ArticleLiterature Review

The impact of sit-stand office workstations on worker discomfort and productivity: A review

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Abstract

This review examines the effectiveness of sit-stand workstations at reducing worker discomfort without causing a decrease in productivity. Four databases were searched for studies on sit-stand workstations, and five selection criteria were used to identify appropriate articles. Fourteen articles were identified that met at least three of the five selection criteria. Seven of the identified studies reported either local, whole body or both local and whole body subjective discomfort scores. Six of these studies indicated implementing sit-stand workstations in an office environment led to lower levels of reported subjective discomfort (three of which were statistically significant). Therefore, this review concluded that sit-stand workstations are likely effective in reducing perceived discomfort. Eight of the identified studies reported a productivity outcome. Three of these studies reported an increase in productivity during sit-stand work, four reported no affect on productivity, and one reported mixed productivity results. Therefore, this review concluded that sit-stand workstations do not cause a decrease in productivity.

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... Some previous studies have found a positive effect on lower back pain [29][30][31] and shoulder, upper and lower back pain [32], which has been explained by postural variability being linked to decreased short-term discomfort at the end of the day; while other studies including sitstand desks have not reported these positive effects. A recent systematic review concluded that working at a sit-stand desk is likely to reduce overall bodily and lower back discomfort, compared to working at a sitting-only desk, but the small number of studies and mixed findings prevent a definitive conclusion [33]. The potential for injury trade-offs as a result of switching to sit-stand workstations from sitting-only desks also are unclear [33]. ...
... A recent systematic review concluded that working at a sit-stand desk is likely to reduce overall bodily and lower back discomfort, compared to working at a sitting-only desk, but the small number of studies and mixed findings prevent a definitive conclusion [33]. The potential for injury trade-offs as a result of switching to sit-stand workstations from sitting-only desks also are unclear [33]. ...
... While not significant, self-report results suggest upward trends for other work performance related perceptions in the intervention group including higher ratings of looking forward to going to work every day, being able to concentrate on work, and efficiency at work. These results are consistent with previous research finding equivocal evidence about productivity impacts of sitstand workstations [33]. For example, one sit-stand workstation study reported no changes in objective productivity indicators among customer care call centre workers [9], while another study in office staff of a health promotion unit found improved perceptions of productivity after using a sit-stand desk at work [6]. ...
Article
Background: High levels of sitting are associated with increased risk of adverse health outcomes, including chronic disease. Extensive sitting at work is common, hence organisations should provide options to employees to reduce prolonged sitting. Objective: To assess the efficacy and acceptability of a co-designed intervention to increase standing and reduce sitting in a public-sector office. Methods: Forty-six adults participated in the quasi-experimental study (30 intervention; 16 control). The intervention involved providing sit-stand desks, prompts, workshops, and information emails to assist behavior change. Participants wore a thigh-mounted Actigraph GT3X+ for five working days and responded to an online questionnaire at baseline (BL), 6 (T1) and 13 weeks (T2) post intervention. Results: Inclinometer-measured proportion of time standing increased in the intervention group from 14% (baseline) to 28% (T1) and 27% (T2) (67 minutes more standing over an 8-hour workday). Intervention participants reduced sitting time from 79% (BL) to 63% (T1 and T2), (80 minutes less sitting over an 8-hour workday). The control group showed no changes. The program was highly recommended (94%), and perceived to support behavior change (81%). Conclusions: This Move More, Sit Less intervention appears to be efficacious and acceptable. Future interventions should be co-designed to ensure culturally appropriate components and higher acceptability.
... Previous laboratory studies have demonstrated that cognitive function and motor efficiency are not impacted by the use of sit-stand or active workstations [15][16][17]. Several recent literature reviews concluded that sit-stand workstations do not result in decreased productivity [14,18]. While promising, laboratory studies typically use surrogate measures that lack practical office performance applications and hence suffer from this inherited limitation [18]. ...
... Several recent literature reviews concluded that sit-stand workstations do not result in decreased productivity [14,18]. While promising, laboratory studies typically use surrogate measures that lack practical office performance applications and hence suffer from this inherited limitation [18]. 1051-9815/19/$35.00 ...
... It registered computer activities, such as time using computer, keystrokes, word count, and keyboard errors. These computer activities have been used as indicators of performance for data entry tasks [4,18,21,22]. For each of the four test days, aggregated daily usage summaries were extracted. ...
Article
Background: Sit-stand workstations have been introduced in the workplaces to address the adverse sedentary effect inherent to typical sedentary office jobs. Existing field or laboratory studies showed that standing interventions are not a detriment to work productivity or performance. The effect of gradient standing proportion on these measures is still unknown. Objective: The current naturalistic pilot study aimed to examine the controlled sit-stand ratio effect on office performances. Methods: Eleven musculoskeletal symptom free office employees from a large government agency volunteered in this study. They were all equipped with electronic sit-stand desks. Computer usage (N=11) and productivity (N=3) were collected using software and organizational metrics, respectively, for four typical workdays of four different sit-stand ratios (7 : 1, 3 : 1, 2 : 1, and 1 : 1). Results: There were no statistically significant schedule effects on any computer usage measures. While not significant, time using computer, keystrokes, word count, and keyboard errors were all less as standing time increased. Sit-stand ratio and job productivity did not observe a clear cause and effect relationship. Conclusions: The amount of time spent standing in typical office jobs might not affect computer usage and productivity. Further study with a larger sample is needed for a stronger evidence.
... Productivity measures are relatively common in worksite-based, sedentary behavior studies; reviews have identified 20 studies that include some measure of productivity [14][15][16]. Some worksitebased intervention studies that addressed sedentary behavior have shown no effect on productivity [17,18], while others suggest an increase or perceived increase in productivity [19,20]. ...
... Reviews of this body of evidence suggest that, overall, interventions to reduce sedentary behavior do not significantly impact productivity. However, this body of research also suggests that additional investigation of the relationship between workplace sedentary behavior and productivity is warranted as the association between these two variables has not been consistent [14][15][16]. ...
... Our study's results are similar to those found by Puig-Ribera and colleagues, which also indicated no relationship between these variables among employees at a Spanish university [22]. Collectively, these studies may help to explain why workplace interventions that reduce sedentary behavior do not typically result in changes in productivity [14][15][16]. Moreover, these data may suggest that researchers as well as employers should not expect changes in productivity as a result of interventions that effectively reduce workplace sedentary behavior. ...
Article
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Reducing sedentary behavior in the workplace has become an important public health priority; however, some employers have expressed concerns regarding the potential for reduced productivity if employees are not seated while at work. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the relationship between workplace sedentary behavior (sitting time) and work productivity among full-time office-based employees, and further to investigate other potential factors associated with productivity. A 19-item online self-report survey was completed by 2068 government employees in Kansas. The survey assessed workplace sedentary behavior, work productivity, job satisfaction, and fatigue. Overall, office workers reported high levels of sedentary time (mean > 78%). The primary results indicated that sitting time was not significantly associated with productivity (β = 0.013, p = 0.519), but job satisfaction and fatigue were positively (β = 0.473, p < 0.001) and negatively (β = −0.047, p = 0.023) associated with productivity, respectively. Furthermore, participants with the highest level of sitting time (>91% of the time) reported lower job satisfaction and greater fatigue as compared with the lowest level of sitting time (<75% of the time). Taken together, these results offer promising support that less sitting time is associated with positive outcomes that do not seem to come at the expense of productivity.
... Other strategies to reduce sedentary behavior include increasing standing and walking time at work. In a systematic review of fourteen studies, researchers identified seven studies that recorded either local, whole body, or both local and whole-body discomfort scores in sedentary workers; six of the seven studies showed that sit-stand work led to decreased trends in discomfort [12]. A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials also found that walking mitigated chronic LBP and discomfort [13]. ...
... In addition to the frequency of posture changes [8][9][10][11] and time spent standing or walking [12][13][14], moving while sitting, such as fidgeting or shifting in one's chair [10,[15][16][17][18] has also been recommended to mitigate LBP related to prolonged sitting. Of interest is the relationship between these various movement behavior strategies including fidgeting, posture transitions and time spent in different postures and MSD. ...
Chapter
Background: Increasing standing and walking time has been proposed to mitigate the risk of musculoskeletal discomfort (MSD) associated with prolonged sitting. However, the duration, frequency, and timing of standing and walking required to reduce risk of MSD is less understood. Objective: The primary aim of this cross-sectional study was to 1) understand the relationship between daily movement patterns and MSD among office workers; and 2) determine whether daily movement patterns and MSD differed between those with different sitting strategies during prolonged work. Methods: 26 participants completed baseline questionnaires and wore an inertial measuring unit to quantify posture and movement over a 48-h period, stratified by work and leisure time. Participants were then classified as “breakers” and “prolongers” based on breaks taken during a 2-h sitting bout. The relationships between posture, movement and MSD were assessed using Spearman correlation coefficients, two-sample t tests, and Mann Whitney U tests, then stratified by and compared between breakers and prolongers. Results: Step count(r² = −0.26), standing time(r² = −0.39), and walking time(r² = −0.31) were negatively associated with MSD, whereas sitting duration was positively(r² = 0.20) associated with MSD; posture, activity, and MSD correlations were similar between work and leisure time. Prolongers(10.55(1.28)) spent more hours sitting compared to breakers(9.01(3.02)) and tended to have more overall MSD(p < 0.05). Conclusion: Increased time spent standing and walking while decreasing sitting time during both work and leisure time may help reduce risk of MSD. Those who did not change posture during the work bout tended to spend more time sitting and less time standing and walking during both work and leisure time. Future interventions should consider encouraging increased standing and walking during both work and leisure time to reduce MSD among office workers.
