Standing desks as part of a more active workplace – A study?

December 31, 2017

Standing desks as part of a more active workplace – A study?

As Gostand are moving with our parent company into a new 10K Sq ft warehouse and showroom on 2nd Jan 2018, I decided it would be a good idea to run an experiment on Stephen as he will be doing most of the work involved in the move and it will take some time before he is in a cosy warm office again. I’ve made him sit down for the last 3 months so essentially he has established a sedentary work pattern but now he’s going to be using his standing desk constantly and moving around a lot establishing the workshop and warehouse. It’s also cold here in Belfast at the moment, 1-5 deg C, so he will be in a colder environment. Basically he’s going to be colder, more active and sitting down for only 1 hour per day on an active stool.

To make this more scientific we are going to monitor certain things:

  1. His weight
  2. His BMI
  3. His blood pressure (after ½ hour of sitting)
  4. His resting pulse
  5. We are also going to measure his posture weekly with some new equipment we just ordered.

He is going to give us feedback on the following data scoring out of 10 - it’s qualitative and not quantitative data and Stephen will hate this approach – he is a geek – but hey:

  1. Energy levels
  2. Sleep quality
  3. Flexibility
  4. Any discomfort in movement (mainly due to re-activating forgotten muscles)

For his part Stephen has assured me he will keep up his normal dietary and exercise routine. He reckons he consumes 1700-2300 calories daily, drinks 4 bottles of wine a week, six cups of coffee a day and goes to the gym 3 times a week. This will be maintained. Especially, he assures me, the wine.

Is this uniquely about standing desks. No. We already know there is a higher calorie burn from using a standing desk (approx. 200-400 calories per day depending on a number of factors). What we are looking to see in this study is what is the effect of a sit stand desk and a more active working environment. Would we all benefit from not just a standing desk but a wider range of tasks? Does the temperature of our workplace have an effect as well? As with all these human studies we know we have poor control groups and far too many possible variables, actually we have no control group, so we aren’t going to be publishing a scientific paper. All we want to do is see what happens to him and continue to adjust some of the variables in the coming months/years to see what effects they have. Also it’s fun to experiment on the boss and call it work.

We will be publishing weekly data so keep checking back to see how he gets on and if you have any questions just send them to for my attention and I’ll get back to you. Happy New Year everyone and have a great 2018.