In a recent article for Prairie Business, Brenda Ostlie, an employee at a North Dakota-based packaging firm, described the different ways that sitting and standing at work affects productivity. This certainly isn’t a new topic of conversation, as the importance of balancing posture while at a computer is something the media (and this blog) has covered many times.
However, Ostlie references something unique to a certain time of year. She highlights the way that the darker seasons of the winter affect how long an employee is willing to stay engaged with their work. She also said that she prefers standing during the afternoon because it gets darker out earlier and makes it more difficult to stay alert.
The BBC recently reported on the ways that working too late, when the body naturally wants to sleep, has a negative effect both on the employee’s health and the work itself over time. On the bright side, the source quotes Dr. Michael Hastings, who said that even some of the brain damage and cognitive functioning decreases that come with late shifts can be corrected to a certain extent.
“The reversibility is a really exciting finding because no-one else has shown it and no matter how compromised a person may be there’s always hope of recovery,” he said. “If you can keep the sleep-wake cycle as solid as possible you’re unlikely to reverse neurodegeneration, but you can ameliorate one of the consequences.”
Using only a standing or sitting desk might lead to periods where employees feel tired and on the verge of sleep. Offering both sitting and standing options with different kinds of used office seating and desks should help workers stay alert, especially when there is less natural light during the day.