All rise! Height-adjustable desks can reduce workplace sitting by over an hour a day

Posted: Thu, 1 Sep 2022 12:30

All rise! Height-adjustable desks can reduce workplace sitting by over an hour a day

Researchers at the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Leicester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) – a partnership between Leicester's Hospitals, the University of Leicester and Loughborough University –have developed a programme that, when paired with a height-adjustable desk, can reduce the time people spend sitting by over an hour.

The team tested their 'SMART Work and Life' programme – training for workplace champions, educational resources, ongoing behaviour change support and a set of apps and software to monitor sitting time, – which has been developed for people who spend a lot of their day sitting down, in six local authorities across Leicester, Greater Manchester and Liverpool.

Over 750 desk-based workers were put in one of three groups. The first group were given the SMART Work and Life programme alone; the second group received the SMART Work and Life programme and a height-adjustable desk, so they could sit or stand while working at their computer. A third group acted as a control with neither the SMART Work and Life programme nor the height-adjustable desk.

Researchers found that compared to the control group, people using the SMART Work and Life programme sat for 22 minutes less per day. For participants using both the SMART Work and Life programme and a height adjustable desk, this tripled to over an hour more time spent on their feet across the working day.

Desk-based workers spend around 70 per cent of their workday sitting down and many continue to spend time sitting once at home, with data showing they accumulate 9 to10 hours per day of sitting. Sedentary behaviour in the workplace also affects job performance and is associated with higher levels of presenteeism.

Dr Charlotte Edwardson, Associate Professor of Physical Activity Sedentary Behaviour and Health at the University of Leicester, and lead author of the paper, said: "Our results suggest a combination of education, motivational resources, peer support and standing desks has the greatest effect on reducing sitting in the workplace.

"These results are a major step in providing evidence-based tools to reduce sedentary behaviour and improve health in the workplace."

To read more on the programme, including a link to the published journal article follow the attached link below. Additionally, if your workplace wants to improve the health of staff and needs support, see our dedicated Wellbeing at Work page here.

(Source: NCSEM)

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