... In recent years, use of sit-stand workstations (SSWs) which enable office workers to alternate between sitting and standing at work, show promise in reducing occupational sedentary behaviors. Reviews suggest that SSWs reduce sitting time and increase standing time (Karakolis and Callaghan, 2014;Karol and Robertson, 2015), attenuate musculoskeletal discomfort and pain (Agarwal et al., 2018), and minimize self-reported fatigue (Neuhaus et al., 2014), without impacting productivity in computer-based work (Chambers et al., 2019;Kar and Hedge, 2016;Russell et al., 2016). However, replacing a proportion of sitting time with intermittent bouts of standing does not increase physical activity significantly or elevate energy expenditure substantially above the sedentary behavior threshold of 1.5 Metabolic Equivalents (Tudor-Locke et al., 2014;Júdice et al., 2016;Burns et al., 2017). ...
... Given the negative health consequences associated with occupational sedentary behaviors, there is a critical need to investigate the efficacy of sit-stand-activity interventions that reduce sitting time and increase physical activity in computer-based work. The adoption of SSWs shows evidence of attenuating musculoskeletal discomfort and fatigue, without negatively impacting productivity (Karakolis and Callaghan, 2014). However, physical activity in sit-stand work is not significantly higher compared to seated-only work (Chambers et al., 2019). ...
Article
Objective Compare musculoskeletal discomfort, productivity, postural risks, and perceived fatigue for a sit-stand-walk intervention between two workstation configurations – one, individually customized for office workers according to ergonomic guidelines (Ergo-Fit); another, self-adjusted by office workers according to their preference (Self-Adjusted). Methods 36 participants performed a 60-min computer typing task in both configurations using a within-participants, counterbalanced design. Musculoskeletal discomfort and perceived fatigue were reported through surveys; productivity was operationalized by typing speed and typing error; postural risks were assessed by RULA for seated work, and REBA for standing work. Results Musculoskeletal discomfort and perceived fatigue did not vary significantly between configurations. Postural risks for seated and standing work were significantly lower for Ergo-Fit configuration; productivity was significantly higher for Self-Adjusted configuration. Conclusion Use of Ergo-Fit configuration for a sit-stand-walk intervention can facilitate postural transitions and increase physical activity, while enabling neutral postures in seated and standing work to minimize postural risks.
... Regarding the use of sit-to-stand workstations, reviews showed mixed findings regarding kinematics [69], physiological health [69,70], (low back/ musculoskeletal) discomfort [69,[71][72][73], mood states [70] and energy expenditure [70,74]. Productivity/performance [70,71,[73][74][75] and sick leave [73] were not decreased by the use of sit-to-stand desks. ...
... Regarding the use of sit-to-stand workstations, reviews showed mixed findings regarding kinematics [69], physiological health [69,70], (low back/ musculoskeletal) discomfort [69,[71][72][73], mood states [70] and energy expenditure [70,74]. Productivity/performance [70,71,[73][74][75] and sick leave [73] were not decreased by the use of sit-to-stand desks. ...
Article
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The development in research concerning sedentary behaviour has been rapid over the past two decades. This has led to the development of evidence and views that have become more advanced, diverse and, possibly, contentious. These include the effects of standing, the breaking up of prolonged sitting and the role of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in the association between sedentary behaviour and health outcomes. The present aim is to report the views of experts (n = 21) brought together (one-day face-to-face meeting in 2018) to consider these issues and provide conclusions and recommendations for future work. Each topic was reviewed and presented by one expert followed by full group discussion, which was recorded, transcribed and analysed. The experts concluded that (a). standing may bring benefits that accrue from postural shifts. Prolonged (mainly static) standing and prolonged sitting are both bad for health; (b). ‘the best posture is the next posture’. Regularly breaking up of sitting with postural shifts and movement is vital; (c). health effects of prolonged sitting are evident even after controlling for MVPA, but high levels of MVPA can attenuate the deleterious effects of prolonged sitting depending on the health outcome of interest. Expert discussion addressed measurement, messaging and future directions.
... Indeed, sit-stand workstations have been the topic of an increasing number of studies in recent years (Bodker et al., 2021;W. Brown et al., 2020;Davis and Kotowski, 2015;Gao et al., 2016;Gibbs et al., 2017;Kowalsky et al., 2018;Renaud et al., 2018) as well as literature reviews (Agarwal et al., 2018;Chambers et al., 2019;Karakolis and Callaghan, 2014) and a special issue of the Ergonomics in Design Journal (Dennerlein, 2015). Recent national and international standards include sit-standing alternating amongst the postures recommended for office work (Canadian Standards Association Group, 2018;Occupational Safety and Health Administration, n.d.-b), sit-stand worksurfaces are found in the OSHA Computer workstation purchasing guide (Occupational Safety and Health Administration, n.d.-a) and government and grassroots associations promote sit-stand workstations to limit continuous sitting (Get Britain Standing. ...
... It is also likely that sit-stand workstation usage will reduce discomfort (Karakolis and Callaghan, 2014). One review of sit-stand workstation studies found significantly reduced low back discomfort (Agarwal et al., 2018). ...
Article
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Regular standing interruptions to sedentary work are recommended, but their dosage is understudied. To measure perception variations associated with different sit:stand ratios, 16 people used six ratios (30:0, 27:3, 24:6, 21:9, 18:12 and 15:15) within 30-min cycles in their normal office environment. At start and end of each workday, study participants recorded their perception of 11 factors on a 10-point scale. Musculoskeletal discomfort in 10 body regions was measured before and after exposure to sit-stand ratios. Overall preferred ratios were recorded. Sit:stand ratio affected all perceived factors, with impact varying. Standing at least 6 min improved results most overall; however, individual perceived factors were least impacted by any of 30:0, 27:3, 24:6 or 21:9. Preferred sit:stand ratios were 15:15, 18:12 and 21:9. Typically, least liked ratios involved briefest standing (30:0, 27:3, 24:6) although two participants least liked 15:15. Understanding these variations contributes to appropriate standing dosage recommendations.
... If people were more efficient and productive in the sitting position, it would be difficult to accept the solution to work more often in the standing position. In fact, many recent studies have shown and explained that spending more time in the standing position does not negatively impact performance of tasks and productivity of individuals working in desk-based jobs [33,50]. According to this information, people do not have to sit to be more effective and productive at work. ...
... According to this information, people do not have to sit to be more effective and productive at work. The perspective of performing work satisfactorily while in the standing position is not intuitive but reflects new discoveries [33,[50][51][52]. Hence, we encourage future studies to continue to show that more time spent in the standing position at work could facilitate good performance and work productivity. ...
Article
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Sedentariness has progressed in recent years. Here, we summarize the high prevalence of objectively measured sedentariness and the list of health problems associated with sedentariness. According to the literature, a minimum sedentary time of 8 h/d may avoid the harmful effects of sedentariness. Our review of the literature shows that many countries worldwide exceed this threshold. The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has increased the proportion of time spent seated in chairs and/or other types of furniture. Furthermore, prolonged sedentariness will continue to increase because it is assumed that people, at least those in desk jobs, perform their work better when sitting than when standing. Many practical solutions should be implemented to help people reduce their sedentary time. People need to be aware that prolonged sedentariness causes health problems. They need to measure the amount of time spent being sedentary to self-guide their behaviour. They should adopt a new lifestyle to avoid prolonged sedentariness and prolonged standing. In addition, we point out that they should frequently change their posture to avoid fatigue and health issues. For global public health, there is an urgent need to adopt an intermediate healthy/healthier behaviour between too much time spent in the sitting and standing positions.
... found in two studies (Karakolis & Callaghan, 2014;Robertson et al., 2013), and a negative in one (Karakolis & Callaghan, 2014), while in three studies (Graves et al., 2015;Healy et al., 2013;Torbeyns et al., 2016) there is no relationship found. The relationship between the furniture intervention and participants' health is measured by changes in anthropometrics (Torbeyns et al., 2016), physiological parameters (e.g. ...
... found in two studies (Karakolis & Callaghan, 2014;Robertson et al., 2013), and a negative in one (Karakolis & Callaghan, 2014), while in three studies (Graves et al., 2015;Healy et al., 2013;Torbeyns et al., 2016) there is no relationship found. The relationship between the furniture intervention and participants' health is measured by changes in anthropometrics (Torbeyns et al., 2016), physiological parameters (e.g. ...
Article
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Health is a trending topic in the office market, yet scientific research on healthy offices is scattered. This study undertakes a systematic literature review on the relationship between the interior space of offices and physical, psychological and social well-being. The review identifies the characteristics of interior office space that have been studied in relation to employee health, and outlines the empirical evidence. Of 2816 papers in the database, 50 addressed the relationship between interior office space and health and did so based on six features: layout, furniture, light, greenery, controls and noise. Evidence on the relationship between interior space and health has accumulated only within a few topics. On the one hand, open-plan offices, shared rooms and higher background noise are negatively related to health. On the other hand, positive relationships are found between physical well-being and aspects that encourage physical activity; between physical/psychological well-being and (day)light, individual control and real/artificial greenery; and between social well-being and small shared rooms. In measuring health, physical well-being is predominant. Similarly, studies have predominantly aimed to prevent health problems rather than enhance health. Overall, the related research is in a nascent stage. Further research is required to verify claims about healthy offices.
... Triano and Selby [4] affirmed that a healthy body can only tolerate staying in a position for about twenty (20) minutes. There have been widespread agreements that ergonomics workstation set up fosters creative and innovative performance [5], and lack of it would result in a decline in higher situational control, thereby threatening the performance and productivity [6]. The use of a good workstation design improves the posture of the staff and students in their daily functions to enhance performance and productivity and thus, the possibility of musculoskeletal disorders associated with these functions are significantly reduced [7,8]. ...
... The benefit of sensitivity analysis is the ranking it brings about, thus, less contributory variables can be dropped if need be. In situation where three independent variables are needed instead of four, then x 2 is to be dropped from Equation (6). Another set of results were obtained by carrying out Kruskal-Walli's test of significance for workstation setup and four independent variables (see Equation 5 for sample/variables definition and Tables 3 and 4 for results summary). ...
