the United Federation of Hot Tubbing Enthusiasts (UFHTE)3 Kyle made a radical proposal to MartianCraft’s board: work from a hot tub. At first they dismissed the idea outright as an Adam Sandler movie, and not a real scientific solution to a death and foot problem. But our visionary CEO, Kyle, (also in charge of Employee Wellness) persisted and convinced the board to approve $4 million in a targeted group study. They discovered that the hot tub desk is no joking matter.

As it turns out, the hot tub will save our lives — and our feet — while allowing us to work in the most relaxing environment possible. NASA and other space agencies have already explored the benefits of liquid immersion for deep space flight. It literally reduces stress in high G accelerations, such as maneuvering a spacecraft and writing code for MartianCraft’s clients.

After hundreds of hours testing we found additional discoveries about the hot tub desk concept. First, on average a hot tub desker’s skin health improved 40%, and many remarked to participating MartianCrafters that they had a certain glow about them. We believe this alone, led to an astounding twenty-fold increase in employee relaxation and happiness.

CEO Richter

Second, we saw none of spontaneous toe loss (estimated 0.1% over a two year span) and arch detail curvature improved in each hot tub tester that switched from a standing desk. With the test group happier and healthier, we shipped every employee a hot tub desk, and a can of goretex waterproofing spray for their computers.

Did it work?

It’s now been four months of our employees working only from hot tub desks and we are drowning in data. We surveyed our employees to get their feedback:

“MartianCraft just saved my grandchildren’s lives.”
Trevor Squires, Partner

“Now that I have the jets adjusted perfectly, my sciatica has never been better. This hot tub desk has made me feel 10 years younger.”
Mike Hay, Partner

“I used to take a shower whenever I was stuck on a hard problem. With a hot tub desk, I never find myself stuck anymore.”
Ben Brooks, Project Manager

We asked MartianCraft employees how relaxed they feel on a scale of New York to Bali — they unanimously agreed Seychelles4. We then turned our attention to productivity and found that most employees tend to work 12-16 hours straight at the hot tub desk, while still feeling more relaxed, being healthier, and happier. Four employees didn’t leave the hot tub for over a week straight.

Main screen broken into three scenes

Productivity, then, is spouting.

Bonus for collaboration

While we appreciated the bump in total hours worked, at MartianCraft we’ve always valued working better together over working harder. One of the hidden benefits of a hot tub desk is that they’re made to fit more than one person at a time.

If you can remember how many great ideas you had with your friends the last time you were in a hot tub together then you’ve just imagined the impact hot tubs have had to our overall creativity as a company. And because hot tubs naturally lower your blood pressure, tempers are cool and debates are much more civil. Hot tubs have made us much more agreeable as a work force.

Main screen broken into three scenes

Now pair programming requires a bathing suit.

Is it right for me?

Hot tub desks can re-envigorate you and your workforce, if used properly. There are a few caveats we must make you aware of:

  1. Dr. M.J. Towtinkler was in a three-way tie for valedictorian of his high school, along with Col. I.P. Freely and the late Seymour Butts, Esq. 

  2. Okay, show of hands: how many of you just googled “necrosis”? Unlike so many things in this post, Necrosis of the Toes is real and irreversible once diagnosed: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/imagepages/9690.htm 

  3. Fine—you caught us—we totally made up this name. But there is a real organization by the name of The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) and they hold a conference every two years to discuss pressing issues facing the pool, spa, and hot tub industries. Had you attended their 2014 conference you could have heard actor and comedian Louie Anderson discuss how “swimming saved his life.” 

  4. Seychelles is a country that consists of a group of about 90 islands in the Indian Ocean, about 600 miles (1,000 km) northeast of Madagascar. 

Rob Rhyne

Managing Partner