Edward Walzak, Walzak Wealth Management, RBC Dominion Securities, in his office using his sit-stand desk.
Many things about the career of Ed Walzak can be considered traditional. He has worked for the same firm for over 40 years. He was raised to always wear a pressed shirt and tie to work, and he rarely leaves the house without shining his shoes. He believes in the philosophy that the early bird gets the worm, and thus, is often the first person in the office every day.
One month ago, he did something decidedly untraditional. Ed had a Fitneff adjustable-height desk installed in his office. We reached out to Ed to learn more about why he switched to a sit-stand desk, and how it has impacted his work life, his productivity and his health.
1. Why were you interested in having a sit-stand desk in your office?
There is an increasing amount of literature outlining studies about sitting and slouching in an office environment, and the negative effects on overall health. In my business, we receive several dozen e-mails per day, and I have noticed for some time that my “slouch factor” was becoming prominent. The studies are showing that getting up from your desk every half hour or so, and walking around, measurably improves circulation, muscle tone and a host of other internal benefits. When I saw the DT3, I called in and ordered one the same day!!
2. How much time do you now spend sitting versus standing while at the office?
After four weeks on the system, I find that I am spending more than 50% of my time standing at work. The largest offender in any office is those cursed e-mails. I concluded that with the DT3, because I am standing, I am forced to efficiently choose which ones I will delete, and which ones I will answer promptly.
3. What other types of things are you likely to do while standing at work?
E-mails are only a part of how I spend my standing time. Our team uses a relative strength program, which is a technical program that is used for constructing our proprietary portfolio models. There are charts involved, and standing and looking directly into a screen greatly improves efficiency of time.
In addition, I now answer my phone only while standing, and therefore I indulge in less ”settling back comfortably and just gabbing” which is more efficient. I have ordered a wireless head set to complete the picture.
4. You chose the Elevate Desktop DT3 Dual Monitor desk – why do you prefer to use two monitors while working?
Two monitors raised above my desk just look darned efficient. I have elected to display two screens on my DT3 so that I no longer have to switch back and forth between programs that I have open on my computer. One screen is dedicated exclusively to email. The second screen is dedicated, in part, to the relative strength program that I mentioned. I am able to follow market updates and trends, and prefer to have this visible throughout the day.
5. What benefits have you experienced since the installation of your sit-stand desk?
Benefits include e-mails being dealt with in short order. In my first week with this amazing device, I dispensed with 700 messages that were backlogged – mainly research, and information that I just cast aside for future reference. All gone from my inbox.
A surprise benefit was that at the end of my first day, I went home, and could not keep my eyes open past 8 o’clock PM, after which, I had a wonderful sleep. My stamina is building up, and I can now last until 10 o’clock!!
6. Would you recommend this desk to others? If so, why?
I certainly would recommend this desk to others. It seemed awkward to me at first, but now, I wouldn’t dream of looking at an e-mail sitting down. Standing forces me to do something about it ASAP, and now that I have unsubscribed to many annoying suitors, my screen is efficient and clean indeed.
7. What other activities do you do to maintain a healthy lifestyle?
My wife and I work out twice a week. This, coupled with a new healthy approach at work, is giving me a great outlook. Thanks to my DT3, my body is moving from sitting to standing, getting up and down many times per day. I sincerely feel better as a result of this choice. I can feel the plaque disappearing from my arteries as we speak!
I am 70 years old, with no thought of retiring, so my good and improving health is on my mind daily. My diet, golf, chasing seven grandchildren, and now the addition of my beloved DT3, have all contributed to a superb outlook. Run… don’t walk… get one!!
I will add that my new Desk Pedals are on their way, so that I will have more casual exercising to perform while I am sitting down.
Full Disclosure Edward Walzak is Fitneff's COO's, Laurel Walzak, father.
About Edward Walzak:
An Investment Advisor with RBC Dominion Securities with over forty years experience in Private Client Wealth Management, Ed delivers a comprehensive array of professional financial services that appeal to individual financial needs.
Ed began his career in 1973 as an Investment Advisor in London, Ontario. He accepted a managerial role in Hamilton in 1980 and served the company in this capacity in both Hamilton and Toronto for 22 years. While in Toronto, Ed was named a Vice President and Director of Dominion Securities, a position he held for ten years. One of Ed’s key roles as a Director was to become the architect and founding Managing Director of a Latin American and Caribbean Group, centered in Toronto and Miami, which became a highly successful business within the Royal Bank Financial Group. In 2001, Ed returned to the role of Investment Advisor in Private Client Wealth Management in Hamilton, allowing him the best opportunity to work closely with his clients’ financial needs on a more personal level. He then formed a partnership with his daughter, Victoria, to establish a Private Client Wealth Management Practice with assets in excess of $250 million.
Heather Lielmanis is the VP of Business Development at Fitneff Inc. Fitneff is dedicated to providing innovative products and solutions that help busy people make their productive time more active. Fitneff offers a full suite of walking desks, sit-stand desks and active accessories that allow you to incorporate movement into your work day.
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Today, on International Women’s Day, I have chosen to profile Laurel Walzak, the female co-founder of Fitneff Inc. Laurel has been successful in so many areas of her career - first as a trailblazer in the sports business industry, then as an entrepreneur and most recently as an Assistant Professor of Sports Media at Ryerson University.
Laurel also spends a great deal of her time and energy outside the office in efforts to advance the careers of young women who are making their start. I asked Laurel some important questions about the role of women in business, and the role that she plays in advocating for other women in her life.