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New study finds sit-stand desks almost double productivity 

A US health company tried out standing desks in their call centre with fascinating results

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Whilst sit-stand desks are not exactly new news (we’ve been selling them for just over 25 years), there seem to be an increasing number of studies hitting the headlines demonstrating the benefits of using them.

We have heard that sit-stand desks are good for your physical health, help burn more calories (around 87 more calories per hour of standing) and prevent cardiovascular disease – but how does this translate to business output and productivity? In other words, how can sit-stand desks boost your bottom line?

Recently, researchers at the Texas A&M Health Science Centre School of Public Health followed 167 employees at a call centre to find out if sit-stand desks could be proven to boost productivity.

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Half of the 167 employees were given sit-stand desks to use over six months, with the other half sticking to their normal desks during the same period.

Before you ask 'but surely it’s bad for you to stand all day?' it’s important to also understand that the workers with the sit-stand were able to raise or lower their desks so they could either sit or stand as and when they wished. Workers using these desks sat for about 1.6 hours less per day than their standard desk-using colleagues.

Productivity was measured by the number of successful calls to clients that the health and clinical advisors made per hour. The company earned revenue for each successful call, during which an advisor checked in on a client’s progress in an exercise program, for example, or verified to see that a client was taking proper medication.

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Employees typically made between 400 and 500 calls a month, and the company wanted them to average around two successful calls each hour. Those who had standing desks met that quota, while those who remained seated averaged 1.5 successful calls per hour.

The study found that those who were using the sit-stand desks were 45% more productive that those with standard desks. Productivity was measured by how many successful calls employees completed per hour per day.

Mark Benden, Ph.D., C.P.E., associate professor at the Texas A&M School of Public Health said: “We hope this work will show companies that although there might be some costs involved in providing stand-capable workstations, increased employee productivity over time will more than offset these initial expenses,”

“One interesting result of the study is that the productivity differences between the stand-capable and seated groups were not as large during the first month,” said Gregory Garrett, M.A., a public health doctoral student and a lead author of the study. “Starting with the second month, we began to see larger increases in productivity with the stand-capable groups as they became habituated to their standing desks.”

You can see the full study here.

If you would like to know more about sit-stand desks and how they can benefit staff health and wellbeing, just head over to our active working page.

Alternatively, browse our large collection of sit-stand desks for all budgets.