Stand-Up Company: Coppell’s Varidesk Continues to Grow

The company says that humans weren't designed to sit all day, and adopting a standing desk can improve your health.

Varidesk

Varidesk already has a waiting list for the white version of its new standing desk just a few days after it launched.

The Coppell-based company scaled down its larger free-standing desks to 48 inches so it will appeal to companies that have limited space, CEO Jason McCann said.

The 4-year-old company lives by the mantra of creating a smarter, healthier, more flexible workspace.

“Our bodies were not designed to sit all day. We were designed to be active. The moment you start standing, you start to feel better,” McCann said. “They realize that the idea of being active, healthy and productive helps everybody.”

“Our bodies were not designed to sit all day. We were designed to be active.”
Jason McCann

One of the biggest selling points is the fact that having an active and standing workforce could reduce health-care costs.

Since Varidesk started in 2013, the company has produced 40 different products from standing desks to storage devices. The company ships products to 30 countries daily and has served customers in 130 different countries.

“We’re pretty much operating 24 hours a day to talk to customers,” McCann said. “It’s been absolutely amazing. We‘ve got 150 employees.”

And even bigger things are on the horizon.

Varidesk wants to launch 200 new products in the next two years, McCann said.

The company uses a third-party logistics shipper to move its products from its six distribution hubs around the world. McCann estimates Varidesk will open three or four more hubs by the end of 2017.

VARIDESK HEADQUARTERS IS IN COPPELL

Dallas Innovates recently got a tour of Varidesk’s new 45,000-square-foot headquarters in Coppell.

It’s evident the moment you walk in the front door that this company walks the walk when it comes to creative a wide-open workplace.

“This can now become a living, breathing showroom for clients,” McCann said. “Clients visit every day from all over the world.”

When Varidesk first bought the building in May, it was a sea of cubicles, low-hanging ceilings and carpet. Varidesk threw out the cubicles, stripped the building back to its bare bones, exposed the duct work and the ceiling and ripped up the carpet, leaving the polished concrete. The remodel cost about $20 a square foot.

“We take a nontraditional approach to the design and go open,” McCann said. “It just fosters that type of culture, which is really the way people were meant to work. We’re not meant to be siloed inside of a box with walls that are 6 feet tall.”

“We’re not meant to be siloed inside of a box with walls that are 6 feet tall.”
Jason McCann

They’ve got 150 employees in various hubs where they can easily collaborate.

Everywhere you look, workers are standing at their desks. Some are walking and talking to clients on the phone using earpieces.

Others are using specially designed stools that users can either lean on while standing or sit down completely.

There’s a 24-hour gymnasium, a coffee bar, and restrooms equipped with showers. The various amenities are scattered throughout the facility to encourage employees to walk around.

Even the conference tables are elevated so people can stand up for meetings rather than stay seated the whole time.

Another hallmark of Varidesk is that the products can be assembled without tools. Even the largest free-standing desks can be set up in a matter of minutes using only hand-tightening bolts.

HOW THE STANDING DESK CAME TO BE BORN

Varidesk grew out of Coppell-based Gemmy Industries, which makes holiday and novelty products and LED lighting.

Dan Flaherty, CFO for Gemmy, was having sciatic nerve pain from sitting so long at his desk.

McCann found him propping his monitor on a cardboard box and they agreed there had to be a better way. Most of the products they found were expensive and would take weeks to arrive.

So, they decided to create their own prototype and Varidesk was born.

“We liked it internally and then we decided to show it off to some other companies just to get additional feedback,” McCann said.

Verizon and Container Store were among the early adopters.

Now, Varidesk is in 85 percent of the Fortune 500 companies. Some have bought hundreds of desks while others have bought thousands.

The desks range in price from $175 for a laptop stand to $795 for a top-of-the-line standing desk.

GALLERY

The ProDesk 48 is the lastest Varidesk product, released this past weekend. It provides a narrower width in order to fit more desks in smaller office spaces.

The Varidesk headquarters is designed as an open concept working space to improve efficiency. Features like conference tables and white boards provide meeting places between employees. The phone booths around the office serve as a quiet space for phone calls.

A world map in the lobby of the Varidesk headquarters shows the countries in which they have done business in, represented in blue.

Photos: Sarah Bradbury


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