Stand-capable workstations offer office employees an alternative to sitting in their chairs all day, as they allow for work to be conducted while seated or standing. This can lead to substantial reductions in daily seated time, reducing risks associated with high levels of sedentary behavior such as mortality, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. A limited number of studies have been conducted on standing habits at these workstations, with findings showing that reductions in seated time ranges from 0-2 hours.
Two types of stand-capable workstations exist: a sit-stand workstation that allows the user to adjust their desk surface between seated and standing height, and a stand-biased workstation that utilizes a desk set at standing height and a raised height chair, in addition to a footrest for increasing comfort while standing. The goal of this research was to determine standing habits of stand-capable workstation users in three different office settings, and to test the hypothesis that users of stand-biased workstations maintain their standing habits over time better than the sit-stand workstation users who may experience a decrease in standing habits after the novelty of their new workstation wears off.
Utilizing pre- and post- move surveys with employees at a pharmaceutical company that were moving into an open seating office plan with sit-stand workstations available, low rates of standing behavior were found. On the contrary, a study at Texas A&M University with employees that requested conversion to a stand-biased workstation found that employees averaged standing for approximately half of the time they spent at their desks. A study at Healthways allowed both subjective and objective measurement of employees that used each type of stand-capable workstation, and found that differences in standing habits observed initially between the two workstations declined over a six month follow-up period. This study also showed that those in sit-stand and stand-biased workstations sit approximately 1-2 hours less than their peers working in traditional seated workstations. Studies revealed comfort is a common motivator for standing behavior, and no evidence was found to indicate decreases in standing habits over time in the A&M and Healthways study populations.
- Benden, Mark Associate Professor and Head