Chapter
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This study examines the experiences of musculoskeletal discomfort among staff and students of the University of Port Harcourt as it relates to their workstations. Questionnaires were designed to extract information from respondents on their experience of musculoskeletal pains and other discomforts. A total of 320 questionnaires were distributed randomly to staff and students across the three campuses of the University of Port Harcourt. One hundred and forty (140) questionnaires were distributed to staff (academic, 60 and non-academic, 90) out of which 115 were retrieved. Similarly, 170 questionnaires were distributed to students out of which 163 were retrieved; altogether 278 out of 320 yielded a 86.9% response rate. The study revealed that there is a strong relationship between the workstation set up and development of musculoskeletal discomfort in classrooms and offices at the University of Port Harcourt. Most staff and students experienced low back and neck pains due to poor ergonomic practices. Furthermore, most of the students respondents spent their reasonable time sitting in class receiving lectures (47%) and studying/reading (18.3%), respectively. While a handful of students (9%) stood for most of the time receiving lectures; due to limited number of seats. A multiple regression analysis on workstation against MSDs (lower backaches, headaches, neck & upper backaches and neck & shoulder aches) yielded a coefficient of variance, R2 of 87%. The sensitivity analysis on the regression model gave the following results: R2 = 29.94, 1.23, 41.7, and 14.12% for workstation against i) lower backaches; ii) headaches; iii) neck & upper backaches; iv) neck & shoulder aches, respectively. The result of Kruskal-Walli’s test of significance on the questionnaire response to simple ergonomic workstation (the cause) and those of musculoskeletal disorder (the effect) showed not significant. This confirmed the consistency of responses (that is, the samples were from the same distribution). Kendall’s w-statistic for staff and students level of agreement < 50% in all cases.
... sit-stand or treadmill workstations) in the office setting. Findings have indicated that work-related performance and productivity is not impaired by short-term use of these workstations (Karakolis & Callaghan, 2014;Sui et al., 2019). Regarding interventions that have incorporated behavioural strategies to reduce occupational SB, the current findings are consistent with two previous studies that found no significant intervention effects on office workers' self-rated work performance (Healy et al., 2013;Neuhaus et al., 2014). ...
Article
Objective: This secondary analysis study examined the effects of a 6-week theory-based planning and mHealth text message intervention targeting workplace sitting time on health-related quality of life and work performance in office workers. Design: Office-working adults (Mage=45.18 ± 11.33 years) were randomised into either a planning + text message intervention (n = 29) or control (n = 31) condition. Outcome measures: Workplace sitting time, time spent in specific non-sedentary behaviours (e.g. standing), health-related outcomes (i.e. emotional well-being, energy/fatigue, perceived role limitations), and work performance were assessed at baseline and week 6. Results: Significant group by time interaction effects, that favoured the intervention group, were found for perceived role limitations due to emotional health problems and emotional well-being. No significant interaction effects emerged for energy/fatigue, role limitations due to physical health problems or work performance. Significant correlations in the expected direction were found between sedentary/non-sedentary behaviours and health-related outcomes. No significant mediation effects were found to suggest the intervention affected health-related outcomes through reductions in sedentary behaviour. Conclusion: Reducing workplace sitting improves emotional well-being and contributes to fewer perceived role limitations due to emotional health problems among office workers.
... 4,[15][16][17][18] Several studies have investigated whether successfully replacing sitting by standing also leads to positive effects on self-reported musculoskeletal symptoms and fatigue in computer workers. 17,[19][20][21][22][23][24][25] Some of these studies suggest 21,22,25 that discomfort in the upper back, lower back, and neck and shoulders can, indeed, be reduced when computer workers use a sit-stand desk instead of a traditional nonadjustable desk. ...
Article
Background: Sit-stand desks have been suggested as an initiative to increase posture variation among office workers. However, there is limited evidence of what would be preferable combinations of time sitting and standing. The aim of this study was to determine and compare perceived pleasantness, acceptability, pain, and fatigue for 5 time patterns of sitting and standing at a sit-stand desk. Methods: Thirty postgraduate students were equally divided into a normal-weight (mean body mass index 22.8 kg/m2) and an overweight/obese (mean body mass index 28.1 kg/m2) group. They performed 3 hours of computer work at a sit-stand desk on 5 different days, each day with a different time pattern (A: 60-min sit/0-min stand; B: 50/10; C: 40/20; D: 30/30; E: 20/40). Pleasantness, acceptability, pain, and fatigue ratings were obtained at the beginning and at the end of the 3-hour period. Results: High ratings of pleasantness were observed for time patterns B, C, and D in both groups. All participants rated acceptability to be good for time patterns A to D. A minor increase in perceived fatigue and pain was observed in time pattern E. Conclusion: For new sit-stand desk users, regardless of body mass index, 10 to 30 minutes of standing per hour appears to be an amenable time pattern.
... Productivity across two job categories, health advisors and clinical advisors, were obtained using the company's performance metric software. The main findings were that employees assigned to the stand-capable desks demonstrated higher productivity than those in the 0 0 There are several studies that suggest an inverse relationship between productivity and body discomfort (Davis & Kotowski, 2014;Robertson, et al., 2013;Karakolis & Callaghan, 2014). Aligned with findings from these studies, Pickens et al. (2016), who collected data in tandem on the same study participant pool and followed the study design as the current study, found that employees assigned to the stand-capable workstations reported significantly lower body discomfort compared to the seated controls over the sixmonth period. ...
Thesis
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Sedentary behavior has been recognized as a causal link to major health diseases such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and stroke. On average, working adults spend more than 90% of their time sedentary in their workplace which increases their susceptibility to these major disease processes. Interventions designed to illicit increased activity within the workplace, such as sit-to-stand desks, have been attempted in many instances but detriments to an individual’s performance as well as sustained usage have been barriers to full adoption within the workplace. Two field studies were conducted to first, determine the impact of sit-to-stand usage on an individual’s productivity and secondly, to understand the influence of computer-based prompting in modifying an individual’s motivation to use sit-to-stand desks. The first study (call center) compared a productivity metric of 167 call center workers who were divided into an experimental (stand-capable workstation) group or a control (seated workstation) group. The productivity metric was collected continuously over a 6-month period and then compared by group and job category. Findings indicated that there was a 46% increase in productivity over the 6-month period for the experimental group versus the control group, suggesting that stand-capable desks are a likely contributor to increased productivity. The second study (Chevron) compared sit-to-stand desk usage of 200 office workers across 2 different geographic locations who had been assigned to one of two groups, experimental (received computer prompts) and control (no computer prompts). With computer software, all participant’s daily....
... Too much sitting has been related to increased risk for diabetes (Chaput et al., 2015;George et al., 2013;Kim et al., 2013;Patterson et al., 2018), increased weight gain (Dunstan et al., 2012;Ekelund et al., 2008;Smith et al., 2014), and increased discomfort (Tissot et al., 2009;Wahlström, 2005). Some researchers have found standing to improve calorie usage (Benden et al., 2011), reduce glucose levels (Buckley et al., 2013;Dunstan et al., 2012;Thorp et al., 2014), improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels (Graves et al., 2015;Healy et al., 2013), and reduce discomfort (Davis & Kotowski, 2014;Karakolis & Callaghan, 2014). However, you do not want to stand the whole day, as prolonged standing can be detrimental too (Gregory & Callaghan, 2008;Waters & Dick, 2015). ...
Article
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Millions of workers have been uprooted by COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) and been thrown into a “new normal” of working from home offices. To further complicate things, many individuals were provided with only a laptop and little, if any, education on setting up an ergonomically correct workstation. As a result, many home office–based workers potentially face suboptimal working conditions. Based on 41 home office ergonomic evaluations, most ergonomic concerns related to laptop usage, nonadjustable chairs without armrests, low monitor heights, and hard desk surfaces. If home-based office work continues, people need to understand the ramifications of poor workstation.
... Occasionally, adverse effects of a long-standing position have also been described (cf. Karakolis and Callaghan 2014), but these are not to be expected from reasonable alternate standing and sitting use according to the corresponding instructions. ...
Chapter
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The right amount of exercise is healthy for both the healthy and the sick. This has meanwhile been proven beyond any doubt (cf. Pagenstert 2017). The times when people suffering from cancer, heart or lung disease were advised to rest as much as possible should be over, even if this has not yet become a matter of course for every single doctor.
... The findings ware further extrapolated from the Jaoua et al. (2020), that increased screen time at workplaces is found to increase obesity and overweight risk by 21-28.5% (Jaoua et al., 2020). But, substantial evidence now exists proving that standing, treadmill walking/walking and cycling does not affect cognition (Bantoft et al., 2016;Karakolis and Callaghan, 2014;Lin and Bao, 2019;Russell et al., 2016). It was found recently that treadmill walking and cycling potentially degrade work performance (Ohlinger et al., 2011;Ojo et al., 2018). ...
Article
Background Sedentary behaviour is grossly prevalent in this day and age because of the advancement in technology. Curbing sedentary behaviour has come to our attention because of the various harmful consequences it can cause like, Obesity, Metabolic syndrome, Insulin resistance, Type-2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. Since desk workers are the most vulnerable population to sedentary behaviour because of the prolonged sitting nature of the occupation, it is essential to find a way to reduce sedentary lifestyle at work. Objective To explore different types of working conditions and find out how they are related to cognitive performance. Methods Scopus, Web of Science and PubMed databases were searched for MeSH terms “Energy expenditure”, “cognitive functions”, “memory”, “executive functions”, “workplaces”, “occupations”. The results were summarised as narrative synthesis. Results Evidence from the 14 trails has demonstrated that standing has a higher energy expenditure (0.5 kcal) than sitting. Considering other interventions with standing, callisthenics has the highest energy expenditure. Existing evidence is inconclusive that active work postures such as standing, treadmill walking/walking and cycling have no impact on cognitive performance. Discussion Walking or calisthenics results in higher energy expenditure than standing or sitting because of the improved activation of postural muscles and lower limb muscles. Improved or at least maintenance of carotid and vertebral circulation during standing or walking might be the reasons for uninhibited cognitive performance during these postures. Conclusion Walking or exercise breaks during the typical work day increases significant energy expenditure than standing alone or usual work without affecting cognition.
