Dear Mr. or Ms. Councilman,
In the attachment, you can find the report on “Recommending Stand Up Desks for Employees.” This report suggests the solution for the problem of how to improve the working environment of employees and increase their productivity.
The report consists of a detailed analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of stand up desks in the office. More precisely, I analyzed how utilization of standing desks affects the physical and mental health of employees as well as their productivity and the overall satisfaction with the job and the working environment. In addition to that, the paper examines the possible risks from the installation of standing desks and discusses how to mitigate them. The conclusion of the report contains five direct recommendations on how to implement the suggested solution. The proposal focuses on how to persuade team members to shift from traditional desks to standing ones and keep them motivated to use new desks.
I highly appreciate you taking this time to review the recommendations proposed in the enclosed report. I look forward to hearing the feedback on the provided guidance and am willing to assist you with implementing the suggested solutions.
Purpose of the Report
The present report is dedicated to the issue of installing stand up desks in the office. The paper analyzes how standing desks could improve employees state of health and increase their productivity during working hours. Additionally, the report discusses the risks associated with implementing these changes at the workplace and guides how to mitigate them. Finally, the report lists several reasons why decision-makers should implement the suggested solution and five recommendations on how to facilitate the installation of stand up desks.
The critical finding made by the author of the given report is that the sedentary lifestyle of employees has a strong positive correlation with their low productivity, poor health, and dissatisfaction with their job. Besides, the analysis of several academic articles reveals that expenses on the purchase of stand up desks pay off within a year because of the increased productivity of staff members. Another essential inference is that the decrease of time spent sitting will decrease employees spending on healthcare services and employers expenditures on medical leaves of sick staff members.
The author highlights the following recommendations:
- Implement the change gradually.
- Encourage the volunteers to replace the traditional desk with a standing one.
- Educate employees on the adverse effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
- Motivate employees to spend more time standing.
- Receive feedback from employees.
The issue of how to increase employees productivity and satisfaction with the workplace has always been topical for the administrative personnel of any organization. Even though such methods as teambuilding, financial incentives, promotions, and various training courses for personal and career development are helpful, they do not address the problem of employees well-being. More precisely, an average office worker spends approximately 80 percent of the working day sitting in front of the computer (Carr et al., 2016). Since it is common knowledge that physical activity is a keystone to physical and mental health and productivity, managers should find a way to tackle excessive sitting and low physical activity of the subordinates. One of the most effective ways to solve this problem is to involve sit-stand desks at the workplace. The present paper analyzes this solution and explains what its implementation will be beneficial not only for employees but also for the entire organization.
Stand Up Desks for Employees
Explanation of the Problem
As it has been already mentioned in the introduction, office workers spend almost all day sitting at the table. The most apparent problem of such a sedentary lifestyle is that it harms the physical well-being of employees. Numerous research papers prove that people with low rates of daily physical activity are more likely to suffer from carotid artery stenosis, cancer, diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis, problems with knees and posture (Caruso et al., 2017; Park et al., 2020). In addition to that, a sedentary lifestyle is one of the causes of depression and cognitive deficits (Park et al., 2020). From this, it could be inferred that organizations unconsciously destroy the lives of the staff members. What is more, illnesses that appear as the result of the sedentary lifestyle harms companies’ performance. Employees request sick leaves, are absent at the workplace and work not as productively as they could if they were healthy.
Apart from the significant physical and mental health damage, the tradition to sit at the workplace reduces the creativity, productivity, and motivation of staff members. The study conducted by Ahtinen, Andrejeff, and Vaananen (2016) reveals that a sedentary lifestyle significantly decreases the quality of workers performance and their ability for out-of-the-box thinking. The scholars also claim that the presence of even slight physical activity at the workplace makes employees generally happier and more satisfied with their job (Ahtinen et al., 2016). If employees are in a good mood, have no critical health problems, and are satisfied with what they do, it is highly beneficial for the company as well.
To sum up, the problem investigated in this essay is that the prevalence of traditional sitting desks in the office has a strong negative influence on employees’ behavior, performance, and well-being. This, in turn, harms the productivity of an organization. This way, it is necessary for a manager to develop a way that will help tackle the issue described above. Fortunately, this problem could be mitigated through the remodeling of a workplace and installation of stand up desks.
