Are sit-stand workstations helping? See what this company’s research found

by Brianna Crandall — June 2, 2017 — As an organization that aims to improve employee health and well-being, Ergotron, Inc., a global manufacturer of digital display mounting, furniture and mobility products, actively engages in research to recognize the impacts of sedentary computer work and educate others on creating workplace cultures of health and movement. Supporting this corporate mission, the company recently released findings from its Workplace Movement Assessment, an internal survey of more than 1,000 employees, spanning seven divisions and over 40 locations of Nortek, Ergotron’s former publicly traded parent company, to better understand the employee experience with traditional and movement-friendly workstations.

According to the findings, 80 percent of employees equipped with a sit-stand workstation and using their computer for 75 to 100 percent of their work — therefore at the highest risk for sitting disease — reduced workday sitting by at least one hour, and 31 percent of the same population reduced sitting by four hours or more.

Respondents represented varying degrees of sit-stand adoption and leadership support. The broad mix provided greater insights around the ability of sit-stand interventions to reduce sedentary behavior in the workplace, as well as the significant differences in movement and perceived health and wellness between those using sit-only desks versus sit-stand workstations.

The results were presented in an educational Webinar in April, Anatomy of a Sit-Stand Company, presented by Betsey Banker, CWWS, CWWPM, wellness manager at Ergotron. According to Banker:

Mounting research indicates the importance of reducing sitting time, and our assessment reaffirms that access to sit-stand workstations is a successful means of getting people standing and moving. Not only that, it appears that embracing a sit-stand work routine can have a positive impact on exercise and other leisure-time activities, an area that hasn’t been as widely studied. The results of this survey give employers and wellness professionals more data to build their own business case for adopting sit-stand desks.

While this research has presented a wide range of insights, Ergotron has identified three takeaways surrounding mood state, employee collaboration, and lessons learned when transitioning employees to sit-stand workstations.

#1: Impact on mind and body

Research has shown that employees engaged in sit-stand workstyles benefit from significant improvements to state of mind. This is reinforced by Ergotron’s assessment, which found that nearly three-quarters of sit-stand users say their workstation has a positive impact on their mood, versus only six percent of positive responses from sit-only users. The icons below represent the percentage of sit-stand users reporting a positive impact on various aspects of well-being.

Graphic on well-being

#2: Sit-stand workstyles benefit all generations in the workplace

Sit-stand interventions can be an effective means of meeting the needs of employees, regardless of generation. More than half (60 percent) of sit-stand users fell between the ages of 40 and 60 years old. Thirty-four percent of sit-stand users fell between the ages of 20 to 40 years old. An overwhelming 94 percent of respondents said their sit-stand workstation reduces their health risks and 70 percent report that their primary motivation is the benefits to health and productivity.

According to Ergotron’s assessment, for young workers especially (those 20-30), implementing movement-friendly workstations positively impacted interaction with others (68 percent) and increased face time with coworkers (62 percent).

Graphic on generational results

While some may think those 60+ would be the least likely to welcome change in their work environment, 50 percent of users in this age group considered themselves early adopters of sit-stand. These results show that integrating sit-stand can be a promising and age-neutral health promotion strategy for the modern, multi-generational workforce.

#3: Sit-stand is easy, but requires education and leadership support

Consistent with other wellness programs and corporate initiatives, education and leadership support were found to be particularly important when adopting sit-stand workstations. Ergotron found that simple steps like support from leadership, education and peer support can be the catalysts for the change.

Graphic on steps to change

Pete Segar, CEO of Ergotron, noted:

If we want our mission to resonate with customers, it’s vital to make sure it is resonating internally. This assessment confirmed many of the positive benefits of using sit-stand workstations to increase workplace activity. Our employees are experiencing improved productivity and mood, increased collaboration, health benefits and more with the use of sit-stand desks, and this confirms the importance of creating an active workplace.

The Anatomy of a Sit-Stand Company Webinar is available to view at no cost with a brief registration. Ergotron has also developed a high-level executive summary with the key findings outlined, which participants will receive after the Webinar. To learn more about Ergotron’s research initiatives visit the company’s Research in Wellness Web page, and for more about Ergotron, visit the company’s Web site.