Research from the University of Bath suggests that the introduction of standing desks can mean that employees use significantly more energy than those seated, with the added benefits that they can control their weight.
Workers who spend their time in a sedentary position for the whole of their shift can suffer from health issues, with the Bath research suggesting that prolonged sitting is a major health concern.
Is introducing standing work stations the solution for the modern workplace? Other research suggests that this may not be the case, indicating that prolonged standing also results in health problems.
Some studies suggest that reducing seating exposure and switching often between standing and sitting can result in improvements in health, increased performance at work, and reduced discomfort for workers. It would therefore seem that introducing sitting and standing stations can reduce health issues in the workplace, especially if employees are provided with instructions and training on how to vary their posture, such as through work patterns and consultation.
As many office workers are using desktop computers during their workday, ensuring that they have an appropriate and ergonomically efficient operator chair during the time they are sitting at their workstation is essential. Sourcing these is relatively easy, with a large range of operator chairs available online.
The Health and Safety Executive has warned in the past that employers must ensure that seating is safe and does not present a risk to employees who spend most of their time sitting at their desk. It is therefore important to take the purchase of office furniture seriously if you are to avoid an impact on productivity due to workers being absent due to sickness.
Medical experts have suggested in the past that spending too much time in a sedentary position can not only impact workers’ health but also result in lethargy and a slow-down in performance.
The UK Department of Health conducted a survey into sit-stand workstations . This concluded that a combination of sitting and standing at a workstation can reduce sedentary time by as much of two hours and that employees have reacted positively.
It remains important to ensure that the chairs you provide for your workforce contribute to their well-being and are comfortable, since the widespread introduction of standing desks is still some way off.