Bump up your productivity by 46% at work by standing up

October 17, 2016 Ryan Roberts

(CNN) By now, you have probably heard about the possible benefits of a standing desk: It could help you burn more calories during the day and reduce back and neck pain. But a new study suggests that standing desks could also boost productivity for some employees by a whopping 46%.

Researchers studied the productivity of employees at a call center for a pharmaceutical company over a six-month period after the company purchased standing desks. The employees spent most of their days talking with clients on the phone about health issues, and their productivity was graded based on metrics such as whether they delivered pertinent information and whether callers decided to continue being clients.

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Within a month of getting standing desks, those employees were 23% more productive than their colleagues who continued to use traditional sitting desks. Over the next five months, the boost in productivity rose to 53%, possibly because they got used to working while standing. The average productivity increase over the entire half-year period was 46%.

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"This is actually very encouraging. ... If an individual is trying to sell [standing desks] to an employer, they can look at this study," said Adam Pickens, assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health. Pickens is one of the authors of the study, which was published May 24 in the journal IIE Transactions on Occupational Ergonomics and Human Factors.
If companies take up standing desks, they are probably going to do it for the health benefits, but they also want to make sure workers' productivity will not dip, Pickens said.
A separate survey of the call center employees in the study found that, after several months of having standing desks, workers said they were spending about 70% of their day seated, whereas their peers who did not receive standing desks were spending 90% of their day sitting in a chair.

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