... However, other studies have found no influence of these two interventions on physiological outcomes including the reduction of leg swelling and muscle fatigue (Brownie & Martin, 2015;Garcia et al., 2016;Redfern & Cham, 2000;Zander et al., 2004). A growing body of literature has proposed to mitigate the negative effects of standing by incorporating seated periods (Karakolis & Callaghan, 2014) and increasing dynamic standing activities such as walking (Balasubramanian et al., 2008;Garcia et al., 2020Garcia et al., , 2020. However, in many work environments, employees are restricted from sitting or walking and are required to work standing due to the job characteristics or a cultural tradition (Messing et al., 2015). ...
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Objective The goal of this study was to evaluate and compare lower-leg muscle fatigue, edema, and discomfort induced by the prolonged standing of security guards wearing regular socks and those wearing 15–20 or 20–30 mmHg compression stockings as intervention. Background Compression stockings are somewhat used by individuals standing all day at work. However, quantitative evidence showing their potential benefits for lower-leg health issues in healthy individuals during real working conditions is lacking. Method Forty male security employees participated in the study. All were randomly assigned to the control or one of the two intervention groups (I 15–20 or I 20–30 ). Lower-leg muscle twitch force, volume, and discomfort ratings were measured before and after their regular 12-hr standing work shift. Results Significant evidence of lower-leg long-lasting muscle fatigue, edema, and discomfort was observed after standing work for guards wearing regular socks. However, no significant changes were found for guards wearing either compression stockings. Conclusion In healthy individuals, compression stockings seem to attenuate efficiently the tested outcomes in the lower leg resulting from prolonged standing. Application Occupational activities requiring prolonged standing may benefit from 15–20 or 20–30 mmHg compression stockings. As similar benefits were observed for both levels of compression, the lower level may be sufficient.
... Stimulation of physical motion can also be a consideration. Karakolis and Callaghan (2014) showed that implementing sit-stand workstations in an office environment likely results in lower levels of body discomfort and may also have a positive effect on performance. ...
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Purpose This paper aims to investigate how facilities management (FM) and corporate real estate management (CREM) can add value to organisations by contributing to improved productivity of knowledge workers, and to explore interrelationships between productivity, employee satisfaction and other value parameters. Design/methodology/approach This is a literature research of possible contributions of FM and CREM to improved labour productivity in relation to five activity areas of FM/CREM (portfolio management, project management, space and workplace management, property management and service management) and a first exploration of interrelationships between productivity and other value parameters. Findings The findings indicate that FM and CREM most directly can contribute to productivity by space and workplace management that supports different types of work and organisational activities. Portfolio and project management can mostly contribute by providing appropriate locations, adjacency relations between different parts of the organisation and supporting process flow and logistics. Property management can contribute to productivity by ensuring business continuity and comfortable indoor climate. Service management can contribute by relieving staff from trivial tasks by efficient services and by providing exiting experiences. Productivity shows to be mainly positively related to satisfaction; insights into interrelationships with other value parameters are still limited. Practical implications The results can be used to obtain a deeper understanding of how FM and CREM can add value to organisations by contributing to improved labour productivity. Practitioners can find inspiration on how to contribute to labour productivity and additional benefits within specific activity areas of FM and CREM. The exploration of interrelationships between productivity and other values can be used as input to a future research agenda. Originality/value The paper adds new insights to the growing body of knowledge about how FM/CREM can contribute to increased labour productivity and how other value parameters may be interrelated with productivity.
... With problems such as neck and shoulder pain, high presenteeism and low work engagement associated with sitting time at work [10][11][12], the office workplace is a priority setting to reduce total occupational sitting time [13]. Whilst workplace interventions have shown that significant short and medium-term reductions in workplace sitting time can be achieved [8,[14][15][16][17], few have reported on the cost-benefits of their interventions [18], and this lack of evidence may act as a barrier for organisations in adopting and promoting strategies to reduce sitting time at work. Evaluating the cost-benefits of reducing occupational sitting time are important due to the estimated costs of £30bn ($39bn; €34bn) for sickness presenteeism (i.e., working despite being unwell to work) [19], and sickness absenteeism in the United Kingdom, with presenteeism costing twice as much as absenteeism [20]. ...
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This study conducted a cost and cost-benefit analysis of the Stand More AT (SMArT) Work workplace intervention, designed to reduce sitting time. The study was a cluster two-armed randomised controlled trial involving 37 office clusters (146 desk-based workers) in a National Health Service Trust. The intervention group received a height-adjustable workstation with supporting behaviour change strategies. The control group continued with usual practice. Self-report absenteeism, presenteeism and work productivity were assessed at baseline, 3, 6 and 12 months; and organisational sickness absence records 12 months prior to, and 12 months of the intervention. Mean per employee costs associated with SMArT Work were calculated. Absenteeism, presenteeism and work productivity were estimated, and employer-recorded absence data and employee wage-banding were used to provide a human-capital-based estimate of costs to the organisation. The return-on-investment (ROI) and incremental cost-efficacy ratios (ICER) were calculated. Intervention cost was £692.40 per employee. Cost-benefit estimates show a net saving of £1770.32 (95%CI £-354.40, £3895.04) per employee as a result of productivity increase. There were no significant differences in absence data compared to the control group. SMArT Work provides supporting evidence for policy-makers and employers on the cost benefits of reducing sitting time at work.
... In addition, the introduction of sit-to-stand desks in University classrooms and libraries is an effective approach to reducing sedentary behaviour in University students (Tardif et al., 2018, Jerome et al., 2017. These desks allow individuals to displace large volumes of sitting to standing, while generally causing little to no disruption in productivity and work routines (Karakolis and Callaghan, 2014;Ojo et al., 2018). However, it should be noted that incorporating such environmental opportunities are not always feasible given the increased intervention cost. ...
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Background: Accumulating high levels of sedentary behaviour has been linked to poor health outcomes. This study examined the feasibility and preliminary, short-term effects of a theory-based intervention aimed at reducing total and prolonged sedentary behaviour in University students. Design: A quasi-experimental (pre-post) pilot study. Methods: Nine ambulatory undergraduate students (Mean age = 22 ± 2.32) participated in a one-on-one session, including an educational component around the health effects of sedentary behaviour and three distinct activities (feedback, “pros and cons” exercise, and suggested behaviour change strategies). In addition, automated daily text messages targeting sedentary behaviour were sent for 6 days (four messages per day at fixed intervals). The Behaviour Change Wheel framework guided the intervention design process. Outcomes were assessed over 6 days in pre- and post-intervention periods and included accelerometer-based (activPAL) and self-reported (Nightly-Week-U) total sedentary time, as well as accelerometer-based number of steps and prolonged sedentary time. Students completed a process evaluation interview upon completing the trial. Results: From pre- to post-intervention, there was a significant reduction in accelerometer-based total and prolonged sedentary time during weekend days. In addition, there was a significant increase in accelerometer-based standing time and stepping during weekend days. There were no statistically significant changes in accelerometer-based sedentary time, standing time or number of steps during weekdays. Process evaluation results indicated that the intervention and its assessment is feasible. Reductions in sedentary time were likely to be mediated by positive changes in the student's reflective and automatic motivation. Conclusions: Findings from this small, short-term intervention suggest that a single one-on-one session, together with automated text messages, may help University students reduce sedentary behaviour and enhance movement during weekend days. Additional strategies to maximise the intervention effects are discussed (e.g., establishing a collaboration with University staff, introducing sit-to-stand desks, and/or facilitating social support). A randomised control trial assessing sedentary behaviour over a longer period is needed to adequately study the intervention's effectiveness.
... Worksite interventions aimed at reducing sitting time have also been evaluated in terms of a variety of secondary outcomes other than sitting time. With regard to experiencing musculoskeletal symptoms, there seemed to be ambiguous effects on total body discomfort (Karakolis and Callaghan, 2014) and on low back pain (Agarwal et al., 2018) when using sit-stand workstations compared to sitting workstations. Despite the heterogeneity of measurement methods used across studies, work performance seemed to be unaffected by the use of sit-stand workstations, but seemed to decrease when desk bikes (Ojo et al., 2018) and treadmill desks (Dupont et al., 2019) are used. ...
Article
Objective: Prolonged sitting, which is highly prevalent in office workers, has been associated with several health risks. The aim of this study was to evaluate the Dynamic Work intervention by determining its effect on total sitting time at the 8-month follow-up in comparison to the control. Methods: This two-arm pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial included 244 office workers from 14 different departments of a large, Dutch insurance company. The Dynamic Work intervention was a real-life, worksite intervention that included environmental components (i.e. sit-stand workstations), organisational components (i.e. group sessions), and individual components (e.g. activity/sitting trackers). Outcomes were assessed at baseline, 4-month follow-up, and 8-month follow-up. The primary outcome was total sitting time per day, objectively assessed using the activPAL activity monitor at 8-month follow-up. Secondary outcomes included other total and occupational movement behaviour outcomes, health-related outcomes, and work-related outcomes. Data analyses were performed using linear and logistic mixed models. Results: Total sitting time did not differ between the intervention and control group at the 8-month follow-up. Secondary outcomes also showed no difference between the intervention and control group at either the 4-month or at 8-month follow-up, with the exception of number of occupational steps, which showed a statistically significant effect at 4-month follow-up (but not at 8-month follow-up) of 913 (95% CI = 381-1445) steps/8-h working day. Conclusions: This study evaluated the effectiveness of a real-life worksite intervention to reduce sitting time and showed little to no effect. This may be due to the relatively low intensity of the intervention, i.e. that it only involved the replacement of 25% of sitting workstations with sit-stand workstations. Future research should focus on the evaluation of more intensive real-life worksite interventions that are still feasible for implementation in daily practice. CLINICALTRIALS. Gov, registration number: NCT03115645.
