In the last few years the market has seen a dramatic increase in sit-stand furniture, from adjustable meeting desks to cycle-stations being deemed "active" solutions to employee health, happiness and productivity.
"We have seen clients adopting the more conventional offerings such as gas lift height adjustable meeting tables and height adjustable workstations," design firm, Marsden Collective, Director Melissa Marsden explains. “Whilst I personally see great potential in the treadmill and cycling desks, adoption of these has been low, with clients seeing them as a bit gimmicky and believing that they will be rarely used.”
For all those who wondered - a study of employees with a sit-stand desk option was presented at ErgoExpo conference in December. The study revealed that on average employees stood for 36% of their day, making approximately two adjustments to desk height each day, with men standing a little more often than women and works between 25-30 and 60-65 stood the most. Other findings of the study determined HDL levels increased while fat mass, overall body weight, blood pressure and back pain decreased; workers also noted they experienced better sleep.
Aside from being costly, other arguments against adjustable furniture include the social resistance that can be affiliated with standing environments. "It feels awkward to stand when everyone else is sitting – so consider design plans for standing meeting areas, " Sara Pazell - Viva Health at Work, Principal Occupation Advisor: Human factors and ergonomics - addresses the concern.
The premise of active design is to have a working environment that encourages movement and activity. Sara Pazell has revealed her tips to implementing successful active design through generating a "moving culture" in the office. Some of Pazell's tips include rearranging convenience items like printers so people have to walk to access them, installing hot desks in standing areas, sit-stand furniture in meeting rooms and holding walking meetings.
While the health benefits of standing in the office seem to obviously outweigh the results of consecutive years of sitting throughout employees' careers, perhaps the answer isn't in standing as much as it is in creating an active environment and promoting a moving culture.
Source: How to Create an Active Workplace