Details:A recently-released workplace study found height-adjustable workstations may help reduce sedentary behavior and support health even outside the workplace. “Stand Up to Work: Assessing the Health Impacts of Adjustable Workstations” compared people who work at height-adjustable desks to those with traditional workstations. Over a 12-month period, the standing desk research found that height-adjustable standing desks are linked to increased productivity, better concentration and improved overall health.、
“What makes this study different from any other standing-desk study—which is also what made it worthy of peer review and publication—is the combination of its long duration and its inclusion of complementary qualitative data,” says lead researcher Dr. Elizabeth Garland, associate professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “Most studies conclude after just a few months. Ours lasted a full year. This allowed us to assess both the objective and subjective health impacts of standing-desk usage, from perceived stress and wellbeing to measurable changes in sedentary behavior.”
Garland collaborated with a multidisciplinary team of researchers from the Center for Active Design (CfAD), global architecture and design firm Perkins+Will, and Steelcase to carry out the study. Perkins+Will and Steelcase both serve as advisory board members and are designated Champions of Fitwel, a healthy building certification operated by CfAD. Funded by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Foundation’s Transform grant, study results are published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management (IJWHM).
BENEFITS OF STANDING AT WORK
People who received height-adjustable desks reported a 17 percent reduction in sitting three months into the study, a trend that remained at the one year mark.
People (47%) with height-adjustable desks reported a significant reduction in upper back, shoulder or neck discomfort.
Easy to Use
People (88%) with height-adjustable desks reported they were convenient to use after 12 months.
People (65%) with height-adjustable desks reported increased productivity after one year and also reported better concentration ability. In addition, they said they were more active, refreshed, awake, limber and energetic
Improvements Outside of Work
People (65%) said height-adjustable desks positively impacted their health outside of the workplace.
“As the operator of the Fitwel Certification System, we see the continuous demand for research and data to support and drive the implementation of healthy design strategies,” says Abbie Watts, senior researcher at the Center for Active Design, “The ‘Stand Up to Work’ study is an important piece of research that grounds our workplace initiatives and contributes to the larger body of research that supports how we make the connection between health and the design of the built environment.”
IMPROVE WELLBEING IN THE WORKPLACE
The health of any organization is dependent on the wellbeing of its most important asset – its employees. This standing desk study proves that adjustable workstations are an essential part of a workplace that considers the physical, cognitive and emotional wellbeing of its people. Giving people the option for movement throughout their day, provides them with choice and control over their workspace — improving wellbeing and engagement.
One of those dimensions is cultivating vitality in the workplace. Creating the right type of environment can boost people’s motivation and performance within a relatively short time. Designing the workplace for employee wellbeing includes:
Design areas that give people choices for controlling the level of sensory stimulation around them.
Provide easily-adjustable furniture, such as height-adjustable desks, to fit a range of sizes, needs and preferences and to promote movement throughout the day.
Include cafés with healthy food choices and displays.
Bring nature in with daylight, views, ventilation, patios, etc.
Support active, healthy lifestyles with centrally located stairways, outdoor walking paths, bicycle racks, etc.
Focusing on physical wellbeing is one critical part of designing workplaces that help people move, think and feel better. Standing desk research, such as “Stand Up to Work”, continues to demonstrate that height-adjustable desks can be an important part of a strategy to design for the holistic wellbeing of people.
As a research-driven design firm that’s committed to health, wellbeing and sustainability, ‘Stand Up to Work’ was a particularly important project for us.
What to look for when shopping for a standing desk
Before buying a standing desk, you should first ask yourself a few questions: Is a standing desk really what I'm looking for? Will I find it comfortable to stand for several hours, or will I be inclined to sit down frequently? If you already own a desk, is a comfortable desk chair or a standing desk converter a better investment?
If you’re ready to buy a standing desk, these are some key factors to consider:
✔️Size and appearance: First things first, the standing desk you choose should not only fit your home office space but the desk model itself should be suited to your height. Be sure to check the desk's maximum height if you are considered tall, since some desktops may not be high enough to comfortably use while standing flat-footed in your office.
Also ask yourself: Is the desk deep enough for me, and what shape do I need? We saw a range of models in our research — some desks are narrower than others, and some are L-shaped. Consider the surface dimensions you'll need to fit all of your office essentials, such as a monitor (or two), laptop, mouse, keyboard, a coffee mug, notepad, etc. Ensure your standing desktop has enough space for everything without feeling cluttered, while also not exceeding any weight limits on the desk itself.
✔️Adjustability: Ease of adjustability is key, and for the most part, our experts found electronic operation easier than manual. Though you can find some manually operated standing desks at a great value, we believe that being able to adjust your desk height with the press of a button makes you more likely to alternate between sitting and standing.
You should also consider motor output and noise. Not all standing desks use the same motor, so we recommend choosing one that works for you. If you plan on frequently adjusting, choose a motor that is quieter and capable of quickly lowering or raising the desk.
✔️Ease of assembly: Standing desks typically aren't light, so pay careful attention to delivery style and any installation instructions. Some desks are more cumbersome to put together and may require two people.
✔️Customization: Though you can buy a standing desk as is, some offer more room for customization than others. Does the desk have a range of desktop sizes to choose from? Various finishes to match your furniture? Can the legs be customized? Are there any accessories included or possible add-ons?
✔️Durability and stability: A well-made standing desk should be durable and is expected to last several years, but it's always wise to check the manufacturer's warranty. Your desk should also be stable, meaning that it doesn't sway if you lean your elbows against it and there's not much shaking or moving when the height is adjusted.