The Rationale for the Suggested Solution
There are several reasons to justify the installation of stand up desks in the office, including health benefits for employees and better performance outcomes. First of all, the efficiency of employees performance heavily depends on their physical and mental well-being. According to the analysis conducted by Sheehan and Ammar (2018), the majority of the examined staff members are satisfied with the experience of using stand up desks and mark positive effects on their state of health. At the same time, stand up desks cannot replace full-fledged workouts and, hence, do not facilitate the reduction of the body mass index and waist circumference (Bodker et al., 2021). Despite this fact, a slight increase in daily physical activity through the utilization of stand up desks instead of traditional ones positively influences the cardiovascular system and, consequently, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. This way, a company’s administration should not treat stand up desks as a cure-all; instead, the well-being of office workers who use stand up desks is significantly better in comparison with the workers who sit the whole day.
One might suppose that stand up desks might decrease workers’ productivity because standing all day long requires more energy. However, this view was refuted by the study of Dutta, Walton, and Pereira (2019) based on the observation of over 15 participants for one year period. During these twelve months, the length of time spent sitting decreased by 22 percent. Employees note that stand up desks do not decrease their productivity but, on the contrary, contribute to the “greater task engagement” (Dutta et al., 2019; Finch, Tomiyama, and Ward, 2017, p.1). The observed claim that stand up desks contribute to the increased communication between team members and “allowed them to share monitors more and pose ad-hoc questions to colleagues more easily” (Dutta et al., 2019, p. 279). What is more, it was scientifically proven that the staff members who utilize stand up desks are almost twice as productive as their seated colleagues (Garrett et al., 2016). Additionally, as it was proved by Garrett et al. (2016), stand up desks not only do not harm productivity but, on the contrary, increase it. From the written above, it could be inferred that the installation of stand up desks will positively affect office-based sedentary workers.
To conclude this section, it should be noted that in the academic community, there is no common opinion on the necessity to substitute sitting desks with standing ones. Some scholars argue the positive effects are insignificant, whereas others claim that stand up desks make workers healthier and more productive. Still, the scales outweigh the supporters of standing desks. Howbeit, the installation of stand up desks requires additional expenditures and raises several other concerns on how to force employees to use them. The following section addresses the criticism of stand up desks and suggests several ways on how to mitigate possible risks associated with the installation of a new type of desk in the office.
Possible Risks and Ways to Mitigate Them
The first risk deals with the necessity to persuade the employees to shift from their status quo. Middle-aged adults got used to the sedentary lifestyle and, hence, the majority of them see no need in stand up desks. At this point, it should be noted that this change should be implemented gradually, and the managerial personnel should develop ways to encourage staff members to utilize stand up desks. For instance, a company could organize an educational workshop to inform employees of all the existing benefits of stand up desks and this way motivate them to try new kind of workplace. Besides, employees should not be forced to stay all day long. Instead, they could begin by standing at least one hour per day to estimate how comfortable it is. Finally, the administrative staff members should be the leaders of the change and should show on their own example that work standing up is a good idea. However, the decision to shift from a sitting desk to a standing one could not be imposed from above, and if an employee is pregnant or has some health issue that makes standing uncomfortable, he or she should not be forced to do it.
The second risk deals with the fact that stand up desks are not flawless. For example, the study conducted by Leavy and Jancey (2016) reveals that some office workers might find stand up desks unstable, unwieldy, and even preventing them from performing some tasks. Indeed, it is the undeniable truth that stand up desks take up more space in comparison with sitting ones. Nonetheless, the modern market provides consumers with a broad choice. For instance, some stand up desks consist only of a table, whereas others include an installed chair or a pole with a seat to sit and stay at the same time. In other words, since nowadays exist a great variety of desks of different designs, managers could compare several options and choose the most suitable one.
