Review Of Herman Miller Envelop Desk

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Envelop Desk Showing Sliding Top Extended

Although the popular pin height adjustable model of Herman Miller’s new Envelop desk is height adjustable it isn’t intended for sit stand use.

Instead it’s designed to provide a much more flexible way of working and sitting compared to the typical fixed height office desk.

What makes fixed top desks unhealthy?

When you work at a fixed top desk everything that you work with is static. And so unless you physically move things the only way you can adjust your working position is by moving your chair.

This creates problems because you often tend to adopt bad working habits like straining, bending your body and craning your neck as you focus and re-focus on your work. The Envelop takes a new approach to these problems.

Designed to be different

What designer Jeff Weber has done is to create a desk where the top moves forwards and backwards to suit your needs. This makes it very easy to adjust to the equipment on your desk by simply altering the desk work surface position.

However although the top slides there is a lot more to it than that. For a start it has a cut out section in the center of the top. This enables you to literally wrap the top around your body, and envelop you.

The front piece of the top known as the Infield surface also has a soft resilient face designed to relieve pressure on the lower arms and wrists. This section of the top is also angled downwards by 7 degrees to allow your body to adapt a more natural position when you work at the desk. The rear section of the top called the Outfield surface is flat and is for holding things like your monitor.

This makes it easy to keep in focus with your work because making minor positional changes is simple and natural. It helps you to keep good optical alignment with your monitor.

The Envelop is intended for use with office chairs having a synchro tilt mechanism as this encourages movement while working. This sort of chair makes it easy to work while sitting at a healthy open reclined angle. Many good chairs like Miller’s Aeron and Embody, Steelcase’s Leap and Think or HÅG’s Futu, H04 and H05 chairs will all work well like this.

envelop-top-monitor-arm

Envelop Desk With Monitor Arm

Who is it best for?

Perhaps a little surprisingly the desk only comes in a single size which is 45 inches wide by 30 inches deep when closed and up to 37 inches deep when the top is fully extended.

If you work with a laptop, iMac or PC all in one equivalent it should be great. Also when you just have a monitor on your desk with the base unit elsewhere it will be fine. You can even fit an adjustable monitor arm for single or dual monitors for added flexibility.

However, if you need loads of equipment on your desk it probably isn’t ideal.

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Envelop Desk Molded Grip Detail

Technical details

The top is 45 inches wide by 30.75 inches deep and the front edge includes a central body surrounding cut out 20.50 inches wide. The Outfield flat rear section is nominally 12 inches deep.

Its Infield section is finished in black urethane and includes a molding on each side to grip while moving the top into position.
Legs adjust in height in 1 inch increments over a 6 inch range. The desk is available with either lockable casters (height adjustability 27.50 to 32.50 inches) or glide feet (height adjustability 25.50 to 31.50 inches).

The rear Outfield section of the desk top is designed to take a maximum of 35 pounds. It’s suggested that your monitor be fixed to it for stability when moving the top. An ideal answer would be to use an adjustable monitor arm.

Finishes, options and warranty

The frame comes in a wide choice of paint finishes with back and silver being the most popular.

The rear work surface is available in several different laminates as well as real wood veneers. White laminate and brown walnut veneer are the most common options.

There are also 2 electrically height adjustable versions of the Envelop desk. However these are only supplied though the Herman Miller dealer network and are really aimed at large corporate users.

In keeping with other Herman Miller products this desk carries a 12 year 3 shift warranty.

Overall assessment

Miller’s Envelop desk represents an innovative new approach to office working.

Although it is a height adjustable desk, this really amounts to the user setting up the height when first building the desk. While it’s perfectly possible to alter the height later it means emptying the desk to do so.

The single size desktop means careful consideration needs to be given to what you require on your desk to make sure if it will all fit.

People who like sitting with a more open body posture reclining while working will love the way the desk works. It enables a much healthier way of working when sitting for long periods during the day. Even so you still need to take regular breaks to exercise and stretch.


Where to buy online

This Herman Miller specialist offers the Envelop desk with low price guarantee, free shipping and 30 day return period.