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Studies have shown that having workers shift between sitting and standing postures at work increases their productivity and improves their health. The use of height-adjustable types of furniture such as a standing desk or a standing desk converter may allow a worker to vary their posture (from sitting to standing throughout the workday) and to position their work surface at a comfortable level regardless of the posture adopted.
Alan Hedge, Ph.D., of Cornel University conducted a study on the effects of electric height-adjustable worksurface on self-assessed musculoskeletal discomfort and productivity in computer workers. The study found out that people with access to electrically adjustable tables choose to stand at their computers at least 20% of the day. Four out of five people prefer to work at electric, adjustable computer stations that allow them to stand part of the day.
In 2014, Hedge presented his study at Human Factors and Ergonomics Society in New Orleans (his study is published in Cornell Education). The 33 respondents are intensive computer users of an insurance company and a high-tech facility. The participants were provided with an electric height-adjustable work (EHAW) surface to use for a month.
The result shows that more than 80% of the participants preferred the EHAW. Moreover, the average musculoskeletal discomfort index score was 20% lower for the EHAW stations than the fixed-height stations. Apart from the decrease in experiencing some musculoskeletal discomfort, there were substantial decreases in the severity of many upper body MSD symptoms after working at the EHAWs. These changes occurred over a relatively short period of time of 4 to 6 weeks. This suggests that the potential benefits may be even greater after longer time periods of use.
“An EHAW can be helpful to anyone with a back injury who needs to stand for back relief for part of the day and also for anyone who wishes to work in sitting or standing arrangements,” Hedge said.
Hedge added that “there were significant improvements in comfort ratings for all aspects of the furniture workstations with the EHAW’s, and there was almost a unanimous preference for the EHAW arrangement." Finally, he made the conclusion that “the results of this study suggest that there may be a number of benefits associated with using the EHAW’s."
Source: “EFFECTS OF AN ELECTRIC HEIGHT-ADJUSTABLE WORKSURFACE ON SELF-ASSESSED MUSCULOSKELETAL DISCOMFORT AND PRODUCTIVITY IN COMPUTER WORKERS”. Professor Alan Hedge, Cornell University Human Factors, and Ergonomics Research Laboratory