Sit-to-stand working offers real health benefits, and can also lead to improved productivity in the workplace.
But unfortunately, mistakes in office design and equipment can inadvertently hamper the adoption of this healthy working practice. To help boost the adoption of sit-to-stand working in your office, we've outlined 4 essentials for furnishings and decor for sit-to-stand offices.
1) Sit-to-Stand Desks
There are many different options for a sit-to-stand work set-up, including:
- Fixed height standing desks
- Manually-adjustable desks
- Motorized adjustable-height desks
- Tabletop desks.
When choosing your sit-to-stand desks, it's important to identify the top priorities that will affect the likelihood of continued use by employees.
It's crucial to consider the ease and speed of height adjustments, to understand how easy it will be for employees to transition between seated and standing working, as they will need to do so several times a day. Additionally, you should consider the range of height adjustments available: will the desk be a practical choice for both a 5-foot employee and someone over 6-foot?
2) Underfoot Support
For seated workers, plenty of consideration is given to the choice of desk chair, to create an ergonomic and comfortable workspace. But for standing workers, underfoot comfort and support is often overlooked. If you're looking to successfully adopt sit-to-stand working, providing adequate underfoot support is a must.
There are two options for creating a workspace that offers improved underfoot support:
- Standing mats - padded mats placed on top of your flooring, to create a more supportive surface for standing workers. Unfortunately, these can send the wrong message, making it look like people should be standing all the time, which offers minimal health benefits over sitting all day. Standing mats are an added expense, and can actually hamper adoption of good sit-to-stand working practices as employees need to move the mats every time they want to transition between sitting and standing.
- Cushion-backed carpet - this can offer similar levels of underfoot support as standing mats, built-in to your office flooring. The open cell cushion backing on Milliken's modular carpet uses the same technology found in high-performance sports shoes - reducing muscle fatigue by as much as 24%, and heel impact loads by up to 30% for standing workers.
3) Privacy Screens
One common concern raised by organizations considering sit-to-stand working is the issue of privacy. Standing workers are likely to feel conspicuous as they stand over their seated colleagues, and their work may be more visible to passers-by as their computer screens are elevated and easier to see.
To improve privacy and help employees feel more comfortable when standing to work, it's a good idea to install privacy screens between desks, along with screen guards or filters for computer monitors, to make it more difficult for people to have their work overlooked.
4) Built-In Noise Reduction
Another of the biggest concerns with sit-to-stand working is the additional noise that will be created: more people will be moving around, and even the quietest motorized desks will be an additional noise source that wasn't in your office previously.
Therefore it's crucial that you take steps to design and furnish your office in a way that will absorb some of this additional noise, and minimize its disruptive impact. For example:
- Opt for carpet over hard flooring. Hard-back carpet tiles absorb 3x more noise than hard surface flooring. In turn, cushion-backed carpet tiles absorb up to 50% more noise than hard-back carpet.
- Choose upholstered furniture such as sofas and desk chairs over wooden benches, to reduce the number of sound-reflective surfaces in the office.
- Use privacy screens to give employees a more private workspace.
- Consider experimenting with sound masking, using white noise or soft ambient noise such as rainfall to cover up more disruptive sounds. It's worth noting this doesn't make a space quieter, but can reduce the disruption caused by high noise levels.