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How Can Using a Standing Desk Affect Your Productivity

This article is re-posted from a Sedentary Behaviour Research Network blog post on 3rd July 2019. Recently, research into the topic of excessive sitting, or “sedentary behaviour”, has been making headlines. The risk for chronic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity, that comes with high levels of sitting is becoming more evident (1). Office workers represent a population that spend a significant amount of time in sedentary pursuits as a consequence of their occupation (2). As more research is being published on the topic, many workplaces are seeking non-sedentary alternatives and solutions to the traditional office environment to keep their employees as healthy and productive as possible. One such solution has been the implementation of activity-permissive workstations. Activity-permissive, or alternative, workstations replace a worker’s traditional desk and are broadly categorized into either standing desks or dynamic workstations. Standing desks allow for a worker to stand while performing a task (e.g., typing, clerical work), and can be installed as additions to an existing workstation, or as height-adjustable replacement units (see Figure 1). Dynamic workstations are designed to allow for activity or movement while working, and include a variety of alternative workstations, such as: treadmill desks, cycling desks, and dynamic sitting desks…

Office Design Impacts Employee Wellbeing

Research shows that in order to create sustainable behaviour change in desk based workers it is important to target individual behaviour, the physical environment, and organisational components. An article in The Conversation by Libby Sander recently highlighted impact of office design on employee wellbeing. Creating an environment which encourages employees to make healthy lifestyle choices can help instigate sustainable behaviour change. Although it may not be feasible for all businesses to invest in massive office redesigns or luxury items such as sleep pods or stairway relocation, the good news is that there are simple and cost effective changes that most businesses can make. These include centralising frequently used office materials, such as printers, recycling, rubbish bins, and mail collection. This small change in location will create more movement in workers’ days by default. Company-wide investment in sit-stand desks may not be feasible for some companies. If there are some resources available, prioritisation should go to those in highest need (i.e., those with less flexibility in their job tasks to be able to leave their desk). Long-term planning may help the organisation allocate a budget for non height adjustable desks to be replaced with sit-stand desks in the future. Full height-adjustable desks (i.e., the whole desk moves…

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