How standing desks can improve your productivity

It’s time to get to work, but is your super comfortable office chair bringing down your mood, energy level, and productivity? Recent studies say yes.

The study surveyed over 140 people who changed from a sedentary working position into a standing desk workspace. 52% of them said they felt more engaged in their work, and 43% of them reported a massive uptick in performance.

The study was conducted over a full year and decreased average sitting time within the office by nearly an hour per day.

Trethowans
Trethowans

But does this mean you should consider a standing desk for your office? Many aspects of everyday life contribute to your overall productivity. 

Here are four benefits that show how standing desks can boost your general wellbeing and productivity.

Gives a jolt of brainpower

The more you sit, the quicker you kill your brain. According to this peer-reviewed and published study, the thickness of your temporal lobe, responsible for forming spatial cognition and memories, is directly correlated to how often you sit or stand. 

The study examined 35 different healthy adults and found those who stood more often and for extended periods throughout the day had thicker and more intact temporal lobes.

Learning and memory could be affected by those who live a sedentary lifestyle.

And let’s face it; we’re at the office or workplace a healthy chunk of our adult lives. By standing at the office, you initiate stimulation. One result is more oxygen, and therefore nutrients, being sent to your brain, which in turn increases blood flow and circulation. 

It doesn’t take much. Just by standing, you are promoting neurogenesis – literally defined as brain cell creation. By standing, you are creating new brain cells and promoting a healthy living

Improves focus

With enhanced focus comes enhanced productivity. You might not know that 10 minutes is all it takes to affect your blood flow and circulation negatively. If you are a chronic sitter at the office or in the home, you may become quickly lethargic or apathetic.

On the flip side, 10 minutes standing up can have immediate short-term benefits to your focus and productivity. Over 70% of workers who eliminated one hour of sitting time per day reported improved mental focus in their daily lives. It’s easy to see that it’s easier to get the job done effectively and efficiently when you’re more focused.

A groundbreaking study conducted by the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at Texas A&M University, spearheaded by Ranjana Mehta, PhD., found that continued use of standing desks was directly correlated with significant improvements in focus, executive function, and memory in high school students. 

The benefits are similar for working adults. The same research group found that while surveying a call center in Texas, those employees who stood made 23-53% more successful calls than their colleagues in sitting desks. 

Replacing your regular desk and office chair with a standing desk can immediately improve your mental function and focus on the job.

Decreases pain

Back pain, specifically.

Many people are unaware that there is scientific evidence proving how to sit at a desk while in the workplace to minimize pain and damage to your back.

Best practices are particular and include sufficient lumbar support, excellent posture, your chair’s height in relation to your workstation, and where to put your forearms and elbows when typing on the keyboard.

You may be at risk for increased back pain if you can’t keep track of all the constant reminders of how to sit and why.

For those who sit throughout most of the workday, the soft disks between your back vertebrae are being squished. Possibly right now. 

This means your spine is much less flexible and you are at risk for damage. You may be putting between 40-90% more pressure on your back than you do while in an upright position. 

Changing to a standing desk workstation eliminates a good chunk of back pain. Just remember that adjusting to a standing desk may take an adjustment period. Invest in a good pair of comfortable and supportive shoes. A big tip: avoid the high heels at all costs.

Increases mood and energy

On top of increasing blood flow and brainpower, an uptick in focus, and decreases in back pain, standing desks also give employees more energy throughout the day.

In a two-month research study, a whopping 87% of those studied reported an increase in energy of excitement while at the workplace. Overall findings concluded less stress, fatigue, and apathy of those in standing desk arrangement than their sitting counterparts. 

The same survey found that mood and energy levels reverted to baseline levels upon returning to a sitting workspace. Increased time sitting in the same position has been linked to both anxiety and depression. It’s an easy fix. Stand up.

Imagine this: you wake up one morning and are suddenly in a great mood and have more energy than you’ve had in years. You’re able to get out of bed with little to no pain and can exercise without a high risk of injury. 

You’re sharp. There is no fogginess, and your mind is racing with great ideas, opportunities, and excitement. You’re focused and arrive at your workspace, feeling great. 

You set your coffee cup on your standing desk and get ready for the day. Would those benefits allow you to be more productive throughout the day?

There’s only one way to find out.

Alistair Knight is a writer for UpDown Desks, a leading manufacturer and supplier of standing desks and sit stand desk converters whose goal is to improve work productivity for all. In Alistair’s spare time, he enjoys reading, writing, and playing team sports.