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More sit-stand desks for the workplace?

11 October 2018

Research conducted by the NHS indicates that workers provided with sit-stand desks reduced sitting times by more than an hour a day and improved their performance.

The sit-stand desk study was published on

Initially given goals to reduce the time they sat while working, the workers said they felt less tired and more engaged.

The Leicester-based research team assessed 146 NHS staff who were mainly involved in sedentary jobs.

Sit-stand desks were given to 77 staff members, with 69 people continuing to use their conventional desks.

Sitting time at work was measured at the study, then at subsequent three-month intervals.

Initially recorded at 9.7 hours per day, sitting times reduced by nearly 51 minutes after three months, more than 64 at six and increased to more than 82 minutes after a year of using the new desking.

In addition to reducing sitting times, which has been judged to be a contributory factor in a number of modern-day health issues, those with sit-stand desks reported improvements in musculoskeletal problems.

Reported in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), the candidates using sit-stand desks reported reduced anxiety and improved quality of life, although no notable changes were found for job satisfaction, cognitive function or sickness absence.

The BBC report on the survey also cited the use of sit-stand desks in Scandinavian countries, said to be "commonplace" in Sweden and mandatory in Denmark for employers to offer these to staff.

Calls for more research to determine the longer-term benefits of the use of sit-stand desks have been issued by the authors.

With increasing focus on staff wellbeing and making workplaces more user-friendly, the latest study will add further to the ongoing debate.

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