With searches more than tripling in the US and growing by more than 20% in the UK in the last 12 months, demand for standing desks is on the rise, indicating that more firms and individuals are becoming interested in new ways of approaching health and wellness at work.
According to research by leading project and cost management consultancy, TowerEight, over the last five years, searches for standing desks have increased more than six times in the UK, showing a massive surge in occupier interest.
Taking a Stand for Health
Workspace Lead at TowerEight, Sam Addison, conducted the research with interior design groups Wagstaff and Parcour, adding that: “standing desks were initially dismissed as a curio, a throwback famously used by eccentrics such as Dickens or Hemmingway, but the health evidence now seems indisputably positive and as a result, corporate demand has really picked up.
The move towards more agile working from larger firms also chimes with standing desk demand; office workers are increasingly confident in seeing the office in a different way and demanding more from the space they occupy every day.”
Google data shows that demand peaks at the start of each year as health and wellness campaigns kick in and staff interest in healthier, active workplace options increase.
Mark Shepherd of the Wagstaff Group says, “this is not a trend being driven by creative firms or smaller companies as might be pre-supposed. The wellness agenda and ensuring productivity benefits have become central to occupier strategy, driven by growing awareness of wearable tech and fitness tracking,”
According to a post in Forbes on the biggest workplace trends to expect in 2017, workplace wellness is set to become a huge focus with more companies using programs to ‘lower absenteeism, attract talent and save on healthcare costs’. With the realisation that work stress is a big issue for employees, more firms are looking at ways to create healthier environments.
5 Ways to Increase Wellness at Work
Research shows employees are 38% more engaged at work when they feel their employers care about their wellbeing. With most employees spending more time at their desks than anywhere else, it’s more important than ever for managers to encourage both sitting and standing for optimal health at work.
1. Invest in Ergonomic Seating
Sitting isn’t all bad. Some office tasks are more easily performed when seated and it also provides a moment to rest and shift the load to a different set of muscles. The trick is that, according to whitepaper research, sitting shouldn’t be static. A good chair will allow for a wide range of postures and support the spine better, enabling more motion and the option to recline and shift when needed. Health professionals also say that periodically switching between sitting and standing can reduce fatigue and musculoskeletal discomfort.
2. Encourage Standing
Research by Authority Nutrition shows that almost 1000 extra calories are burned each week by standing at a desk each afternoon. The health benefits are said to include a lowered risk of heart disease, lower blood sugar levels, a reduction in back pain and improved mood and energy levels, not to mention an increase in productivity.
HealthPartners Research Foundation says that employees reported feeling the following when using a standing desk periodically:
• 87% more comfortable
• 87% more energised
• 75% healthier
• 71% more focussed
• 66% more productive
• 62% happier
• 33% less stressed
3. Make Walking a Habit
Whether by holding meetings on the move, actively encouraging employees to walk to each other’s desks more regularly or installing treadmills at work, more companies are recognising the benefits of movement and the role that walking plays in a healthier workplace.
4. Make Posture a Priority
There is a direct association between poor posture and health ailments, including back, neck and spine problems, as well as muscle pain. A workplace consultant can advise on posture by identifying workstation-related issues and providing tailored support recommendations for individuals.
5. Encourage Mindfulness
More employees are being encouraged to practice daily mindfulness at work to reduce stress and anxiety. It also has neurological benefits linked to increased emotional intelligence.
Daniel Moodey, Director at Parcour Consulting, says he sees demand growing even further: “I can only see this rising to a point where the sit/stand solution will become a workplace standard for desking. This will cross over into other areas of the working environment such as meeting rooms where we have already started delivering sit/stand meeting tables.”