Effects of Standing Desks on Productivity
June 07, 2022
Why do employees expect a paycheck at the end of every work cycle? Contractually, employers enter into agreements with their workers to compensate them for their productivity. Therefore, productivity essentially becomes a measure of what an employee should do in order to get remunerated. But then comes a problem–productivity is not constant from individual to individual or day to day.
You’ve probably heard it or seen it when an employer keeps urging the workforce to work as diligently as employer A or team Z. They are usually setting a productivity benchmark. This is the expected level of output by the employer against the input. Output, in this case, is the volume of goods produced or services rendered. On the other hand, input is the time put in, and the resources spent for the tasks to get done.
There are many things that affect an employee's output, despite having the same number of hours and similar resources availed as their colleagues. Personality, working style, ability, well-being, level of training, personal life, inter-office relationships, etc., are some of the factors that may affect a certain individual’s ability to be as productive as their counterparts. Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate some of the problems associated with low productivity, as well as improve upon existing potential.
Today, we look at the effects of standing desks on office workers’ productivity. But before that, let’s quickly run through what affects employee productivity in the office and how to mitigate it, what is a standing desk, then wind up with some of our best standing desk recommendations.
What are the Factors affecting Employee Productivity?
A working mother of 3 might deliver less tangible output than a 21-year-old bachelor if put in the same capacity. This could simply be because one goes home to more duties, thereby getting less time for rest. At the same time, the same mother of three with 10 years of experience could handle a client issue better than the fresh out of campus bachelor with barely any experience. As briefly mentioned, employee performance varies from person to person despite equal resources. Below are factors affecting productivity at the workplace.
Not Matching Employees for the Right Jobs
There is more to productivity than the number of customers served, items sold, etc. An efficient worker will get through the tasks faster, but an effective worker will ensure better customer satisfaction. Matching employees with the right tasks can ensure better productivity across the board for your business.
Employers need to be cognizant of workers’ underlying health issues in order to set the right expectations. A person suffering from chronic stress or one that’s constantly out of the office for one medical emergency or the other might miss more workdays than their colleagues and thus be termed as ‘less productive.’
Lack of Training
Standardize knowledge across the board. Fresh graduates are more tech-savvy than seasoned workers. At the same time, older employees have a better grasp of processes. Provide the appropriate level of training to give each employee a solid chance at doing their best and remaining competitive.
Inefficient Tools and Equipment
A worker is only as good as their tools. Field agents required to collect data will do better with a tablet, while freelancers require laptops and office employees could work with desktop monitors. Employers have to be willing to avail the proper tools for work; else, it becomes extremely difficult for the employees to do their job efficiently.
Unconducive Work Environment
The work environment could mean the physical conditions or the work atmosphere created by the office inhabitants. Without proper office furniture, employees will be uncomfortable, thereby less productive. If the management is hostile, the workers will dread coming to work, then walk on eggshells all day and become ineffective in their tasks.
Pay workers what is due, and pay them in a timely fashion. It is one of the ways employers incentivize employees to return to work even when they have no energy. Delayed payments or unfair compensation will lead to your workers doing the bare minimum, stunting business growth and affecting reputation.
Poor Work-Life Balance
Employers need to acknowledge that their workers’ personal situations do not compare apples to oranges. Therefore, there should be special considerations for employees who could use more work-from-home days than others, extra parental leave days, support for exceptional circumstances, etc. When a business over-prioritizes the bottom line, employees’ life situations can take a hit, and that often translates to their productivity.
How Does a Standing Desk Affect Productivity?
First things first, what is a standing desk?
A standing desk is simply a desk that allows you to work as you stand. We have fixed standing desks that are permanently positioned to a standing height. These are not the most efficient as standing all day is not encouraged healthwise, and neither is it comfortable. We also have height-adjustable standing desks, which are a gem to work with. They transition from a normal sitting height to a standing height, and with growing demand in today’s office space, the technology just keeps getting better.
A quick web search about the benefits of a standing desk will bring you rev reviews by proponents. However, you will also get a handful of people that call them ‘overhyped’ or ‘just a fad.’ Well, we’re here to look at some science-backed benefits of adopting standing desks in the office, especially on productivity. They may not address all the issues affecting productivity, but here is what a standing desk can do for your office:
Improved Physical Wellness
It is no secret that sitting all day is highly detrimental to your health. A typical office worker can easily find themselves sitting for close to 6 hours in the office, about 2 hours on average during their commute, before slamming it on the sofa for 3-4 hours of screen time. That’s a lot of sitting, but sadly represents the larger percentage of the global population. So, how exactly does sitting affect our health?
Our bodies burn fewer calories when sitted, which is a risk factor for obesity.
When there’s an accumulation of fat in the blood vessels, the heart works harder to pump blood throughout the body, leading to high blood pressure.
An increase in body fat leads to insulin resistance, in turn affecting blood sugar. Even worse, multiple studies link the weight-related effects of a sedentary lifestyle to the development of Type 2 diabetes.
As you settle into a more sedentary lifestyle, the increased strain on your heart and blood vessels put you at greater risk of cardiovascular diseases.
You face reduced life expectancy as you are predisposed to more illnesses, including heart attacks and strokes from the imminent damage to the circulatory system.
While that breakdown may be scary, the effects are reversible and manageable. And we recommend a standing desk to help you get started on the journey. On average, it is said that the human body burns 80 calories an hour when sitted, but standing will help you burn at least 100 calories. Ergonomists suggest a 1:1 to 1:3 sit-stand ratio, which suggests that for every hour you sit, you should stand for an hour without exceeding three continuous hours for either.
