A new study suggests sit-stand workstations appear to have a positive impact on job performance and psychological health.
High levels of sedentary behaviour (sitting) have been associated with an increased risk of chronic diseases (type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers) as well as death and have been shown to be detrimental for work related outcomes such as feelings of engagement and presenteeism (going to work despite illness).
The trial involved 146 office workers based at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust of whom 77 were randomly assigned to the intervention group and 69 to the control group over a 12 month period.
The intervention group were given a height adjustable workstation, a brief seminar with supporting leaflet, and workstation instructions with sitting and standing targets.
They also received feedback on sitting and physical activity, an action planning and goal setting booklet, a self monitoring and prompt tool, and coaching sessions. The control group carried on working as usual.
At the start of the study, overall sitting time was 9.7 hours per day. The results show that sitting time was lower by 50.62 minutes per day at 3 months, 64.40 minutes per day at 6 months, and 82.39 minutes per day at 12 months in the intervention group compared with the control group. Prolonged sitting time was also reduced in the intervention group.
The reduction in sitting was largely replaced by time spent standing rather than moving, as stepping time and physical activity remained unchanged.
The results also suggest improvements in job performance, work engagement, occupational fatigue, presenteeism, daily anxiety and quality of life, but no notable changes were found for job satisfaction, cognitive function, and sickness absence.