Why to Include Standing Desks in an Employee Wellness Program

November 20, 2018

A standing desk can help your employees work smarter.
Don't get stuck sitting at your desk. Use a standing desk to work smarter.

Young man using a computer at his standing desk in an office

Vicki Shanta Retelny, RDN

You probably already know that sitting at your desk for eight hours a day isn't a healthy habit. Luckily, employers are becoming more aware of that fact, and they're beginning to address it through the creation of employee wellness programs. Many of these programs aim to find new ways for employees to move more throughout the day.

With the proper education and tools, companies and organizations can help their employees foster healthy habits that transform the workplace into a healthier space.

Think Ergonomic

Ergonomic furniture, such as a standing desk, is a smart workplace wellness solution. Not only does a stand up desk modernize the look of an office, but it naturally reduces the amount of sitting time, which Mayo Clinic explains can increase an individual's risk of disease and death.

Because of these risks, it's very important for employers to understand how certain office furnishings can help or harm their employees. Once they factor in the full spectrum of their employees' different physical needs, employers will support a healthy lifestyle in their workforce.

Boost Your Bottom Line

Standing desks have also been shown to increase productivity, while improving self-esteem and positive work attitudes.

As published in IIE Transactions on Occupational Ergonomics and Human Factors, employees in a Texan call center that used standing desks were found to be more productive than their seated colleagues. Even better, that productivity continued to increase over time. Within the first month of the study, the researchers discovered that the sales calls of standing desk users were 23 percent more successful than those of their seated colleagues, and that increased to 53 percent at six months. Additionally, a positive side effect observed among the standing desk users was a shift in outlook: The workers were more comfortable while working, which led to a more positive attitude and increased self-esteem.

Stand Up for Wellness

An essential part of an employee wellness program is to create the opportunity for employees to sit less and stand more. Research published in Missouri Medicine reveals that it's important to stand up and move after 30 consecutive minutes of sitting to maintain physical and mental health.

Using a stand up desk can truly have a profound impact. According to Mayo Clinic, you'll also burn more calories at a standing desk than you would sitting, which can boost weight loss and energy levels. Plus, moving your body can help keep muscles toned and improve your mental well-being.

Put Standing in Practice

The awareness that increasingly sedentary lifestyles propose a public health concern is only building. Numerous companies, such as Chicago-based Centro and Minneapolis' General Mills, have standing desks and treadmill stations to keep their employees moving while they work. Plus, fitting the job to the person — ergonomics — is a vital part of the employee wellness program within the United States Department of Defense, which provides access to standing desks as part of the Computer/Electronics Accommodations Program (CAP).

The Annals of Internal Medicine also published a study showing how increased sitting time in participants lead to an increase in all-cause death. With this level of impact, and the fact that the average adult is sedentary from nine to 10 hours a day, minimizing the time spent sitting should be the goal of any lifestyle intervention program for employees.

Standing desks can be a major asset for comprehensive employee wellness programs. The option to stand throughout the day while working is a great start to building a company's broader wellness agenda and will benefit employee health goals, too. By thinking ergonomically, companies can easily boost employee health, productivity and morale. It's a win-win proposition.

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