From August of 2015 until January of 2017, I published a website called Well9to5.
Well9to5 first developed the idea of personal wellness and then went on to focus on the active office, office ergonomics, and office fitness.
During the last half of 2015, I wrote about wellness and interviewed wellness pioneers and experts. The main insight that came out of that phase of Well9to5 was the importance of focusing on personal wellness (as opposed to corporate wellness).
The Active Office
From there, the publication turned to a focus on the “active office.” My idea of an active office is one in which all aspects of your environment encourage you to be as active as possible during your work day. This was a logical evolution of the “office fitness” ideas I have been developing and evangelizing since 2007.
The focus on the active office also meshed nicely with my interests in ergonomics and office furniture that promotes activity at work. I have long been known as “The Standing Desk Guy,” but I have also followed closely the development of treadmill desks, active seating, and similar gear and gadgets.
Here’s how the “about” section at Well9to5 looked:
Well9to5 is an independent publication devoted to covering and promoting the active office, office ergonomics, and office fitness.
Our mission is to help people get moving more routinely in the office, to raise awareness of office ergonomics tools and practices, and to encourage new thinking about what “fitness” means in an office environment.
Well9to5 was founded and is operated by long-time publisher and office-fitness evangelist Larry Swanson.
If you follow online publishing at all, you know how difficult it can be to make money in a world in which consumers expect all information to be free and advertisers expect to reach them for about the same price.
Turning to a focus on office furniture and accessories opened the opportunity to tap into a publishing revenue source that was enjoying a renaissance in the mid-2010’s – affiliate advertising. Web publishers like Gawker and The Wirecutter, and even venerable publications like the Washington Post, were earning decent revenues with these programs that give publishers a cut of sales they refer to online merchants.
This made it reasonable to plan a Consumer Reports-like online publication that would review active-office products, which became the business model from May of 2016 on, reviewing standing-desk mats and a number of varieties of standing desks.
Alas, while it was a reasonable plan it turned out not to be realistic given my financial and staffing situation. So in the fall of 2016 my investors and I decided to close down Well9to5.