... One of the most consistently successful intervention approaches is the provision of a sit-stand workstation (SSW) for individuals, particularly when combined with strategies to raise awareness and build a supportive culture for change (Edwardson et al., 2018b;Healy et al., 2016). SSWs have been shown to be effective in reducing sitting time (Alkhajah et al., 2012;Healy et al., 2013), decreasing short-term musculoskeletal discomfort (Agarwal et al., 2018;Ognibene et al., 2016), and improving cardiometabolic risk parameters (Graves et al., 2015;Winkler et al., 2018), without negatively impacting productivity (Chau et al., 2016;Commissaris et al., 2016;Karakolis and Callaghan, 2014;Peterman et al., 2019). These workstations have also been shown to be acceptable to both employers and employees (Hadgraft et al., 2016;Hall et al., 2019a;Leavy and Jancey, 2016). ...
Article
This explanatory sequential mixed-method study explored the factors associated with the investment (or not) in sit-stand workstations (SSWs) and alternative initiatives to reduce prolonged sitting at work from the perspective of furniture purchasing decision-makers in Australian workplaces. Participants (n = 270) from >200 organisations across 19 industry sectors completed an online survey. Seven interviews were conducted in a sub-sample of participants from organisations without SSWs. The majority (80%) of workplaces reported having invested in SSWs. Workplaces without SSWs, opposed to those with SSWs, were more likely to be private (79.6% vs. 43.5%), of small/medium size (70.4% vs. 35.6%) and without a wellness program (57.4% vs. 22.2%) (all p < 0.05). Financial implications were the main reason for not investing in SSWs. Exercise and stretch breaks were alternative initiatives to reducing sedentary behaviour at work. Better evidence on the return on investment is needed to support purchasing decisions on SSWs.
... Mixed findings have been reported regarding the association of musculoskeletal issues and prolonged stationary sitting [96,97]. Similarly, conflicting results have been found in terms of what impact, if any, intervention strategies used to reduce SB have on musculoskeletal symptoms, in terms of participant comfort, or the health benefits associated with each strategy [98][99][100][101]. ...
Article
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Professional male office employees have been identified as those most at risk of prolonged sedentary time, which is associated with many long-term adverse health conditions. The aim of the study was to assess the acceptability and feasibility of a gender-sensitive multicomponent intervention, guided by the socio-ecological model, to reduce occupational sedentary behaviour by increasing physical activity in professional men. The main elements of the intervention comprised: a Garmin watch with associated web-based platform/smartphone application, an under-desk pedal machine, and management participation and support. A cluster-randomised crossover pilot feasibility trial recruiting professional males was conducted in two workplaces. Mixed methods were used to assess the primary outcomes of recruitment, retention, and acceptability and feasibility of the intervention. Secondary outcomes included objectively measured sedentary behaviour, standing and physical activity. Focus groups were used to explore the acceptability of the intervention in a real-world setting. Twenty-two participants were recruited (mean age 42.9 years (SD 11.0)). Recruitment and retention rates were 73.3% and 95%, respectively. Overall, participants found the intervention acceptable and feasible, and expressed enjoyment of the intervention, however desk set-up issues with the pedal devices were noted. The manual recording of the pedalling bouts was overly burdensome. Preliminary data indicate that the intervention may reduce occupational sedentary behaviour and increase physical activity. This intervention should be further tested in a definitive trial following consideration of the findings of this pilot feasibility trial.
... A concern with these alternative posture options is that performance will be reduced. However, reviews concluded that sit-stand and active workstations in office workers do not cause a decrease in performance [18,[28][29][30][31]. Additionally, recent systematic reviews on the effects of standing desks within the primary/elementary school classroom found increased energy expenditure, reduced sedentary behavior, and no detrimental effect on classroom behavior and learning [32][33][34]. ...
... In the present study, employees' use of the sit-stand desk was contingent upon their perception of the influence it had on their productivity, given the organisational cultural value of maximising productivity. A recent systematic review of studies using quantitative measures of productivity concluded that there is no influence of sit-stand desk use on productivity [43]. Findings from the present study suggest that the relationship between sit-stand desk use and productivity may be nuanced; employees' views related to how using a sit-stand desk impacted their productivity were contingent on how they interacted with the desk within the organisational context. ...
Article
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Background: Sit-stand desk interventions have the potential to reduce workplace sedentary behaviour and improve employee health. However, the extent of sit-stand desk use varies between employees and in different organisational contexts. Framed by organisational cultural theory and product design theory, this study examined employees' lived experience of taking part in a workplace sit-stand desk intervention, to understand the processes influencing feasibility and acceptability. Methods: Participant observations and qualitative interviews were conducted with 15 employees from two office-based workplaces in the UK, as part of a process evaluation that ran alongside a pilot RCT of a workplace sit-stand desk intervention. Observational field notes and transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Three themes related to the experience of using a sit-stand desk at work were generated: employees' relationship with their sit-stand desk; aspirations and outcomes related to employee health and productivity; and cultural norms and interpersonal relationships. The perceived usability of the desk varied depending on how employees interacted with the desk within their personal and organisational context. Employees reported that the perceived influence of the desk on their productivity levels shaped use of the desk; those who perceived that standing increased energy and alertness tended to stand more often. Sit-stand desks were voiced as being more acceptable than intervention strategies that involve leaving the desk, as productivity was conflated with being at the desk. Conclusions: The findings indicate a range of organisational, social-cultural and individual-level factors that shape the feasibility and acceptability of sit-stand desk use, and suggest strategies for improving employees' experiences of using a sit-stand desk at work, which might positively influence sedentary behaviour reduction and health. Trial registration: Clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT02172599, 22nd June 2014 (prospectively registered).
... Research topics Findings Karakolis and Callaghan (2014) Literature review Impact of sit-stand workstations (SSW) on worker discomfort and productivity SSW are likely effective in reducing perceived discomfort. Eight of the identified 14 studies reported a productivity outcome; three reported an increase in productivity during sit-stand work, four reported no impact on productivity, one reported mixed results Al Horr et al. ...
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Purpose This paper aims to explore the added value of healthy workplaces for employees and organizations, in particular regarding employee satisfaction, labour productivity and facility cost. Design/methodology/approach The paper is based on a narrative review of journal papers and other sources covering the fields of building research, corporate real estate management, facilities management, environmental psychology and ergonomics. Findings The review supports the assumption of positive impacts of appropriate building characteristics on health, satisfaction and productivity. Correlations between these impacts are still underexposed. Data on cost and economic benefits of healthy workplace characteristics is limited, and mainly regard reduced sickness absence. The discussed papers indicate that investing in healthy work environments is cost-effective. Originality/value The findings contribute to a better understanding of the complex relationships between physical characteristics of the environment and health, satisfaction, productivity and costs. These insights can be used to assess work environments on these topics, and to identify appropriate interventions in value-adding management of buildings and facilities.
... Indeed, non-student work environment research has found that standing desks can improve worker health and productivity. Standing desks, which can help improve posture and take pressure off the neck and lower back, were associated with reduced reported worker discomfort (Chau et al., 2015;Karakolis and Callaghan, 2014), reduced musculoskeletal pain and improved posture (Mazzotta et al., 2018), significant decreases in upper back, shoulder and neck discomfort (Garland et al., 2018) and significant decreases in lower back pain (Ognibene et al., 2016). Standing desks also were associated with reduced sleepiness and fatigue (Kowalsky et al., 2018) and increased worker productivity (Garrett et al., 2016), with one study showing that 65% of workers reported increased productivity (Garland et al., 2018). ...
Article
Purpose This study aims to examine the impact of college students’ health and wellness orientations on the perceived importance of health benefits for an innovative new brand of standing desk, which is hypothesized to positively affect students’ attitudes and intentions. Research in this domain for the college student market is sparse. Design/methodology/approach An online survey was conducted among business students at a large Midwestern US University, with class credit offered for completion. Of the 325 students given the opportunity to participate, 210 completed the survey. Findings Health motivation is positively related to calorie reduction importance, whereas wellness orientation is positively related to back health and cognitive enhancement. Calorie reduction and potential cognitive benefits significantly affect attitudes toward standing desks, which positively impact intentions to use, pay a school usage fee and buy the product. Research limitations/implications Different health orientation factors are associated with specific health benefits, providing greater insight into consumer attitudinal motivations for health-related products. Future research can further evaluate the generalizability of the results. Practical implications Marketers can tailor more effective communications based on underlying consumer motivations for health-related product benefits, resulting in better marketing outcomes. Social implications Obesity is a growing societal issue, which could be ameliorated by improved daily behaviors, including the use of standing desks to assist in countering sedentarism. Originality/value To the best of the authors’ knowledge, neither academic research has yet examined standing desk purchase decision factors for the college student market, nor the effects of different health orientations on perceived health benefits.
Article
The effects of a sit-stand-walk intervention to reduce musculoskeletal discomfort, attenuate perceived physical and mental fatigue, and increase physical activity without adversely affecting productivity was investigated for computer-based work. A between-participants design was used with 80 participants randomly assigned to one of five work conditions (sit-stand, stand-sit, sitting, standing and sit-stand-walk) to perform a 60-min computer-based typing transcription task. Musculoskeletal discomfort, and perceived physical and mental fatigue were reported through surveys; productivity was measured by typing speed and typing errors. For the sit-stand-walk intervention musculoskeletal discomfort was significantly less compared to sitting or standing for the hour; perceived physical fatigue was significantly less compared to standing for the hour. There were no benefits or differences among the work conditions in terms of perceived mental fatigue and productivity. By combining postural variability of sit-stand workstations with intermittent light-intensity physical activity enabled by active breaks, the sit-stand-walk intervention demonstrates a beneficial and viable alternative to sedentary office work.
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Auch wenn die grundsätzlichen, positiven Effekte von ergonomischen Gestaltungsmaßnahmen selten angezweifelt werden, sind betriebliche Entscheider in der Regel am besten von einer solchen Gestaltungsmaßnahme zu überzeugen, wenn der betriebliche Nutzen für sie aufgezeigt werden kann. Wie aus zahlreichen veröffentlichten Studien hervorgeht, kann dieser Nutzen jedoch sehr vielseitige Ausprägungen haben. Diese Übersichtsarbeit wurde als Erweiterung des Ratgebers „Ergonomische Arbeitsplatzgestaltung: Prinzipien aus Trainings-, Sport- und Arbeitswissenschaft zur Entlastung des Bewegungsapparates“ von der Ergoswiss AG beauftragt. Das Ziel dieser Arbeit ist es, veröffentlichte Studienergebnisse zusammenzustellen, welche die Vorteile und den Nutzen („Benefits“) von ergonomischen Gestaltungsmaßnahmen untersucht haben. Neben der grundsätzlichen Betrachtung von ergonomischen Gestaltungsmaßnahmen zur Entlastung des Bewegungsapparats, wird in dieser Übersichtsarbeit der Fokus auf höhenverstellbare Arbeitstische gesetzt.
