Study on standing desks as part of a more active workplace - Results are in

July 07, 2018

Study on standing desks as part of a more active workplace - Results are in

Well you've not heard from us on this study about using a standing desk for a while as we have been incredibly busy however we now have the final data and some qualitative comments from the boss. Just to re-cap the study was to see how the boss got on with a more active workplace and also standing at his standing desk after we moved into our new factory. So first the data:

1. No weight loss or change in BMI. This surprised us. We thought Stephen would have shed some poundage but not at all. He remained resolutely the same weight and his waist/chest measurements have remained the same. He explained it well. Although his step count had risen seriously and he had often been working in the cold he also said his appetite increased significantly. Constantly starving. So the old adage of "you cannot outrun your fork" seems to be true. 

2. Big increase in step count. With now working in the factory it is not unusual for Stephen to take 10K+ steps per day which is way more than his 3K prior to the new regime. 

3. Blood pressure and resting pulse. With no change in BMI we would have thought these would have stayed the same but we saw about a 4% improvement. We believe this is down to the extra steps and the more active working environment. 

4. Muscle density. This increased by 3.6% and is down to the physical work in the factory we believe. His body fat dropped slightly also. 


Next the qualitative information;

1. Energy levels. Once Stephen got over the fatigue of being on his feet all day he said is energy levels rose hugely and have stayed at that level. He believes that this is due to standing and being more active. He no longer has an afternoon lull and feels more energetic on returning home in the evening. 

2. Stamina levels. The boss's words on this are "off the scale". He says he can just keeping going and going all day. A recent marathon trip to a theme park he said was a breeze compared to 5 years ago when he was desk bound. This is the biggest change he saw while on the study. 

3. Sleep pattern. Again in his own words "off the scale". Although Stephen would have said he slept well often he would have waited 20-30 mins to fall asleep. Now apparently his partner has said she can start counting back from ten. Sleep quality is also hugely improved. 

4. Illness. A couple of bouts of the cold did not seem to stop Stephen this winter past and he has said himself he barely noticed them compared with 3-4 years ago. He puts this down to being more active. 

5. Posture. Leo our in house Sports Therapist has seen a remarked improvement in Stephen's posture. He did have people commenting he looked taller. 

6. Back pain. Stephen noted that his lower back pain has been much reduced even though he regularly lifts 30Kg boxes and stands all day. An old upper spine injury still causes issues but his lower back pain has been far more manageable. 


So all in all what do we conclude from this. Well it would seem from this very small study that the following would be true:

1. Do not purchase a standing desk if you want to lose weight unless you are prepared to combine it with a change in eating habits. Without good dietary discipline we believe it would be hard to achieve weight loss with a standing desk. 

2. Using a standing desk seems to make an improvement however general in the following areas:

Energy levels / Sleep patterns / Stamina levels / Muscle density and tone 

3. In a great number of cases we have reports back from clients that lower back pain is significantly reduced by standing desk usage however we would caution that this will vary from case to case. 

To sum up what we found was largely unexpected. We had expected more weight loss and not the significant rise in stamina and energy levels. However the results are very positive and we will be looking at engaging with customers to do a wider study of standing desk usage.