Author: Marina Fletcher
Technology has made it easier for workers to get things done. What used to take hours can now be accomplished in a few keystrokes. But that efficiency has not translated into more free time. Recent studies reveal that people spend a good portion of their days in front of screens.
Research shows that consistent, sedentary behavior could be linked to increased risks for several physical ailments, including lowered immune functions, slower metabolism, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Companies have an opportunity to address the issue by including height-adjustable desks or sit-stand desks (SSDs) as part of their workplace wellness programs.
Standing desks have been used throughout history. Did you know that Thomas Jefferson instructed a cabinetmaker to build a custom-designed standing desk for his personal use?4 Technology has influenced the development of height-adjustable desks in recent years. Now SSDs are available in a number of configurations. Some can be preset with preferred heights and, with the touch of a button, raised or lowered to meet the needs of the users. Others sit on top of existing desks and are easily adjustable with simple controls.
The popularity of height-adjustable desks has surged in recent years. And for good reasons. As people need to spend more time working on computers, workstations that quickly adjust to accommodate sitting and standing positions may contribute to healthier workdays.
So whether your company has already installed flexible workstations or you’re considering adding SSDs, here’s how they can contribute to your workplace wellness program:
Productivity improvements — A recent study from the University of Leicester found that 43% of those who switched to a height-adjustable desk reported that their performance had improved after one year of use.5 The same study found that 52% of those using height-adjustable desks felt more engaged at work after one year.
Regular use of height-adjustable workstations like the Fellowes® Lotus™ and height-adjustable desks like the Fellowes Cambio™ may contribute to a more productive workplace, and an increase in productivity translates into a better bottom line for any business.
Office morale boost — The option to stand and move throughout the day without leaving the workstation may improve mood and morale. Workers who use standing desks or active seating may feel less stress and fatigue than their sedentary colleagues, as well as experience an increase in energy throughout the day.
A study in Psychological Science found that mental processing time for a psychological test was slightly faster in a group of standing study participants versus a group of sitting participants.6 Possible contributing reasons are that, when people stand, they are more aware of balance and engage more muscles.
Notably, when the desks were removed at the end of the study, these improvements mostly disappeared within two weeks, suggesting that the availability of active workspaces gives workers positive options, which means better performance.
Healthier workplace benefits — Along with improved performance, employees may also experience health benefits after transitioning to height-adjustable desks. Long periods of sitting can slow metabolism, which impacts the body’s ability to regulate glucose and blood pressure and break down fat.7 Regular movement is the solution, including exercise and minimizing sedentary lifestyle habits.
Active workspace solutions are a useful way to introduce movement while working in an office setting, which may support long-term wellness goals. Fewer sick days and less money spent on health insurance are the employer perks of a healthier workforce.
Recruitment perk — Active workspace options also have curb appeal. In a competitive job market, an office optimized for wellness may sway stellar candidates. One of the top five benefits for job-hunting employees is a company with a wellness focus.8 Other companies are getting on board. The 2019 Employee Benefits Survey, administered by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), found that the use of standing desks has increased by 7% since 2018.
Offering height-adjustable desks is one way to demonstrate that your business is thoughtful about providing the right tools for employees to stay active during the workday.
The investment in wellness furniture can be affordable. The Lotus Sit-Stand Workstation can be adapted to any existing static workstation, allowing employees to opt for an adjustable standing upgrade.
The Cambio height-adjustable desk offers an easy setup, and customizable desktops are available to fit any office decor. Any workplace can be outfitted with SSDs quickly and efficiently, turning a static space into a dynamic office environment. As employees look for healthy alternatives in the workplace, employers have the opportunity to stand up for their wellness with active workspace solutions.
Interested in learning more about ways to incorporate height-adjustable desks into your workplace wellness program? We can help.
The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and are based on scientific and technical research noted below. The information does not constitute a medical consultation and cannot replace medical advice. Any information should never be used as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other health care provider.
1Bailey, Grant, “Office workers spend 1,700 hours a year in front of a computer screen.” Independent, July 23, 2018. Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/office-workers-screen-headaches-a8459896.html
2Barlow, Carolyn E., et al., “Association Between Sitting Time and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors After Adjustment for Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Cooper Center Longitudinal Study, 2010–2013.” Preventing Chronic Disease, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, December 29, 2016. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2016/16_0263.htm
3“Health Risks of an Inactive Lifestyle.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/healthrisksofaninactivelifestyle.html
4“Tall Desk.” Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/tall-desk
5FitzPatrick, Laura, “Standing desks will improve productivity, study by University of Leicester in BMJ finds.” The Telegraph, October 11, 2018. Retrieved from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/10/10/standing-desks-will-improve-productivity-study-university-leicester/
6DiSalvo, David, “Why Using A Standing Desk At Work Could Give Your Brain An Edge.” Forbes, October 9, 2017. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2017/10/09/why-standing-instead-of-sitting-may-make-you-a-better-thinker/#75a0b94266f7
7Reynolds, Gretchen, “Sitting for More Than 13 Hours a Day May Sabotage the Benefits of Exercise.” New York Times, April 10, 2019. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/10/well/move/sitting-for-more-than-13-hours-a-day-may-sabotage-the-benefits-of-exercise.html
8Merhar, Christina, “What Are the Most Important Benefits to Employees?” PeopleKeep, October 9, 2015. Retrieved from https://www.peoplekeep.com/blog/the-most-important-benefits-to-employees
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