The average office worker spends 5 hours and 41 minutes sitting at their desk each day – plus time spent seated during their commute, and relaxing in the evening. As we are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of an extremely sedentary lifestyle, sit-to-stand working is becoming increasingly popular.
Today I’m looking at five benefits of sit-to-stand working, which can be split into two categories: health and work.
1) Lower Risk of Diabetes and Heart Disease
Sitting down for long periods of time damages your body, and even if you’re hitting the gym after work, it’s not enough to counteract the damage.
A 2013 study found that people who sat for longer periods during their day had significantly higher levels of blood glucose, and concluded that for people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the amount of time spent sitting could be a major risk factor.
Other studies show that the risk of heart failure was more than double for men who sat for at least five hours a day outside of work, compared with men who sat for less than two hours a day.
2) Lower Risk of Obesity
A 2015 study by the University of Iowa found that employees with sit-to-stand desks burned up to 87 more calories a day than their seated colleagues – which adds up to 435 calories over a five-day work week. Researchers say it could be “important in fighting the obesity epidemic”.
In fact, standing up burns up to 50 calories per hour more than sitting down – you’re engaging more muscles, and once you’re on your feet, you are more likely to move around.
3) Reduced Back Pain
Sitting puts more pressure on the spine and back muscles than standing – especially if you’ve got poor posture. Standing up, your body weight is evenly distributed, but sitting down distorts the natural curve of your spine so your back muscles have to compensate.
Being able to switch between sitting and standing makes it easier to stretch out your back and redistribute your weight, alleviating pain in your back.
However, it’s important to remember that long periods of standing can also cause discomfort – especially if your body isn’t used to it. Therefore it’s vital to choose the best flooring for reducing muscle strain for your standing employees - just as you would choose an ergonomically-designed chair for your seated employees. For advice on choosing the right flooring, and questions to ask your manufacturer, download our free tip sheet below.
Studies have shown that cognitive functioning actually improves when using standing desks. The Draugiem Group found that standing up helped them focus on the tasks they were working on, and drove them to complete the task at hand.
Sit-to-stand working also reduces employee discomfort compared with seated working alone; with fewer aches and pains to cause distractions (and the freedom to vary their stance to make themselves comfortable), employees are better able to focus on their work.
Thanks to improved focus, The Draugiem Group found that when using standing desks they were up to 10% more productive.
Long periods of inactivity impacts employee wellbeing, which in turn will affect their productivity levels. Being stuck in one position for hours on end is enough to give anyone a mental block. Being able to transition between sitting and standing is enough to give you a fresh perspective on the tasks at hand – with the added bonus of incorporating extra movement into your day.