Boosting Productivity At Work May Be Simple: Stand Up

workers stand at their desks in a crowded officeResearch shows 46 percent increase in workplace productivity with use of standing desks

Most people have heard the argument that standing desks are good for the body. They can help burn more calories and fight obesity. Standing can even help improve students’ attention and cognitive functioning. Now, new research from the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health indicates that they may boost productivity in adults as well.

The researchers examined the productivity differences between two groups of call center employees over the course of six months and found that those with stand-capable workstations—those in which the worker could raise or lower the desk to stand or sit as they wished throughout the day—were about 46 percent more productive than those with traditional, seated desk configurations. Productivity was measured by how many successful calls workers completed per hour at work. Based on work related to this study in a previous publication, workers in the stand-capable desks sat for about 1.6 hours less per day than the seated desk workers.

The study was published yesterday in the journal IIE Transactions on Occupational Ergonomics and Human Factors.

“We hope this work will show companies that although there might be some costs involved in providing stand-capable workstations, increased employee productivity over time will more than offset these initial expenses,” said Mark Benden, Ph.D., C.P.E., associate professor at the Texas A&M School of Public Health, director of the Texas A&M Ergonomics Center and member of the Center for Remote Health Technologies and Systems, and one of the authors of the study.

“One interesting result of the study is that the productivity differences between the stand-capable and seated groups were not as large during the first month,” said Gregory Garrett, M.A., a public health doctoral student and a lead author of the study. “Starting with the second month, we began to see larger increases in productivity with the stand-capable groups as they became habituated to their standing desks.”

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