If somebody told you that making one simple change to your work habits could increase your productivity by almost 50%, you’d probably be more than a little skeptical. But one study by the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health found that call center employees were 46% more productive when they used sit-stand desks.
Like ride-sharing apps, smartphones, and streaming services, standing desks are a trend that started in Silicon Valley and has spread throughout the country. Companies like Facebook and Google have provided standing desks for their employees for years now. Facebook employees were singing the praises of standing desks all the way back in 2011.
In recent years, more and more companies have started providing standing desks as a way to improve employee well-being, encourage collaboration, and increase productivity. The number of employers offering sit-stand desks and height-adjustable desks for employees has increased by over 30% in the last five years.
The numbers supporting the positive impact standing desks have on productivity are impressive. That’s because there are multiple different physical and psychological benefits of using a standing desk that each contribute to the overall increase in productivity.
Boosts Brain Power
Standing stimulates circulation, which sends more oxygen and nutrients to your brain. Sitting, on the other hand, inhibits circulation and starts negatively impacting your blood flow in as few as 10 minutes. The physical movement also encourages neurogenesis (the creation of new brain cells), specifically in the regions of the brain associated with critical thinking.
While 10 minutes of sitting can negatively impact your circulation, 10 minutes of standing is all it takes to increase focus. 71% of employees who reduced their sitting time by just one hour a day reported improved mental focus throughout the day. When you’re more focused, you’re able to work more efficiently and get more done.
Reduces Pain and Discomfort
Along with a myriad of other long-term health consequences, sitting all day can cause chronic pain and discomfort. Our bodies were not designed to sit all day, and doing so causes physical stress that can result in back pain, joint pain, damaged nerves, and chronic headaches. All that physical discomfort can be a major distraction throughout the day, which inhibits productivity.
Standing and moving in small bursts throughout the day increases overall energy levels. 87% of employees using standing desks reported feeling more energetic as a result of standing more during the workday. Standing helps keep energy levels stable, preventing the mid-afternoon slump. Being on your feet also increases alertness, which aids focus and concentration.
Thanks to the bump in employee productivity (in addition to improved employee health and well-being), companies stand to earn $3-7 return on investment for every $1 spent on sit-stand office furniture. The numbers just don’t lie. Height adjustable desks are a wise investment for every employer.