Time to stand up? The facts behind the fad.

myHRcareers explores the fad of the standing desk in an interview with Veran Performance HR transformation consultants.For a while now, UK offices have been taking a stand, and it’s nothing to do with Brexit. We’re talking about the rise of the ‘stand up desk’.  

So, where has it come from?
Surprise Surprise, those cool kids in Silicon Valley are responsible. But while the UK catches up by providing ‘an option of a standing desk’, the Californian techies are already taking the craze one step further (like what we did there?).  Not satisfied with simply standing, the average Silicon office is sporting ‘treadmill desks’ and organising ‘walking meetings’. Mark Zuckerberg is even rumoured to be taking interviewees hiking.

Are there facts behind the fad?
Apparently so. Well, research shows that sitting for more than 6 hours a day drastically increases your chances of developing posture problems, cardio-vascular diseases and even cancer. With the average Briton spending 8.9 hours sitting, it may well be time to make a stand.

But risks aside, there are also a huge number of benefits linked to standing that make the trend worth considering.

1. Productivity –  research from the Texas A&M Health Science Centre shows that productivity can be increased by up to 46%, just from standing up. Other studies also suggest an improvement in the ability to remember, link ideas and even typing speed when subjects switch from sitting to standing.

2. Reduced Anxiety – with the rise of work related anxiety this is a benefit worth taking note of. Standing can apparently boost your confidence AND reduce anxiety levels compared to sitting.

3. Increased fitness & Energy – It’s not rocket science that standing up and moving around is better for fitness than sitting down all day’ but improved energy levels? Tell me more! Standing up, and particularly moving around, increases the oxygen getting into your blood, the endorphins make you feel better and just the action of getting up can help you feel more alert.

Well, it all sounds great, and it certainly sounds as though the UK is starting to take note. But what is the reality of standing up?
We asked employees from Veran Performance, the company who power our network!

Here’s what they had to say…

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myHRcareers interviews HR transformation consultants at Veran Performance about the UKs standing desk craze
First things first. How often do you use the standing desk in your office?

50% (5-6 hours)

I’d say I stand once or twice a day for half an hour or so. When you reach that point in the day when you’ve lost enthusiasm for what you’re doing and you need a change of scenery or a boost of energy… that’s the perfect time to stand. When I had back problems I stood all day every day!

I’ve been doing this for about 6 hours per day for the last couple of months

Rarely, if ever

Once a week. I typically stand for 2 hours max,  it depends if I’m wearing heels!

Does the standing desk improve your productivity?

Yes-more focused, quicker, more awake (we assume Christoph was standing up when he wrote this!)

I’m not sure about productivity but I definitely feel more energised and like I have a clearer head. You beat the post-lunch slump and feel positive and proactive I think.

It definitely improves productivity – things seem to flow better – may be something about having a straight back. It gives me a different loftier perspective on things – but have also noticed that it can be difficult to integrate with teams that sit on lower desks

No, it increases the amount of time I spend looking out of the window thinking “my legs really ache”

I certainly feel more alert when I first stand and as long as the desk is at the right height I do feel more productive.

 

What about anxiety? Have you noticed a decrease in Anxiety when you use the desk?

No

I haven’t noticed a decrease in anxiety but I think that’s because any anxiety that I do experience comes from real life stressors which just need to be dealt with. I can imagine how it might boost confidence – especially in a bigger office with more people around you.

Not sure about confidence boost – but that may be about other things

No, worried about falling over

Fortunately I don’t get anxious so it doesn’t have any effect on me!

 

Has it made you feel any fitter, or more energised?

Yes – definitely

It does! I had severe calf muscle burn for first week but then it wore off. Now I notice that I run up the stairs in tube stations far more easily and far more often!

Probably, but who wants to feel energised at work?

 I feel like I am doing my body a favour by standing for a while. Sitting at a desk all day is bad for your health!

 

Will you be joining the likes of Mark Zuckerberg & Victoria Beckham in standing & even walking while you work? Or is that a step too far?

I actually tend to eat standing up when I’m at home too! I think it probably helps with digestion and I often don’t want to slump over a meal! With so much of work depending on communication, we’re lucky that technology allows us to talk and walk any time any place.

I’m totally keen to join this club. I don’t want to end up with a slipped disk with 29 because of the job I do.

It’s literally many steps too far… I am far more likely to increase my level of reclining

 I don’t mind a walking discussion, but it’s impossible to make any notes!

 

All in all, what do you think of the standing desk craze? Fad or here to stay?

I don’t think it’s a fad – I think it’s a step towards better wellbeing at work. The only caveat is that my knees or feet sometimes start to hurt from standing so if you’re gonna try it, you need to be wearing supportive shoes with a solid sole and I think you have to try to have soft knees rather than locking them like I tend to.

I’m a convert….!

I don’t think it’s a fad at all, in fact I’d say it’s very serious stuff. human beings are not made to sit 12 hours a day.

It’s such an important work health related issue. Personally my back problems disappear when I have the opportunity to work at a standing desk and do my regular workout. Without the standing desks at the client I would be in serious trouble by now. Also I am more awake and can think much better on my feet. I am significantly more focused and efficient, probably even more positive and engaged. If I don’t have the opportunity to work at a standing desk I try stand up during phone calls and face to face conversations.  

On a scale of 1 to Amazing, I would give it a 3.7

I like to have the option, although the desks are expensive it is a great investment for Companies to encourage Employees to be a little more active.

That’s their opinion, what’s yours?
Send it into hello@myHRcareers.com. Post it below, or tweet it to @myHRcareers #myHRdebate