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Ergonomics study was undertaken at West Texas A&M University (WT) to examine the effects of Sit – Stand workstations installed at the School of Engineering, Computer Science, and Math (ECSM) newly renovated offices. Faculty and staff who had renovated offices with the Sit – Stand workstation installed were surveyed in this study. The survey investigated the ergonomics and human factors involved in the use of Sit – Stand workstations by these user groups. Data collected included general participant information (e.g. Gender, Age), typical use of these Sit – Stand workstations, physical and cognitive factors involved, safety aspects involved, overall productivity and satisfaction of the employees who use these Sit - Stand workstations on a daily basis. Reported impact of using these Sit – Stand workstations included health benefits, increased productivity, and employee satisfaction. There were few improvements suggested by the users who used this product on a day-to-day basis. Associations between good physical postures extended working hours, workstation design, and productivity was analyzed and has been reported in this paper. This paper reports the survey results collected after analyzing the various ergonomic factors involved in the use of Sit – Stand workstations at WT’s ECSM offices.
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Background: The prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms among sedentary workers is high. Interventions that promote occupational standing or walking have been found to reduce occupational sedentary time, but it is unclear whether these interventions ameliorate musculoskeletal symptoms in sedentary workers. Objectives: To investigate the effectiveness of workplace interventions to increase standing or walking for decreasing musculoskeletal symptoms in sedentary workers. Search methods: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, Embase, OSH UPDATE, PEDro, ClinicalTrials.gov, and the World Health Organization (WHO) International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) search portal up to January 2019. We also screened reference lists of primary studies and contacted experts to identify additional studies. Selection criteria: We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs), cluster-randomised controlled trials (cluster-RCTs), quasi RCTs, and controlled before-and-after (CBA) studies of interventions to reduce or break up workplace sitting by encouraging standing or walking in the workplace among workers with musculoskeletal symptoms. The primary outcome was self-reported intensity or presence of musculoskeletal symptoms by body region and the impact of musculoskeletal symptoms such as pain-related disability. We considered work performance and productivity, sickness absenteeism, and adverse events such as venous disorders or perinatal complications as secondary outcomes. Data collection and analysis: Two review authors independently screened titles, abstracts, and full-text articles for study eligibility. These review authors independently extracted data and assessed risk of bias. We contacted study authors to request additional data when required. We used GRADE considerations to assess the quality of evidence provided by studies that contributed to the meta-analyses. Main results: We found ten studies including three RCTs, five cluster RCTs, and two CBA studies with a total of 955 participants, all from high-income countries. Interventions targeted changes to the physical work environment such as provision of sit-stand or treadmill workstations (four studies), an activity tracker (two studies) for use in individual approaches, and multi-component interventions (five studies). We did not find any studies that specifically targeted only the organisational level components. Two studies assessed pain-related disability. Physical work environment There was no significant difference in the intensity of low back symptoms (standardised mean difference (SMD) -0.35, 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.80 to 0.10; 2 RCTs; low-quality evidence) nor in the intensity of upper back symptoms (SMD -0.48, 95% CI -.096 to 0.00; 2 RCTs; low-quality evidence) in the short term (less than six months) for interventions using sit-stand workstations compared to no intervention. No studies examined discomfort outcomes at medium (six to less than 12 months) or long term (12 months and more). No significant reduction in pain-related disability was noted when a sit-stand workstation was used compared to when no intervention was provided in the medium term (mean difference (MD) -0.4, 95% CI -2.70 to 1.90; 1 RCT; low-quality evidence). Individual approach There was no significant difference in the intensity or presence of low back symptoms (SMD -0.05, 95% CI -0.87 to 0.77; 2 RCTs; low-quality evidence), upper back symptoms (SMD -0.04, 95% CI -0.92 to 0.84; 2 RCTs; low-quality evidence), neck symptoms (SMD -0.05, 95% CI -0.68 to 0.78; 2 RCTs; low-quality evidence), shoulder symptoms (SMD -0.14, 95% CI -0.63 to 0.90; 2 RCTs; low-quality evidence), or elbow/wrist and hand symptoms (SMD -0.30, 95% CI -0.63 to 0.90; 2 RCTs; low-quality evidence) for interventions involving an activity tracker compared to an alternative intervention or no intervention in the short term. No studies provided outcomes at medium term, and only one study examined outcomes at long term. Organisational level No studies evaluated the effects of interventions solely targeted at the organisational level. Multi-component approach There was no significant difference in the proportion of participants reporting low back symptoms (risk ratio (RR) 0.93, 95% CI 0.69 to 1.27; 3 RCTs; low-quality evidence), neck symptoms (RR 1.00, 95% CI 0.76 to 1.32; 3 RCTs; low-quality evidence), shoulder symptoms (RR 0.83, 95% CI 0.12 to 5.80; 2 RCTs; very low-quality evidence), and upper back symptoms (RR 0.88, 95% CI 0.76 to 1.32; 3 RCTs; low-quality evidence) for interventions using a multi-component approach compared to no intervention in the short term. Only one RCT examined outcomes at medium term and found no significant difference in low back symptoms (MD -0.40, 95% CI -1.95 to 1.15; 1 RCT; low-quality evidence), upper back symptoms (MD -0.70, 95% CI -2.12 to 0.72; low-quality evidence), and leg symptoms (MD -0.80, 95% CI -2.49 to 0.89; low-quality evidence). There was no significant difference in the proportion of participants reporting low back symptoms (RR 0.89, 95% CI 0.57 to 1.40; 2 RCTs; low-quality evidence), neck symptoms (RR 0.67, 95% CI 0.41 to 1.08; two RCTs; low-quality evidence), and upper back symptoms (RR 0.52, 95% CI 0.08 to 3.29; 2 RCTs; low-quality evidence) for interventions using a multi-component approach compared to no intervention in the long term. There was a statistically significant reduction in pain-related disability following a multi-component intervention compared to no intervention in the medium term (MD -8.80, 95% CI -17.46 to -0.14; 1 RCT; low-quality evidence). Authors' conclusions: Currently available limited evidence does not show that interventions to increase standing or walking in the workplace reduced musculoskeletal symptoms among sedentary workers at short-, medium-, or long-term follow up. The quality of evidence is low or very low, largely due to study design and small sample sizes. Although the results of this review are not statistically significant, some interventions targeting the physical work environment are suggestive of an intervention effect. Therefore, in the future, larger cluster-RCTs recruiting participants with baseline musculoskeletal symptoms and long-term outcomes are needed to determine whether interventions to increase standing or walking can reduce musculoskeletal symptoms among sedentary workers and can be sustained over time.
Article
Background: Studies have suggested an association between computer work and the development of musculoskeletal disorders. However, studies examining the workplace ergonomics assessment of computer offices are scarce in the Pakistani population. Objective: To determine the presence of ergonomic risk factors in the office using the Rapid Assessment Office Strain (ROSA) method for complaints of arm, neck and shoulder (CANS) among office computer workers. Methods: From January to August 2019, a cross-sectional study was carried out among office workers who worked at least three hours on computers in their daily work. The prevalence of CANS was measured by using the Maastricht Upper Extremity Questionnaire (MUEQ) and work station evaluation was done by using rapid office strain assessment (ROSA). Data were collected from 773 computer workers, of whom 443 (56%) worked in the information technology sector, 215 (28%) in industry and 124 (16%) in universities. SPSS version 20 was used for data entry and analysis. Results: Out of 773 computer workers, 448 (58%) reported musculoskeletal pain and the most prevalent were shoulder pain (327, 42%) and neck pain (270, 35%). The mean scores of ROSA sections A, B, C and D were 4.00±0.82, 2.98±0.72, 3.49±0.67 and 3.61±0.72 respectively. The mean ROSA total score in 773 office computer workers was 4.19±0.78, which indicates a low risk of musculoskeletal complaints. There was significant association was found between ROSA section A and shoulder pain (P = 0.043), ROSA section C with complaints of lower arm (P = 0.013), wrist (P = 0.016), and hand pain (P = 0.005), ROSA section D with lower arm (P = 0.002), wrist (P = 0.004) and hand complaints (P = 0.002). A significant association was found between ROSA total score and complaints of shoulder and hand, with p values of 0.012 and 0.006, respectively. Conclusion: CANs are prevalent among computer office workers, and there is a significant relationship between CANS and workstation ergonomics.
Article
Background: Non-neutral postures during computerised device use coupled with increased usage may increase the risk of neck pain. Greater knowledge of postures that individuals with neck pain adopt during computerised device use is warranted. Objective: To evaluate neck and upper limb posture while using a tablet, laptop and desktop computer (sitting and standing) in individuals with chronic neck pain. Methods: Differences in three-dimensional kinematic variables were assessed during four conditions: tablet, laptop, desktop computer (sitting and standing) in 22 individuals with chronic neck pain >3 months. Differences between kinematic variables were determined using one-way repeated measures ANOVA with Bonferroni post-hoc tests. Results: Compared to the desktop (sitting), tablet and laptop use resulted in increased neck flexion (mean difference tablet - 14.42°, 95% CI - 19.88, - 8.96, P < 0.001; laptop -7.19°, -12.08, -2.31, P = .020); upper trunk flexion (tablet -14.89°, -20.22, -9.56, P < 0.001; laptop -5.56, -10.02, -1.09, P = .009) and tablet bilateral shoulder elevation (left 11.01 mm, 2.01, 20.04, P < .016; right 13.08 mm, 3.09, 23.11, P < .006). Conclusions: Tablet and laptop use resulted in greater neck flexion, bilateral shoulder elevation and upper trunk flexion compared to a standard desktop computer, suggesting individuals with chronic neck pain should be mindful of their posture when using these smaller devices. Future research should explore how differences in posture may influence neck pain.
