Can you influence people with a software program that tells them when it is time to stand or sit down? Texas A&M University researched this, and the results have been published. One of the findings is that employees make the best use of a sit-stand desk when they get reminders from the WORK & MOVE SitStandCOACH
Do sit-stand desks actually work?
Sit-stand desks are currently very popular in office environments. They ensure that employees change their work posture more often and sit still for fewer consecutive hours. Sit-stand desks are introduced mainly to reduce sedentary behaviour and improve the health of employees. The use of sit-stand desks is a challenge though – after all, how many employees still use them properly, if at all, once the novelty wears off? Does it help to stimulate them with a program on their computer? This is exactly what the American university researched with the WORK & MOVE SitStandCOACH software of the Dutch company BakkerElkhuizen.
229% more alternations between sitting and standing
The total research period was 4.5 months. After a baseline measurement of six weeks, the study into the effects of WORK & MOVE got started. The research was conducted in two different geographical regions of the United States, with a control group of 71 employees and an experimental group of 97 employees (Chevron).
The experimental group received tips via the software of BakkerElkhuizen and alternated more between standing and sitting than the control group, which received no reminders. Both groups ran the WORK & MOVE SitStandCOACH software, but the control group did not receive any sit-stand coaching. On average, the experimental group alternated positions 229% more alternations than those who did not receive any reminders, and 40% of the experimental group alternated between sitting and standing according to the WORK & MOVE sit-stand profile for ‘optimal movement’.
John van Hooft, CEO of BakkerElkhuizen, on the results of the study: ‘We knew that our WORK & MOVE software would stimulate users to make the best use of their sit-stand desk. I am pleased that our hypothesis is now fully supported by scientific research. Our software demonstrably contributes to the mental and physical fitness of knowledge workers. We believe in a preventive organisation-wide approach. By focusing on people and work you create stable, durable employability, vitality, and wellbeing for employees as well as employers. By deploying our practical and scalable solutions we offer organisations the opportunity to achieve durable quality performance.’
The effect of the sit-stand scheme
These findings indicate that computerised reminders can indeed be used to motivate employees to change their behaviour when it comes to alternating between sitting and standing. The effect? The experimental group indicated a significant decrease in physical discomfort, increased focus, and less fatigue – which was actually due to the frequent alternation between sitting and standing, because the total standing time only modestly increased.