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Occasional standing makes employees more productive
A comparative study of the effect of changing body positions (sitting and standing) on the productivity of call centre employees.
- Conducted by: Gregory Garrett, Mark Benden, Ranjana Mehta, Adam Pickens and S. Camille Peres, Department of Environmental & Occupational Health, Texas A&M Health Science Center, and Hongwei Zhao, Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Texas A&M Health Science Center, Texas
- Publication: April 2016
For this study, 167 employees (118 women, 49 men) of a call centre operating in the area of health advice and clinical consultation were divided into two groups. Of the total, 74 individuals worked at adjustable worktables where they could work either seated or standing up (the intervention group). By contrast, 93 individuals worked at conventional desks that can only be used in a seated position (control group). The number of successfully conducted calls per working hour was used to evaluate the employees’ productivity. This evaluation was carried out on every day of the experiment, which lasted for six months. Records were also kept of how often and how long the individual employees sat or stood during their total work time. Finally, the test persons were asked at the beginning and at the end of the experiment to assess their sense of physical well-being.
- During the entire duration of the experiment, the participants in the intervention group were 46% more productive than their colleagues in the control group. This effect remained stable during the course of the six-month experiment.
- The intervention group worked in a seated position during 73% of their working time. On average, the control group worked in a seated position during 91% of their working time.
- After the experiment was over, three quarters of the individuals in the intervention group said that their sense of physical well-being had improved as a result of the opportunity to work in a standing position more often.
Nonetheless, the authors of the study expressly point out that these effects could be smaller in a different working environment. For example, individuals who deal with health issues all day might be expected to take advantage of the opportunity to occasionally work in a standing position more readily than other employee groups.
In the intervention group, some of the participants used sitting/standing tables in combination with a swivel chair for dynamic sitting. Other participants in this group used simple standing desks in combination with the same chair model in a higher counter version. German employers' liability insurance associations strongly reject the use of this constellation as regular workplace equipment. Instead, they recommend the use of sitting/standing tables at workplaces. By contrast, in project rooms that are generally used for short periods of time the combination of standing desks and counter chairs can be beneficial.
Source: You can download the research findings at