ROCHESTER, MN—Dr. James Levine walks on a moving treadmill and strolls around a track. The endocrinologist isn’t at the health club while he’s working out—he’s at work. The doctor created the “Office of the Future” as a way to improve the health of his employees. This scientifically designed office environment is the result of a decade’s worth of research on how humans expend energy.

“The idea is to introduce an environment that will encourage activity in the workplace,” he said. “Just as it’s hard to be a couch potato without a couch, it’s hard to sit at work all day without a chair, conventional desk or a cubicle.”

The endocrinologist designed a standing desk with a computer platform and variable speed treadmills. The employees wear mobile phones on their belts, and a standometer measures their vertical time and recognizes when they sit down. The device also tells them how much activity they need to meet their individual activity goals for the day.