Workstations that enable the user to stand while working tend to increase physical activity. A number of startups are now riding this wave, providing an indication of what the standard workplace may look like in the future.
According to a report recently published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, people working at height-adjustable ‘sit-stand desks’ spent about 60 minutes more on their feet during the office day than colleagues working at traditional desks.
‟These sit-stand desks give employees the opportunity to change their position and to follow recommendations for ergonomic working practices. The standing workstation also breaks the rhythm of long hours spent sitting at your desk, which means you can reduce the symptoms of musculo-skeletal discomfort,” claims Lucas J. Carr, an assistant professor at the University of Iowa who acted as lead author on the study. Moreover, it should not be forgotten that physical activity tends to stimulate cognitive functions, and can therefore potentially improve employee performance.
These conclusions have not escaped the notice of the White House, which recently announced a plan to allocate a considerable budget for purchasing sit-stand desks. Recently a desk which allows you to work lying down created quite a buzz on the Internet, and a number of startups are now capitalising on the trend towards performing office work in the standing position. One example is New Zealand-based Refold. This fledgling company has developed a ‘sit-to-stand’ desk made of recycled cardboard. Its special feature is that, weighing just 6.5 kg, it is highly portable and can be put up and taken down at will quite easily. Meanwhile Illinois, US-based InMovement is offering its ‘Elevate Desk Top’ series of adjustable standing desks. These are work surfaces attached to an articulated arm which allows you to adjust them up and down according to the height at which you wish to work. The idea is that this facility encourages you to work standing up and also to change your position as often as you wish during the working day.
The ‘Elevate’ adjustable standing desk by InMovement (Photo: InMovement)
All these initiatives give us an insight into what tomorrow’s workplace will probably look like: a modular space, which can be adjusted to the way the employee wishes to work, ‟fostering a balanced healthy life”, argues Professor Carr.