Sit To Stand Workstations and the Right Carpet Can Increase Productivity and Overall Health

Sit to Stand Workstations: Darwin Fisher Commerical Flooring

Image: Unsplash – Katie Montgomery

Being sedentary is bad for your body, however research indicates that we don’t need to exercise more, we actually need to sit less. Sit to stand workstations offer a healthy solution. Sitting for long periods of time has been linked to a variety of health issues, according to research from the Mayo Clinic. These include increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cancer and a variety of other related conditions including high blood sugar, increased blood pressure, weight gain and problems with cholesterol.

The Mayo Clinic’s James A. Levine, M.D., Ph.D, reports that “the muscle activity needed for standing and other movement seems to trigger important processes related to the breakdown of fats and sugars within the body. When sitting, these processes stall — and your health risks increase. When you’re standing or actively moving, you kick the processes back into action.”

The Sit To Stand Workstation Solution

It’s not surprising that sit to stand workstations are becoming a sought after solution for employees who sit for long periods of time and are concerned about their health.

Elizabeth Zhou, Darwin Fisher’s Project Co-ordinator, made the move from sitting several months ago and has found a noticeable difference in her work day and overall health.

“I have greater concentration and focus and I’ve noticed my productivity has also increased,” says Zhou. “I don’t like sitting. Even at home I rarely sit down. It just feels better to be standing. When you are sitting there’s less inertia to get things done.”


Darwin Fisher: Carpet under Sit to Stand Workstations Matter

Zhou’s Sit to Stand Workstation

What’s Under Your Feet Counts: Carpet

 To make standing even more comfortable there are a variety of anti-fatigue mats available that offer cushioning to help mitigate issues related to tired and achy feet. Zhou finds her mat makes a noticeable difference when she stands for most of the day.

In addition to anti-fatigue mats, there are other important considerations such as installing the correct office carpet. Milliken recommends that offices use carpet with open-cell cushion backing, which is proven to improve comfort while standing and can reduce muscle fatigue by up to 24%. According to Milliken, hardback carpet tiles simply don’t provide the necessary levels of under-foot support and comfort that’s needed for standing work –which can work against sit-to-stand implementation.

Why Excessive Sitting is Bad For You

JustStand.Org, which is dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers of excessive sitting and provides research and support solutions to help reduce sedentary behaviour at work and home, cites mounting research that there is a strong correlation between long periods of sitting and elevated risk of illness or injury. Experts call this “sitting disease.”

Key Research Findings Include

  • Workers who used sit-stand desks were 78% more likely to report a pain-free day than those who used regular workstations, according to a Stanford University back pain study.
  • In 2013, American Medical Association adopted policy recognizing potential risks of prolonged sitting and encouraged employers, employees and others to make available alternatives to sitting, such as sit-stand desks.
  • A 2011 study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that workers equipped with sit-stand workstations mood states improved and prolonged sitting periods were reduced.

Exercise Isn’t Enough

What is most concerning is that research is also proving that you can’t exercise away the harmful effects of sitting disease. The Journal of the National Cancer Institute released an extensive Meta Analysis confirming that effects of prolonged sedentary behaviour is extremely harmful and can increase the risk of colon, lung and endometrial cancers. Even more worrisome is that “adjustment for physical activity did not affect the positive association between sedentary behavior and cancer.”

Why Being Less Sedentary Will Save Your Life

Image: Unsplash – Arek Adeoye

The study states that those who exercise often and regularly meet the daily-recommended levels were at the same risk of those who were sedentary all day. The report results “indicate that the increased risk of cancer seen in individuals with prolonged time spent sedentary is not explained by the mere absence of physical activity in those persons.”

Benefits of Standing More: Sit to Stand Workstations

Zhou says she feels more “energized” in general after getting used to the new standing workstation. It took a few weeks for Zhou to adjust to the standing posture and position. At first, she explains, she did not know how to stand properly. For example, locking her knees instead of standing with them slightly bent. In addition the body has to break the pattern of learned behaviour associated with sitting so muscles need time to adjust.

Why Sitting Can Be Fatal to Your Health

Image: Unsplash – Martins Zemlickis

The system Zhou uses has a hand crank to adjust the height of her workstation and is very quiet. This is helpful when moving from sitting to standing and vice versa.

Now that it’s been several months since moving to the new workstation, Zhou feels she is faster at responding to emails because she feels “ready to go” when already in the standing position. “I alternate between sitting and standing now. I sit when I’m doing a proposal or something very time intensive because I have to really focus. Everything else I do standing and I find that much better.”

When not at work Zhou enjoys running and any activity that doesn’t involve sitting.

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