Imagine you’re on a plane, and you’ve been squashed into a little seat for 3 or 4 hours – it’s uncomfortable, right? In fact, we are doing the same to ourselves on a daily basis at the office but we mostly just put up with it!
Could standing desks be the answer?
The benefits of standing desks have shown to be two-fold among employees and workers; good for both psychological and physical health. Did you know that in Denmark it is compulsory to offer sit-stand desks for employees? This allows everyone to have a choice, promoting ergonomic change within the office environment. Let’s look more closely at some of the benefits of having this flexible option in the office…
1. Increased productivity & creativity
It is often thought that if an employee is standing up, they cannot provide their full attention to the task at hand, leading to mistakes. Well, this is not necessarily true; it has been shown that standing does not detract from cognitive function. In fact, it is beneficial to employee attention spans and also improves memory. In addition to which, participants in standing desk studies report to have felt more attentive in general.
2. Reduced risk of heart problems
Scientific evidence suggests that sitting all day long is pretty terrible for us; in fact, those of us who spend 4 or more hours sitting a day have a 125% increased risk of problems related to cardiovascular disease e.g. heart attacks. Standing up for as little as 90 minutes a day can decrease the risk of developing metabolic problems such as diabetes and health problems associated with weight gain in the future.
3. Healthy body, healthy mind, happy life!
One seven-week study of using standing desks showed that using a standing desk could decrease tiredness, tension, confusion and depression and increase feelings of energy, focus and vigour. So providing standing desks may mean that you’re left with happier employees with higher energy levels and focus (a win, win situation!).
4. Improved posture – Reduced aches & pains
This might be an obvious one to many but, according to an article published in The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, using a sit-stand desk can have benefits for your posture. “Implementing a sit-stand workstation paradigm can be an effective workplace health intervention to reduce musculoskeletal complaints,” the journal reports. So if your employees want to stand more - and complain less – it may be time to let them!
Are standing desks the solution to better health?
There are clear benefits to standing desks, but this does not mean we should be standing all day, every day. There are risks to standing all day as there are for sitting all day, so make sure your office has a good balance of both. Many standing desks are adjustable, so workers can choose to sit and stand throughout the day as their bodies and feet guide them to do.
What do you think? Are standing desks going to become commonplace in the office in 2016? Should they be? Leave a comment!
Disclaimer: The stated benefits in this post are not fact but a collation of other sources. These risks/benefits are implied, not guaranteed.