March 11th, 2016

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The standing desk is not a new concept. Great thinkers including Thomas Jefferson and Ernest Hemingway worked standing up. And recently, standing desks have been on the upswing in modern offices – for good reason. Workplace benefits include improved employee health, productivity, and morale.

Health

A sedentary work lifestyle is harmful to your health in numerous ways. It increases your risk of cancer, heart attack, stroke and other diseases.

Employees who sit too long without standing or moving around are three times more at risk of developing an embolism or deep vein thrombosis (potentially life-threatening blood clots), a study by the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand suggests.

A Yale University study also found that when you sit for more than half of your day, your chances of slipping a disk are 60-70% greater than your more mobile counterparts.

Along with decreasing health risks, the health benefits of having a standing desk include fewer headaches and backaches and better posture. Less sitting and more standing means less anxiety, and one study even showed that several employees who used standing desks lost weight after a few months of use.

Productivity

Google, Twitter and Facebook know standing desks help you step up and out on the competition, which is why they’ve implemented them in their offices.

Take, for instance, the afternoon lull that hits many employees right after lunch. You have more blood in your brain when you stand, which means you’ll make faster and better work decisions throughout the day, even during the typical sluggish after-lunch time period.

There's research to back that up. A recent study tested the effects of high schoolers using standing desks in the classroom for the first time, which showed the neurocognitive benefits of standing desks as these teenagers’ test scores improved between 7-14%.

The study also showed increased activity in their left prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain involved with working memory and executive functioning. In the workplace, enhanced cognitive skills help you tackle daily work tasks and take the right steps to solve work-related problems.

Productivity has turned into more of a psychological thing. We associate sitting with resting and relaxing, but we associate standing with working. Get your office in the right frame of mind by utilizing standing desks, and you’ll quickly have a more alert, energized and productive company.

Not sure what to get for your office? Check out this extensive review of different standing desks.

Morale

Other standing desk benefits relate to office morale. Standing desks accommodate your employees' various heights because they can be moved up or down as needed – something standard desks aren’t capable of. Standard sitting desks are a one-size-fits-all solution. And I think we all know that one-size-fits-all usually means that it doesn't really fit anyone properly.

You can also get sit-stand workstations. When your employees can choose whether they want to sit or stand, which is dependent on how they work and tasks they’re given, they feel a greater sense of job satisfaction knowing they have a choice.

Office morale is also lifted because your employees are overall happier. I mean, wouldn’t you feel happier if you were healthier, more energized and getting your work tasks done more quickly throughout the day?

What Not to Do

Standing desks can improve employee health, productivity and morale – but only when they’re used right. If you don’t use these vertical workstations correctly, it can cause more harm than good, including eventual lower back and cardiovascular problems and an inability to thoroughly complete your work tasks.

Things you don’t want to do when utilizing standing desks:

  • Stand your entire workday
  • Stand still the whole time you’re standing
  • Use it while performing every work task
  • Simply use it to help you burn calories

Not every person or job will benefit from standing desks. You have to be the right kind of person, have the right kind of job and use this type of furniture the right way for it to deliver the desired health and work advantages.

Top image by Stirworks.

 

RELATED ARTICLE:
Standing up for a More Active Workplace

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