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Study: Standing and Sitting at Work Improves Health, Happiness of Workers

Findings of HealthPartners and Ergotron project showcase the positive impact a sit-to-stand alternative can have in tackling Sitting Disease in corporate environments

MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The ability to work while alternating between sitting and standing positions allowed employees to feel more comfortable, energized, focused and productive. They were more active and they felt better while doing it.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110801/CL44248 )

JourneyWell by HealthPartners recently completed a seven-week study of what access to the sit-to-stand desk units would mean to employee mood, health and work performance.

Each study participant that received an Ergotron WorkFit Sit-Stand Workstation - which allows the user to easily move between sitting and standing positions - indicated that they felt better as a result of standing for part of the day. Sixty-seven percent said that they felt "a lot better."

Additional findings from the study include:

  • 87 percent of those who both stood and sat said they were more comfortable with the ability to stand
  • 87 percent said they felt more energized
  • 75 percent felt healthier
  • 71 percent felt more focused
  • 66 percent felt more productive
  • 62 percent felt happier

"While these results are in line with common sense expectations, it is exciting to see that there is now an affordable way for corporations to mitigate the sedentary nature of most knowledge workers' routine," said Nico Pronk Ph.D., HealthPartners' vice president for health management and health science officer, JourneyWell. "The data show that when a company pulls together to increase healthy workplace behaviors overall, the results can be significant."

Conducted in partnership with Ergotron, a global manufacturer of digital display mounting and mobility products, the JourneyWell "Take-a-Stand" project was a practice-based evaluation of a sit-to-stand device on prolonged sitting time, selected health-related factors, mood states, and other indices of work performance and behavior.

One of the most significant findings from the project was the reduction of back and neck pain; participants using the Ergotron WorkFit reported a 50 percent reduction in back and neck pain after using the device for four weeks. Additionally, participants in the "Take-a-Stand" project reported a 38 percent reduction in fatigue.

Participants, who used pedometers during the study, also averaged more daily steps during the study and stood an extra 67 minutes per day. The combination of increased steps and increased standing allowed participants to increase the number of calories they burned during a day. In addition, participants had more face-to-face interaction with their co-workers.

Prolonged sitting is recognized as an independent risk factor for a variety of health issues including back pain, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, stroke, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

In modern workplaces, more and more employees have jobs that require extended and prolonged sitting time. When you include time in a car commuting to and from work, there is an increasing percentage of the population that spends more than eight hours sitting in an average day. That much time sitting can turn even adults who exercise into "active couch potatoes."

"The research validates long held assumptions that sit-to-stand computing can improve employee's wellness and productivity while also having a significant impact on an employers' profitability," said Joel Hazzard, president and CEO, Ergotron. "Translated across a larger population, companies can realize higher productivity, lower health care costs and helps foster happier employees."

Priced at less than $400, the WorkFit workstation is a cost effective addition for any office workspaces. Through its Just Stand Uprising program in partnership with several Fortune 500 organizations, Ergotron has found that companies can quickly realize potential return on investment through reduced health care costs and improved employee productivity.

"From a management perspective, it is hard to deny the long-term impact a program like HealthPartners' JourneyWell project can have on a company's bottom line but even more so their employees' health," said Hazzard.

About The Just Stand Uprising

In 2010, Ergotron launched the Just Stand Uprising to educate knowledge workers about the dangers of "sitting disease." The Uprising website, www.juststand.org, provides resources to help people make healthier workstyle choices like a Caloric-Burn Calculator, white papers, videos, key research, news, and more.

About Ergotron:

Founded in 1982 by VESA FDMI standard author and visionary Harry Sweere, Ergotron is a global manufacturer of digital display mounting and mobility products, headquartered in Saint Paul, Minnesota, with sales efforts in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, and Singapore. Ergotron's products have been improving the human interface with digital displays for over 25 years. The company's history of innovation and passion for differentiation is evidenced in over 37 patents and a growing portfolio of award winning products for computer monitors, notebooks, and large flat panel displays and TVs. Ergotron products enhance computing wellness, improve workplace productivity and create business process efficiencies, wherever and whenever they're used. Incorporating Ergotron's Constant Force lift and pivot motion technology, wall and desk mount arms, stands, mobile carts, pivots and vertical lifts require less effort to achieve more ergonomic motion, improving the user's experience when viewing any digital display for work or entertainment. For more information about Ergotron products, visit http://www.ergotron.com or call 1-800-888-8458.

About JourneyWell

JourneyWell (www.journeywell.com), a HealthPartners wellness solution, offers health and wellness solutions for employers and health plans to help manage the health of an entire population, one individual at a time. After 15 years of successful evidence-based, results-driven health and wellness program innovation and many successful partnerships, HealthPartners created JourneyWell to extend the reach of its services direct to employers nationwide.

About HealthPartners

Founded in 1957, the HealthPartners (www.healthpartners.com) family of health care companies serves more than 1.36 million medical and dental health plan members nationwide. It is the largest consumer-governed, nonprofit health care organization in the nation providing care, coverage, research and education to improve the health of members, patients and the community. HealthPartners is the top-ranked commercial health plan in Minnesota and is also ranked 19th in the nation according to NCQA's Health Insurance Plan Rankings 2010-11 - private.

SOURCE Ergotron

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