You can also follow the 30 to 30 rule, where you alternate sitting and standing every 30 minutes to keep your body active. The bottom line is that you lose more calories and stand a better chance at weight management by standing. However, this should not be seen as a replacement for working out if you want to regain and maintain your optimum weight. You have fewer sick days and more energy to hit your productivity targets when you're physically fit.
Improved Mental Health
Physical health is closely interrelated to mental health. Conditions such as stress and depression can stem from the constant worry of failing health. For instance, a person diagnosed with the early symptoms of Type 2 diabetes might not be as mentally present as a person in perfect health. You spend a lot of time worrying and obsessing over the physical ailment to the detriment of a healthy state of mind, worsening the prevailing condition.
The benefits of a standing desk in maintaining a healthy weight and fighting associated conditions preserve your peace of mind. Rather than worry about a specialist’s appointment, you can instead prioritize your energy towards your work. At the end of the day, you will also remain in good standing with your employer, which works wonders for a sustained positive outlook.
A Statement on Inclusivity
Have you ever stepped into an establishment and right away felt that you were in the wrong place? They might have narrower doorways that can accommodate your build or have low-lying furniture that’s uncomfortable for your height. Working in an office with furniture that does not accommodate your physique can put a mental strain on you. Standing desks are an easy fix.
Most height-adjustable desks come with a height range that is accommodative to kids and really tall adults. You can set the desktop in the most ideal position while seated and standing, improving the quality of the time you spend behind the desk.
Workers on the extreme ends of the height bar suffer the most exclusion when it comes to office furniture. Setting your office up with their unique needs in mind shows inclusivity and lets your workers know that you care. It also shows support for those trying to lose weight. This can do wonders for workplace morale, translating to a huge productivity boost.
Provides the Necessary Tools for Work
All offices come with office furniture, right? Maybe. But not all offices avail the right office furniture for a productive work experience. With workers spending 8 to 10 hours on average a day in the office, the office environment needs to reflect an appreciation for the time value put in. Modern standing desks avail the right conditions for a functional, professional, and comfortable workspace. Tired of sitting? Stand up and keep working. Short of gym time? Install an underdesk treadmill and get your workout done.
Besides a monthly/weekly paycheck and medical insurance, employees really just want a good work environment where they don’t struggle to get their tasks completed. With modern standing desks in place, you can count on your employees to be more reliable and efficient.
And with allocations such as sit-stand reminders, height presets, fast and quiet motors, environmentally friendly constructions, a high weight capacity for all your tools and equipment, etc., there’s nothing standing desks won’t do.
Improved Engagement and Cognitive Function
There was an interesting study conducted by Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, where they set out to investigate the students' level of engagement and cognitive function when using standing desks. The experimental test concluded that continued use of standing desks led to significant improvements in executive function (frontal brain) and working memory capabilities. Besides that, the students also showed increased attention and better behavior.
The direct effect of the observed brain activation patterns in the frontal brain regions can be attributed to better time management, a heightened ability to retain facts, more profound comprehension of information taken in, improved multi-step problem-solving skills, and better organization of written down thoughts. For an employee, these skills translate to heightened productivity and unmatched efficiency in the workplace.
Improved Moods and Energy
Sitting for prolonged hours can cause stress and anxiety. One of the reasons why standing desks have become so popular is because of the known association between standing and improved blood flow, energy levels, and brain activity. Incorporating even the slightest movement, such as alternating between sitting and standing, has been associated with the release of serotonin, which affects mood and cognitive function.
A study dubbed Take-a-Stand amongst workers in sedentary jobs in Minnesota had participants reduce their sitting times by a little over an hour each day. The employees displayed immense health benefits and improved moods at the end of the 7-week project. Termination of the project regressed the workers' states of health and energy levels by the two-week mark. As with anything, consistency is key. The standing wave should not be something fun you do when the desk arrives but should be turned into a lifestyle. Once your energy and moods are in check, you can face your work tasks head-on with the best chances of success.
Ergonomics is one of the new corporate buzzwords. Just as everyone is excited about equal pay, diversity and inclusion, and work-life balance, so are they pumped for workplace ergonomics. Office managers today have their work cut out for them. You can no longer spring for the cheapest, on-sale, slightly used office furniture and not expect a blowback. Employees are aware of their right to work in an ergonomic setting, and they are not compromising.
The awkward positions adopted by the body to compensate for poorly designed office furniture are one of the leading causes of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Your body may experience discomfort, pain, and fatigue, which hinder productivity. By simply getting standing desks for your office, you have fewer employees out with injuries, you save on medical co-pays, and you get to sustain employee morale.
Standing Desk Recommendations
Standing desks are a dime a dozen, and you can get a quality desk at almost any budget. You can customize your desk by design, size, shape, color, accessories, and material. If you’re stuck on what to get, here are two of the top recommendations from Flexispot.
The best-selling Kana Bamboo Pro. Get yours in a rectangle or curved desktop, with a working surface range from 48’’ x 24’’ to 78 x 30’’. It comes with 4 different frame options, and you can choose between black, white, or grey. You get the basic keypad for your operations. And besides its sustainable bamboo construction, every purchase of this desk supports Flexispot’s contribution to the One Tree Planted organization.
The second bestseller and a cheaper alternative, the EN1. This is a chipboard desktop variety that comes in a dashing 9-color range. It comes with 5 desktop size options and a 2-stage lifting frame operated by a lite keypad. If you’re on a budget, this desktop is a crowd favorite, and it gets the job done.
The time to make the change is now. Standing desks have not been around for centuries, making them the subject of heavy scrutiny. However, the science speaks for itself, and it shows that these desks are working wonders for office employees. If you're struggling with productivity and can't seem to zero in on what could be wrong, start by standing a little more and reap these proven benefits. Don’t forget to get a standing desk to ensure that you don’t miss a minute more of work.
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