Article
Once fully automated driving has been implemented, passengers will be able to take advantage of not only the sitting posture but also standing and perching postures. Physical workload of these postures should be investigated in order to design car seats that provide passengers appropriate physical workload. This study aimed to investigate the feasibility of simulation-based physical workload evaluation of these postures by a musculoskeletal model. Twelve male students participated, and four electromyograms (EMGs) of the rectus femoris, tibialis anterior, gastrocnemius, and erector spinae were recorded with varying seat angle against the horizontal surface: 0° (i.e., sitting), 30°, 45°, 60° (i.e., perching), and 90° (i.e., standing). Results showed that the effect of the seat angle condition was significant for the EMGs of rectus femoris and erector spinae. In particular, the EMG of rectus femoris was relatively higher than the other three EMGs. The EMG of rectus femoris increased with the increase in seat angle in the range from 0° to 60°and decreased in the range of 60° to 90°. The musculoskeletal analysis was carried out with the same condition as the EMG measurement. The average height and weight of the participants were applied to the analysis model, and the muscle activities of the four muscles were estimated. As expected, the trend of muscle activity in the rectus femoris estimated by the musculoskeletal analysis agreed with the experimental result. The average absolute error of muscle activity in the rectus femoris between the experiment and the analysis was approximately 2.5%. From these results, it is suggested that musculoskeletal analysis can be utilized to estimate muscle activity of a spectrum of static posture from sitting to standing through perching.
Article
This cross-sectional study examined the physiological effects of two active chairs (AC1: had the feature to pedal and slide forward; AC2: was a multiaxial chair) compared to a traditional office chair and standing workstation. Twenty-four healthy participants computed at each of the workstations for 60 min. The active protocol was to alternate between a pedalling/side-to-side motion and sliding forward/front-to-back motion to the sound of a metronome operating at 40 bpm. The participants' physiological effects were recorded using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS); electrodermal activity (EDA) and a heart rate (HR) monitor for each collection period. Statistical analysis was conducted using a repeated measures analysis of variance for within-task and between-workstation comparisons. A Tukey's post hoc analysis was calculated for significant findings. Both active chairs significantly increased oxygenated blood in the gastrocnemius and participants' heart rate and EDA (stress) levels were affected slightly by task and time. However, participants felt more “productive” sitting in the control chair than in either of the active chairs.
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Purpose It is widely recognized that interior office space can affect health in several ways. Strategic and evidence-based design, including explicit design objectives, well-chosen design solutions and evaluation of results, aid realization of desired health effects. Therefore, this paper aims to identify possibly effective interior design strategies and accompanying design solutions and to provide examples of effectiveness measures. Design/methodology/approach A literature sample of 59 peer-reviewed papers published across disciplines was used to collect examples of workplace design features that have positively influenced workers’ well-being. The papers were grouped by their health objective and design scope successively and their theoretical assumptions, measures and findings were analyzed. Findings Four main workplace design strategies were identified. Design for comfort aims at reducing or preventing health complaints, discomfort and stress, following a pathogenic approach. It has the longest tradition and is the most frequently addressed in the included papers. The other three take a salutogenic approach, promoting health by increasing resources for coping with demands through positive design. Design for restoration supports physical and mental recovery through connections with nature. Design for social well-being facilitates social cohesion and feelings of belonging. Design for healthy behavior aims at nudging physical activity in the workplace. Originality/value By drawing complementary perspectives and offering examples of design solutions and effectiveness measures, this paper encourages workplace designers, managers and researchers to take a transdisciplinary and evidence-based approach to healthy workplaces. It also serves as a starting point for future empirical research.
Article
A user’s posture at a computer workstation, especially wrist posture, is determined by the keyboard angle. Most commercially available computer keyboards have a built-in positive slope that requires the user to extend their wrist approximately 20° when typing. The purpose of this study is to find the negative keyboard angles that minimize wrist extension for both sitting and standing workstations. In this study, we compared upper limb working postures, including those of the wrist, elbow and shoulder, at 5 different keyboard angles between −16° and +6° in sitting and standing postures. Based on our results, we can conclude that the optimal range of keyboard slope is from −4° to −12° in sitting posture and −8° to −12° in the standing posture in terms of minimum wrist extension, typing performance, and user preference. We also propose a universal keyboard support design as an attachment to currently available keyboards.
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Endoscopists are at a high risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) due to such as prolonged standing posture in endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD), which has recently been established as a therapy for early gastrointestinal cancer of the esophagus, stomach, and colon. We hypothesize that use of the sit-stand endoscopic workstation may mitigate the risk of ESD-induced MSDs. Therefore, this study aims to compare the effects of standing and sit-stand workstation on the subjective discomforts of endoscopists in their local body parts during ESD procedures. The following were set: 1) the standing condition in which the subjects had a continuous standing posture during operation procedures, and 2) the sit-stand condition, wherein the subjects could switch between sitting or standing at their own discretion. A stratified sample assignment of 104 ESD cases was conducted in the standing (n = 51) and the sit-stand (n = 53) conditions with repeated measures by four endoscopists. Local discomfort levels increased with operation time at all sites. Compared with the standing condition, however, the sit-stand condition suppressed the progression of subjective discomfort levels in the right knee/right lower leg (p = 0.01), right foot/right ankle (p = 0.04), left knee/left lower leg (p = 0.04), and lumbar regions (p = 0.10). Thus, the results suggest that the use of a sit-stand workstation could reduce the risks of MSDs of lumbar area and lower legs during endoscopic procedures. (長時間の立位姿勢などの同一拘束姿勢による内視鏡医の筋骨格系障害が報告されている.近年,内視鏡的粘膜下層剥離術(ESD)が食道・胃・大腸の早期がんに対する手術法として確立されている.長時間立位で行われることが多いESDに対して,sit-stand workstationが筋骨格系障害の軽減に役に立つかもしれない.そこで本研究はESDを行う内視鏡医に対して,sit-stand workstationの使用が身体の局所違和感に与える影響を検討することを目的とした.ESD症例104件は,常立位のStanding条件(n=51)と自らの裁量で立位・座位を切り替えるSit-stand条件(n=53)に層別割付された(内視鏡医4名の反復測定).両条件とも,すべての部位で手術時間の経過とともに局所違和感は亢進した.一方,右膝・下腿(p=0.01),右足・足首(p=0.04),左膝・下腿(p=0.04),腰部(p=0.10)において,Sit-stand条件ではStanding条件と比較し局所違和感の亢進は抑制されていた.sit-stand workstationは内視鏡手術における腰部や下肢の筋骨格系障害軽減に寄与する可能性がある.)
Article
Sit-stand workstations are growing in popularity, however limited guidelines exist regarding optimal schedules of sitting and standing. This was the first known study to observe sit-stand workstation schedules when postural change is based on maintaining musculoskeletal discomfort within 'acceptable' levels. Fourteen healthy adults new to sit-stand workstations completed computer-based work at a sit-stand desk for half a workday. Participants changed between standing and sitting postures each time discomfort reached the maximum acceptable threshold. On average, the amount of standing and sitting was greatest in the first standing (median 40 minutes, interquartile range 40 minutes) and sitting (median 30 minutes, interquartile range 115 minutes) bouts. Average durations spent standing and sitting were lower in all consecutive bouts. Stand-sit ratios indicated an equal amount of standing to sitting or somewhat less standing. The schedules had substantial inter-participant variability. Future studies should consider that optimal schedules may be variable in regards to time and individual-specific.Practitioner summary: Refined guidelines are needed regarding effective use of sit-stand workstations. This study proposed a novel method of investigating potentially optimal schedules, in which postural change was based on reaching a threshold of musculoskeletal discomfort. The findings suggest that an optimal schedule may vary with time and be individual-specific.
Article
Background: Computer workstation use is a risk factor for the development of musculoskeletal disorders. Governmental guidelines have been developed as a resource for workstation set-up to minimize this risk. The degree of worksite compliance with guidelines has not been examined. Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine workstations using the VDT Workstation Checklist to determine compliance, and potential modifications. Methods: Subjects were recruited from a variety of work settings in Erie, PA. Workstations were assessed with the worker present, using the VDT Workstation Checklist. Adjustments and recommendations were made as appropriate. Results: Of the 60 workstations examined, 48%did not receive a passing score. All but one were correctable to an acceptable level with minimal low-cost modifications. The recommendation for wrist rests (43%), changes in monitor height (30%) or position (27%) and reposition of the keyboard (13.3%) and mouse (13.3%) were the most frequent modifications. Ten (16.7%) workstations did not require modification. Conclusions: Almost half of workstations reviewed were not in compliance with current guidelines, however almost all (98%) could be brought into compliance with simple modifications. Office workers need guidance in setting up workspace and adjusting ergonomic equipment to provide comfortable and safe work settings and minimize musculoskeletal symptoms.
Article
The objective of this study was to provide a biomechanical comparison of two different types of active chairs (AC1 & AC2) versus a static chair (NAC). Thirty healthy participants were recruited: fifteen healthy females and fifteen healthy males. Participants worked at a computer workstation (1-h per chair). Equipment included: Pressure pads, Electromyography, Near–Infrared Spectroscopy, and Questionnaires (rate of perceived discomfort, seating discomfort questionnaire and exit survey). A significant increase in anterior–posterior postural sway was found on the seat pan with the use of the AC1. An increase in neuromuscular activity of the external obliques and an increase change in total oxygen index (%TOI) values in the gastrocnemius were also found using the AC1, however the difference was not much higher than the NAC and AC2. Lower discomfort scores in the gluteal area were found with the use of active chair AC1 compared to the NAC. Preliminary findings suggest that having an office chair with a split seat pan design shows potential to yield biomechanical and physiological benefits for the sitter, however further research is needed to better understand the ergonomic benefits of active sitting.
