Do Standup Workstations Improve Productivity?

As you sit in your cubicle day after day, you may not realize that too much sitting can actually shorten your life. Both the American Cancer Society and studies published in the American Journal of Epidemiology have shown that sitting all day long for many years increases the chances of illness, type 2 diabetes, obesity, depression, cardiovascular disease, and even death. The popularity of standing workstations has increased exponentially in the last few years as evidence continues to demonstrate that spending more time standing and less time sitting is beneficial for worker health and productivity. Here are some of the most compelling reasons why you should make the switch from sitting at a desk to a standing workstation:

How Do Standing Workstations Improve Productivity?

One of the benefits of standing workstations is that they increase collaboration and sharing among coworkers. By nature, desks and cubicles are isolating. We tend to work more independently when there is a physical barrier to teamwork. Workers at standing stations tend to be more active, walk around more often, and thus interact more with coworkers. Companies such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter have all jumped on the standing desk trend because these types of workstations tend to nurture innovation and cooperation within the office.

Just as your body can begin to feel lazy after prolonged periods of sitting, your brain also starts to shut down and become sluggish. Spending the day at a standing workstation helps to keep your brain active. With an active brain you are better able to focus on tasks and complete responsibilities in a timely manner. When you work standing up, you will also find a renewed sense of mental acuity, sharpness, and an increased ability to problem solve.

Do you ever find yourself feeling unhappy and unmotivated at work? Unfortunately, sitting at a desk for hours isn’t helping your mental health. Increased activity in the workday can also lead to an improved mood. Perhaps you have heard that happy workers are more productive workers. According to the Mayo Clinic, physical activity triggers chemicals in your brain that make you feel more relaxed and content. The chemicals produced by increased activity can encourage workers to feel more revitalized, alert, and friendly.

While it may seem counterintuitive to some, standing at a workstation instead of sitting can help to combat fatigue. When workers go long periods of time without using their muscles, blood circulation decreases. Even after spending hours “just sitting”, workers often end up feeling tired and worn down. Decreased blood circulation can also lead to blood clots, which can be very dangerous.

What are the Additional Benefits of Standing Workstations?

In addition to creating happier and more productive workers, standing workstations also have many other physical health benefits. One surprising possible benefit to standing up at the office is weight loss. A little bit more movement each day makes a big difference over time. While we typically think of exercise for weight loss as something that happens at the gym, workers could lose eight pounds in just one year merely by standing up for an extra three hours per day!

Some workers may believe that sitting at work is fine because they spend plenty of time working out at the gym. Wrong! For those who hit the gym on a regular basis, sitting for long periods of time could actually negate the benefits of consistent exercise. This means that even if you are spending hours and hours at the gym each week, you might as well not even bother if you are sitting at a desk day after day. Working at a standing desk can help you to reap the full benefits of your exercise regime.

While the medical community has known for quite a while that sedentary lifestyle choices are bad for your health, new evidence shows that sitting specifically can not only be harmful, but deadly. One of the most compelling reasons to choose a standing workstation in the office is the new data regarding sitting and increased risk of death. The longer you sit, the higher your chances of premature death. Those who sit for more than 10 hours per day increase their chances of dying in the next three years by 40%.

Without proper exercise and muscle movement, toxins and other harmful substances can accumulate in the body. Standing workstations can also help cleanse the body of these dangerous substances. Muscle movement stimulates blood flow which helps to remove toxins in your system. Muscle movement also helps to flush glucose and fat from the bloodstream.

How Can I Improve My Health Without a Standing Workstation?

Not every workplace will make allowances for those who wish to use a standing workstation. In some cases, companies may require a medical reason or doctor’s note for workers who prefer to work standing up. If your office mandates that you sit at a regular desk, you can still take steps to improve your health. If you must sit at a desk at your office, be sure to take frequent breaks to move around.

At least every hour, get up from your desk and walk around the office. If your office building has stairs, you can do a few laps up and down the stairs. You can also work on stretching, muscle strengthening, and aerobic exercises right from your desk. By taking one minute “exercise breaks” at your desk, you can avoid some of the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Do 60 seconds worth of jumping jacks, lunges or even yoga.

free-kaizen-guideWhether you are looking for a way to increase productivity or just want to boost your health, standing workstations are an excellent choice for those who sit at a desk for more than a few hours per day. Our bodies are just not made to sit staring at a screen all day long. We are made to move! You are certain to see the positive results when you make the switch from sitting at a desk to a standing workstation.

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Antonio Ferraro

On behalf of Creative Safety Supply based in Portland, OR, I strive to provide helpful information to create safer and more efficient industrial work environments. My knowledge base focuses primarily on practices such as 5S, Six Sigma, Kaizen, and the Lean mindset. I believe in being proactive and that for positive change to happen, we must be willing to be transparent and actively seek out areas in need of improvement. An organized, safe, and well-planned work space leads to increased productivity, quality products and happier workplace. Connect with Antonio on Google+