The third reason for concern deals with the price of stand up desks. The average price of a smart standing desk that could be regulated to an employee’s height and turn into a sitting desk is about $900. Furthermore, the installation of stand up desks might require the additional purchase of Darma cushions that will make half-standing more comfortable. Even though it is not cheap, the expenses will pay off. According to Munir et al. (2020), the return on the investment in stand up desks is more than 250 percent. Therefore, the annual net savings will be about $2300 per person. These savings result from the increase in employees productivity that was proved by numerous studies mentioned above. Additionally, as far as stand up desks are highly beneficial for physical health, their installation is cost-effective because it will lead to the reduction in the number of sick leaves, while employees will also benefit from the decreased long-term health costs.
One could also argue that the increased standing time in the office will lead to the increased sitting time during the breaks and non-working time. Nonetheless, the company cannot influence the personal life and choices of employees. It is enough for the managerial personnel that the workers will spend more time standing in the office. This will increase the efficiency and productivity of their performance during the working hours.
To put it briefly, the installation of stand up desks might provoke certain concerns associated with their price, effectiveness, and way of encouraging employees to use them. Notwithstanding the risks and doubts described above, the game is worth the candle. The expenses of the purchase of new desks will be atoned by increased productivity of workers and the decreased frequency of their absence in office due to illnesses. At the first stages of implementation of this change, the administrative staff members should communicate with the subordinates and discuss their experience of using stand up desks. Still, after a while, employees will get used to combining sitting with standing and will be grateful for introducing this innovation.
Presentation of the Solution to a Decision-Maker
Stand up desks are becoming more popular each year due to increasing employees productivity and satisfaction with the workplace. The analysis of scholarly articles shows that the installation of stand up desks is not a whim but a profitable investment into the company’s future. First of all, the administration of our company commonly pays attention to the well-being of staff members. From this perspective, it is necessary to add more physical activity into the sedentary lifestyle of employees because it will help them to protect the health of the cardiovascular system, joints, and spine. The reduction of the time spent sitting by employees will significantly improve the firm’s public image and show others that the well-being of employees actually means a lot for us.
Secondly, in spite of the relatively high costs of stand up desks, the suggested solution is highly advantageous for the company. The expenses on new desks now will lead to more than 200 percent returns by the end of the year. Without a doubt, it is pricy to purchase 30 new stand up desks, but we could start from 10 and then gradually introduce this change to the rest of the office workers. The experience of other companies that have already implemented this change markedly demonstrates the sharp rise in the productivity and engagement of the staff members. It will be easier for them to share screens and move around the room to discuss questions because they do not have to make an effort to stand up from a chair if they are already standing.
Decision-makers should agree to implement the suggested solution because it will change a lot in the company for the better. Installation of stand up desks is not only about following the trends and keeping up with the times, but also about showing respect for the employees and taking care of them. It is rational to invest in stand up desks and the required equipment because the expenses will return from increased sales.
To conclude the report dedicated to the installation of stand up desks in the office, it is possible to highlight the following recommendations:
- The change should be implemented gradually to avoid resistance and dissatisfaction on the part of employees. It is recommended to introduce the change to the managers first because this way, the subordinates will be motivated by the example of their leaders.
- The substitution of traditional desks with standing ones could start on a voluntary basis. More precisely, the first ten people who agree to try to stand up desks might be awarded a prize. It is expected that the volunteers will share their positive feedback with the coworkers and, hence, encourage them to use stand up desks as well.
- Before installing stand up desks in the office, it is recommended to conduct one or two educational seminars. During these classes, the specialists and the executives should show how to use desks and explain to staff members all the benefits of the new workplace.
- It is necessary to develop a system of non-monetary rewards to keep employees motivated to increase the time they spend standing. It is possible to trace the time that staff members stand during the working day to create a ranking that will be updated weekly. This way, the employees will gain a sense of competition that will motivate them to stand more than sit.
- The final recommendation that will be beneficial for the implementation of the given solution is to communicate with the average employees on their experience of using stand up desks and generally increased standing time. The feedback retrieved from the employees will help fix the possible issues and grant them a sense of importance for the company.
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Bodker, A., Visotcky, A., Gutterman, D., Widlansky, M. E., & Kulinski, J. (2021). The impact of standing desks on cardiometabolic and vascular health. Vascular Medicine, 26(4), 374–382. Web.
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