Research from the past decade has continued to confirm that hours of sitting can have dramatic effects on physical health, ranging from decreased metabolic function to increased risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Many individuals with traditionally sedentary work routines are looking to try an ergonomic adjustable desk or a treadmill desk to help combat a variety of ill-effects on general bodily health. With more companies implementing standing desks at work, many employees are finding that there are a number of benefits of standing on mental health as well, from increased focus and energy to greater self-confidence and overall productivity.
1. Creating a Focused Mindset
Whether they have engaged in a trial week on the feet or are dedicated converts, many people report that standing desks can help to focus the mind and keep attention from wandering. Settling into the same position all day and attempting to multitask-manage a variety of assignments can easily lead to procrastination. Shifting position between standing and sitting during the day provides a natural break that helps to keep tasks compartmentalized and improve focus.
2. Energizing the Brain With Oxygen
In addition to breaking up the day, standers report greater concentration on individual tasks, as well as greater energy levels and engagement. Taking time to stand throughout the day helps to regulate the body’s natural metabolic functions, which can reduce post-lunch laze and mid-afternoon fatigue. Increased blood circulation means more oxygen circulating in the brain, keeping the mind sharp and thinking creatively.
3. Increased Productivity Through Power Posing
Recent work in social psychology suggests that taking on a more powerful pose can actually have an immediate effect on your body’s physiology. Standing in a poised, energized position can actually cause a reduction in the hormone that causes greater stress-related reactivity and an increase in confidence-boosting testosterone. Vertical desks naturally position users in a default power pose that can lead subconsciously to greater productivity and motivation to complete consecutive or sustained tasks.
4. Greater Social Confidence and Openness to Challenges
The same power posing that can decrease stress responses and increase productivity can also help to facilitate improved self-esteem for the individual and a greater social dynamism in the workplace. The internal confidence inspired by an authoritative pose is reflected outwardly as well. Co-workers prone to shyness or lack of assertiveness may find that standing at their workstation has an immediate effect on their own ability to communicate well with others.
As with much of social behavior, the simple act of standing up can create a psychological feedback loop that benefits everyone; a confident standing pose tells your brain that you are feeling self-assured, and others will react to your more open body language as well. Some companies even claim that workplace standing can lead to a greater tendency for workers to exchange ideas, share commentary, and take on new tasks.
Not Ready to Take a Stand?
Those who are not quite ready to make the shift to a standing workstation can get some of the same physical and mental health benefits if they learn to incorporate regular movement into the workday. Making sure to take a 5 to 10 minute break each hour to stand or walk can help to keep the body’s metabolism from sinking into lethargy, and refocus and reenergize the mind.