Study Finds Standing Desks Increase Productivity, Health

June 19, 2017

The study found adjustable desk workstations are effective for decreasing inactivity at work and away from the office.

A new study assessing the health and wellness impacts of the effects of using a standing desk in the workplace found that using adjustable workstations is linked to increased productivity, improved mental concentration and improved overall health.

The study was funded by the American Society of Interior Designers Foundation’s (ASIDF) Transform Grant. Research was done with an objective to find out the impacts of adjustable workstations on employee health and wellness, perceived stress and sedentary behavior and to track the sustainability of the observed behavioral changes over a one-year period.

The initiative was led by Elizabeth Garland, M.D., M.S., associate professor in the Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and a multidisciplinary team of researchers from the Center for Active Design, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, global architecture and design firm Perkins+Will, and Steelcase.

“We are excited to share the results of this study, demonstrating that a simple adjustment to the workplace can effectively improve health behaviors both in the office setting and beyond,” says Dr. Elizabeth Garland.

Compared with participants using traditional desks, participants who received the adjustable workstations reported significantly less sitting three months and six months after installation.

After one year of tracking, 88% of participants who received adjustable workstations reported that they were convenient to use; 65% reported increased productivity; and 65% indicated that they positively impacted their health outside of the workplace. Participants with adjustable workstations also reported better concentration and would recommend them for their worksite.

“This study found adjustable workstations beneficial in reducing sedentary behavior both in and outside of the workplace. In addition, these behavioral changes were sustained over time and were associated with more energy, less muscle pain, and more awareness of standing posture. When considering total worker health, employers would be smart to include options for adjustable workstations,” says Dr. Garland.

The full executive summary, including a PDF review of the methodology and implications derived from the research is available on the ASID website here

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