HR professional with extensive international experience. Expert in Small and Medium Businesses.
If you are here, maybe one of your employees has requested a standing up workstations and you are not sure how it would work. Maybe you are looking to renovate your office and someone mentioned something about standing up tables. Probably you were guided here through one of our posts. However it was that you arrived to this post, Welcome!
In this article we will analyse the benefits of standing up desks and how they can benefit your company, we will share some research and try to make a good summary so you can decide whether if is what you need for your SME or not.
What is a standup office?
Simple! It is an office where employees have the option to work while standing up.
No, you don’t need to change your decoration if is not what you want, there are some options that adapt to your current furniture. But we will get there soon.
How does it work?
Tables are usually adjustable and employees have the option to work sitting on a chair, standing up or mixing both of them.
The usual way of proceeding in offices that have been fully assessed is to do a combination. Employees usually change every 30 to 40 minutes so they don’t get tired. This allows them to move as their body or type of work requires at each particular moment.
Some data about sedentarism
On average we spent 7,5 hours sitting at work, 1,5 hours watching TV, 1,5 hours reading or commuting, 1 hour eating, 1, 5 hours on our home computer and only 3 hours per day moving. That makes 13 hours of sedentarism per day + your sleeping hours and only 3 hours a day moving
Bear in mind that this activity also includes shopping, going for a coffee to the kitchen, etc…
American Cancer Society 2010 (*1) study that reported that “time spent sitting was independently associated with total mortality, regardless of physical activity level.”
Among its findings:
- Women who sat over 6 hours per day were 37% more likely to die sooner when compared to women who sat for 3 hours per day
- Men who sat over 6 hours per day were 18% more likely to die sooner than their standing counterparts
- Women were 94% and men 48% more likely to die sooner compared with those who reported sitting the least and being most active.
Benefits of an standup office
Betsey Banker, Wellness Manager at Ergotron , said “Design can change the way we think, the way we are, the way we work”
A research provided by the US National Library of Medicine (*2) showed signs of sugar blood levels decreased in those workers who were standing for 185 minutes.
Their calorie burn was also higher than those who were sitting.
Another 2 studies (*3) and (*4) proved that pain back might be improved by the introduction of flexible workstations where employees could change their position. One of the studies also showed that this change of position also improved the feeling of fatigue.
It changes the culture. When sitting is not the only option, mobility changes and the effect of the water fountain is multiplied. It is easier to move around and speak to someone as employees don’t feel they have to do something extra.
Study (*3) proved that the level of energy increases, and that not only affects the body, but the mind.
It will increase creativity and productivity. When your body moves, the brain gets active and thinks in a different way. It’s only a matter of changing perspectives.
How will my staff react to the change
Change is never easy. There is always someone who will not be happy around the new situation. The good thing with stand up offices, especially if you decide to go for the flexible furniture, is that they can decide whether they want to use it or not.
The Juststand.org website reveals a study with employees from different generations and the results where unexpected.
95% of the people who had the opportunity to use it, reported at least 1 hour standing. And 30% where standing 4 hours per day in a mix of 30 minutes standing and 30 minutes seating.
If you are still concerned that not all your employees will react positively to these changes. From that same research, the conclusions said that 86% of employees interviewed aged between 50 and 60 were happy and believed it managed or reversed their health problems.
Those aged in the bracket 50 to 40 thought that it improved their ability to reach physical activity goals.
Those aged 30 to 40 said it improved the job satisfaction and the younger (20 to 30) believed it improved collaboration.
If you want to read more about the topic, the site of juststand.org has plenty of research that could help you getting further information.
There are plenty of options that you can find online. Cheap ones and a little bit more pricy.
There are some where you can adapt the whole thing from the beginning, like the one below that I found on Amazon
Or you can find several options that could be adjusted to your current furniture without changing your decoration or having the need to dispos your tables.
If you make some changes, please let us know how it goes!
(*1) American Cancer Society (2010). “More time spent sitting linked to higher risk of death; Risk found to be independent of physical activity level.” ScienceDaily.
(*2)Buckley et All (2013) Standing-based office work shows encouraging signs of attenuating post-grandial glycaemic excursion. PubMed.gov
(*3)Dunstand Et All, (2014) Breaking up workplace sitting time with intermittent standing bouts improves fatigue and musculoskeletal discomfort in overweight/obese office workers. PubMed.gov
(*4) Horst et All (2016) Impact of a Sit-Stand Workstation on Chronic Low Back Pain: Results of a Randomized Trial. PubMed.gov