Is workplace configuration key to productivity?

Stand up or sit down.

It may sound like a pointless game of Simon Says, but according to a new study, encouraging your workers to stand up more often may help improve their health and productivity. 

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Queensland, pitted two groups against each other – they had the same height workstations, but different work programs. Workers who consistently remain seated in the office are at a higher risk of health risks such as obesity, cancer and heart disease, but moving around during the day might be the answer.

While both groups got the option of standing stations, only one group was offered education on the risks of constantly sitting and given ideas for a more active workplace. 

The members of that group became advocates in the wider office, encouraging their co-workers to spend more time up out of their chairs. They suggested getting up and walking to talk to colleagues instead of emailing, and holding stand-up meetings. 

Researcher Maike Neuhaus said it was difficult to get workers standing, even if there were stations available.

"Sitting habits are ingrained in office routines and we found that workers acting alone may feel awkward when standing during meetings, or at their desk," Ms Neuhaus said. "Workplace advocates or champions can be useful to remind others of the importance of regular postural changes and to ensure management and colleagues are supportive of standing and moving around."

The health and well-being of employees is crucial to productivity in the office, but getting up and moving around is not the only way to improve productivity in the office.

Reducing the time employees spend on menial tasks such as data entry can also free them up for even more opportunity within the workplace, which is why efficiency software that offers workflow automation can be such a positive change to a company's operations.

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