Standing desks increase productivity by boosting energy, enhancing comfort, and increasing blood flow.
These benefits directly affect the ability to focus, reducing the time and effort needed to complete tasks and boosting mood and self-esteem for compound benefits.
Productivity is subjective depending on the task, but standing offers unique benefits that improve working conditions in many situations.
In this article, we explore the ways to measure productivity and how standing desks affect these areas.
We also look at fact-based evidence of these claims and how you should use a standing desk properly to boost productivity.
Measuring productivity is essential in the course of any task for:
- Deciding where you need to invest
- Gauging the effectiveness of these investments
- Making quick decisions to move forward
By measuring productivity, you can understand what works in your business and where you want to see more growth.
Common aspects of productivity affected by standing desks include:
- Time management
- Feedback and outside assessment
- Level of satisfaction
The connection between standing desk use and improvement in these areas is not always direct, but there is still a significant connection.
How Standing Desks Increase Productivity
Standing desks offer plenty of benefits, including increased energy, comfort, and blood flow. Improving these details allows you to:
- Accomplish tasks in less time
- Provide higher quality results
- Dedicate more focus to your tasks
- Take on more work
The magnitude of these benefits varies depending on the situation, but you should expect results in these areas.
Read More >> Benefits of a Standing Desk?
A standing desk is a great tool to prevent the fatigue that comes from sedentary work.
Not only are you less likely to slouch (and maybe fall asleep at your desk), but you benefit from stable energy levels that last throughout the day.
This happens as standing activates different muscle groups and prevents your body from entering a standby mode.
These muscles don’t get as much action when you sit, especially if you lack proper posture, and your energy levels plummet.
Standing mixes things up, preventing issues like the afternoon slump that slows productivity in the second half of your day.
Discomfort scatters your focus, inhibiting your ability to produce quality results. While sitting allows your body to rest, it can also lead to comfort issues such as:
- Chronic lower back and hip flexor pain
- Stiff neck and shoulders
- Numbness in your legs
It is easier to maintain proper posture while standing, and you reduce or bypass the occurrence of these issues.
The key is making sure you use a standing desk properly, or you can end up causing discomfort in other areas.
Improved Blood Flow:
Sedentary work inhibits proper blood flow, especially to your legs and feet, as you compress the vessels where you sit.
Not only does this cause discomfort, but it limits the transfer of oxygen and nutrients necessary for brain function.
When you stand, it allows blood to flow freely and as intended, and habitual standing allows these vessels to expand and create a better baseline of blood flow, even when you sit and work.
Blood fuels many body functions, but it improves productivity by facilitating:
- Executive function
Increased blood flow heightens your critical thinking and problem-solving skills, increasing your ability to note and respond to difficult situations.
Evidence of Standing Desk Impacts on Productivity
There are plenty of studies that support the impact of standing desks on productivity, but the most prominent include:
- Stand-Biased Desks and Academic Engagement by the Texas A&M School of Public Health’s Department of Environment Health and Occupational Health
- Call center productivity study by Taylor & Francis
- American Society of Interior Designers Foundation’s evaluation of standing desks in the workplace
The findings of these studies and scenarios note positive connections between standing desk use and productivity.
Stand-Biased Desks and Academic Engagement (2014):
School-aged children spend large amounts of time working at a desk, providing the perfect opportunity to evaluate the effects of standing versus sitting on productivity.
This study tested 34 high school freshmen to evaluate the cognitive outcome of continued exposure to standing desks at school.
The students were tested once in the fall and again in the spring, allowing them 27 weeks to cultivate the results.
The results showed that continual use significantly improved the executive function and working memory capabilities of the students, increasing productivity and their frontal brain function improved.
Call Center Productivity (2015):
The call center productivity study published by Taylor & Francis is often cited to prove the productivity benefits of standing desks.
Researchers compared the levels of productivity between two call center groups in this study: those capable of using a standing desk and a control group using traditional seated desks.
The study collected 6 months of data from 167 employees, the only variable being the use of standing desks in the experimental group.
American Society of Interior Designers Study (2017):
In a similar study, the American Society of Interior Designers monitored the behavioral changes in office workers that use sit-to-stand desks compared to those using traditional seated desks.
They collected data at 3, 6, and 12 months that supported the idea that workers using the standing desks were more productive, comfortable, and healthy in the environment.
When reflecting on their experience:
- 88 percent of standing desk users reported convenient use
- 65 percent reported increased productivity
- 65 percent reported a positive impact on their health outside of the workplace.
Other noteworthy reflections include claims of better concentration.
Ensuring Standing Desks Increase Productivity
BMJ, a global healthcare knowledge provider, published a study in 2018 that evaluated the impact of standing at work.
This is similar to the evidence listed above, but the SMArT Work Trial focused on providing greater intervention alongside the standing desk option.
- Instructions for sitting and standings targets
- Feedback on sitting versus physical activity
- A goal-setting booklet
- Coaching sessions
- A self-monitoring prompt/tool
The study noted many differences between the control group and the experimental group, including improvements in job performance, work engagement, and quality of life.
Following suit of this study by ensuring proper standing desk use is likely to return the same results and increase productivity.
Read More >> Are Standing Desks Overrated Or Worth it?
Alternating Sitting and Standing Time:
While there are plenty of benefits noted for standing at your desk, it is best to divide your time between standing and sitting.
This prevents you from spending too much time in one position, causing issues such as muscle fatigue or stiff joints.
Start by making small adjustments. If you’re new to standings while working, aim to swap a few minutes from every hour.
Your goal is to reach a 1-to-1 ratio of sitting to standing time.
You can spend a bit more time standing if that seems to boost your productivity, but don’t exceed a ratio of 1 to 2 (sitting to standing).
Maintaining Proper Posture:
Without proper posture, you will not unlock the aforementioned benefits of energy, comfort, and blood flow that boost productivity.
Make sure the desk sits at the right height for your body, allowing you to position your elbows at a 90-degree angle while you use the keyboard and mouse.
Aim for a straight line between your ears, shoulders, hips, and ankles, keeping your spine and knees neutral without slouching.
It may take some concentration in the beginning, but once you commit the posture to memory, you unlock the full benefits of a standing desk for productivity.