Article
Background: Due to the rapid growth of metropolises and the insufficiency of public transportation, nowadays, many people travel on these vehicles in a standing position. This position leads to discomfort and the risk of falling or non-collision incidents for the passengers. Objective: The present study was conducted to analyze an innovative sit-standing seat to prevent falls and non-collision injuries in standing passengers. Methods: A total of sixteen participated in this study. EMG signal and Borg scale were used to assess muscle activity and discomfort, respectively. Results: The mean Borg scale score for perceived discomfort was lower in the sit-standing position than the standing position in all body organs, except for the hips. Also, in the sit-standing position, the muscle activity of the soleus and medial gastrocnemius muscles was significantly lower in the constant velocity and entire phases in both legs, lower in the right leg in the acceleration phase and lower in the left leg in the deceleration phase. Conclusions: So this seat can be used as an innovative idea to improve the ergonomic condition of standing passengers to prevent falls and non-collision injuries on transit buses.
Chapter
Ergonomics is the science of properly balancing job demands with worker capabilities to prevent a mismatch in demands and capabilities. Mismatch between the capabilities and job demands can lead to cumulative trauma of the body. Using the traditional industrial hygiene methodology of anticipation, recognition, evaluation, and control, discussions will cover each area as it applies to the field of occupational ergonomics. Reflections of occupational ergonomics in the past, the current state of the field, and considerations for the future of the field will also be presented.
Article
Sit-stand desks continue to be a popular intervention for office work. While previous studies have reported changes in subjective measures, there is limited understanding of how sit-stand work differs from prolonged sitting or standing work, from a biomechanical standpoint. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of prolonged sitting, prolonged standing, and a sit-stand paradigm on changes in trunk stiffness, low back discomfort, and trunk muscle activation. Twelve healthy participants performed two hours of computer-based tasks in each protocol, on three different days. The sit-stand protocol was associated with a significant increase in trunk stiffness and a decrease in muscle activation of lumbar multifidus and longissimus thoracis pars thoracis, compared to both prolonged sitting and standing. Both sitting and standing were associated with increased low back discomfort. These findings may be worth exploring in more detail, for why alternating sit-stand patterns may help alleviate low back pain. Practitioner summary: We explored changes in objective and subjective measures related to low back discomfort following prolonged sitting, standing, and alternating sit-stand patterns. Alternating sit-stand pattern was associated with increased trunk stiffness and decreased back muscle activity. Hence, sit-stand desks may have benefits in terms of preventing/mitigating low back pain
Article
This study evaluated early and frequent seated breaks from standing work to reduce low back pain (LBP) in known pain developers (PD). Twenty-four participants, classified as either PD or non-PD during a separate 2-hour standing session, performed 124 minutes of standing work with seated breaks at a 3:1 stand-sit ratio with increasing durations from 3:1 minute to 48:16 minutes. Back pain and spine posture measures showed no differences between PD and non-PD. Females had greater left glutaeus medius activation (8.4%MVC) than males (4.5%MVC) and greater glutaeus medius co-contraction. This protocol was successful at reducing LBP in PD to the level of non-PD, with mean pain scores (13 mm) only slightly exceeding the clinical LBP threshold of 10 mm. Early and frequent breaks within the first hour of standing work appear to be an effective solution to reduce the LBP that often occurs at the beginning of standing work. Practicioner Summary: Sit-stand workstations may be an effective solution to reduce static occupational low back postures. This experimental study demonstrated that early and frequent seated breaks from standing work may be an effective solution to reduce tissue aggravation that often occurs within the first 45 minutes of a standing work exposure. Abbreviations: LBP: low back pain; PD: pain developer; NPD: non-pain developer; VAS: visual analog scale; EMG: electromyography; LES: lumbar erector spinae; TES: thoracic erector spinae; GMD: glutaeus medius; IOB: internal oblique; MVC: maximum voluntary contraction; CCI: co-activation coefficient; FDA: functional data analysis
Article
Background: In developing countries, the recent increase in computer-related work has considerably increased the occupational complaint of pain. Objective: To examine the effects of workstation design, posture and ergonomic awareness on the prevalence of pain for a year in the upper part of the body (eyes, hands, arms, shoulders, lower back, and upper back) among IT professionals in India. Method: To investigate the association of risk factors with the prevalence of pain in different body parts, a newly designed online questionnaire titled "A Questionnaire based on ergonomics for IT Professionals" was developed. The psychometric properties of this questionnaire were tested. 110 computer office workers were recruited from IT companies from major cities in India. Results: The confirmation of reliability and lack of redundancy of items was provided by the calculation of internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha 0.804) and cross-validation. 60% of participants was male. Mean age was 29.73±6.09 years. The prevalence of pain for a year in the upper part of the body was 38.2%. The frequently reported pains were in the neck (22.7%), lower back area (22.7%), and eye strain (21.8%). Conclusion: It was identified that long working hours, excessive usage of smartphones, lack of exercise, incorrect workstation adjustments, and incorrect posture were the risk factors for the prevalence of pain.
Article
It is clear that the cognitive resources invested in standing are greater than in sitting, but six of eight previous studies suggested that there is no difference in cognitive performance. This study investigated the effects of sitting and standing workstations on the physical workload and cognitive performance under variable cognitive demand conditions. Fifteen participants visited two times for testing sitting and standing workstations, and were asked to play two difficulty levels of Tetris game for 40 min while kinematic variables, CoP regularity, CoP SD, and cognitive performances were captured every 5 min. Results revealed a more neural posture in standing than in sitting, but using the standing workstation degraded attention and executive function. The CoP SD was 7 times greater in standing, but the CoP regularity was 1/4 in sitting, denoting greater attentional investment while engaged at the standing workstation.
Article
w Currently, there is no guidance on the training program approach that should be provided to new sit-stand workstation users to optimally integrate workstation usage patterns into their working day. The objective of this research study was to determine if a training program could influence long-term usage of sit-stand workstations. Thirty-five employees from the University of Waterloo volunteered to participate in this longitudinal study. Two different types of training programs were delivered: 1) an example from industry and 2) based on current literature. There was an influence of training program on the frequency of sit to stand transitions made each day. Those who received the additional training program also reported sitting less, standing more and used their sit-stand workstations more consistently day-to-day than those who did not. Practitioner Summary: A longitudinal study was conducted to assess the impact of training programs on sit-stand workstation usage. A training program based on current literature resulted in more consistent sit-stand usage than an industry example.
Chapter
The use of computers has been rapidly rising over the recent decade. In the recent past along with the usage of desktops, laptops and smartphones are widely used in most of the offices. With the advancement in technology in smartphones, people spend a lot of time using a smartphone for the basic need of networking. It was noticed that laptops and smartphones users tend to attain incorrect postures when compared with desktop users. It is the prime concern for the organizations to improve their work environment in order to optimize the health, safety, comfort and effectiveness of their employees. This paper is aimed to study the ergonomic interventions carried out to reduce pain and to improve the posture while working on desktop, laptops and smartphones. The ergonomic evaluation methods to assess the computer workstations are also laid out. This review will be helpful for the users to adjust their workstation correctly and designers to design the workstation to include better usability feature as per ergonomic guidelines during laptop, smartphone and desktop usage.
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Long periods of intense data entry office work have been linked to increased pain and musculoskeletal disorders. The current study investigated how postural changes mediated by workstation intervention influences the discomfort, postures, and productivity of call center professionals. Thirty-five call center employees were evaluated over two-weeks while performing their job in four different workstation conditions: 1) conventional, 2) sit-stand, 3) conventional with reminder software, and 4) sit-stand with reminder software. The reminder software resulted in reductions in discomfort in the shoulder, hand/wrist, upper back, and lower back. Small increase in the productivity of the workers was also seen for the software reminders. The sit-stand workstation was also effective in reducing discomfort with out decreasing productivity. Periodic breaks that encourage postural changes may be effective in reducing the adverse effects of prolonged static postures commonly found in office work without adversely impact productivity.
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Background Epidemiological research has established sitting as a new risk factor for the development of non-communicable chronic disease. Sit-stand desks have been proposed as one strategy to reduce occupational sedentary time. This formative research study evaluated the acceptability and usability of manually and electrically operated sit-stand desks in a medium-sized government organisation located in Sydney, Australia. Methods Sitting time pre- and three months post -installation of the sit-stand desks was measured using validated self-report measures. Additionally, three group interviews and one key-informant interview were conducted with staff regarding perceptions about ease of, and barriers to, use and satisfaction with the sit-stand desks. All interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed for themes regarding usability and acceptability. Results Of 31 staff, 18 completed baseline questionnaires, and 13 completed follow-up questionnaires. The median proportion of sitting time for work was 85% (range 50%-95%) at baseline and 60% (range 10%-95%) at follow-up. Formal statistical testing of paired data (n=11) showed that the change from baseline to follow-up in time spent sitting (mean change=1.7 hours, p=.014) was statistically significant. From the qualitative data, reasons given for initiating use of the desks in the standing position were the potential health benefits, or a willingness to experiment or through external prompting. Factors influencing continued use included: concern for, and experience of, short and long term health impacts; perceived productivity whilst sitting and standing; practical accommodation of transitions between sitting and standing; electric or manual operation height adjustment. Several trajectories in patterns of initiation and continued use were identified that centered on the source and timing of commitment to using the desk in the standing position. Conclusions Sit-stand desks had high usability and acceptability and reduced sitting time at work. Use could be promoted by emphasizing the health benefits, providing guidance on appropriate set-up and normalizing standing for work-related tasks.
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Sitting time is a prevalent health risk among office-based workers. To examine, using a pilot study, the efficacy of an intervention to reduce office workers' sitting time. Quasi-experimental design with intervention-group participants recruited from a single workplace that was physically separate from the workplaces of comparison-group participants. Office workers (Intervention, n=18; Comparison, n=14) aged 20-65 years from Brisbane, Australia; data were collected and analyzed in 2011. Installation of a commercially available sit-stand workstation. Changes from baseline at 1-week and 3-month follow-up in time spent sitting, standing, and stepping at the workplace and during all waking time (activPAL3 activity monitor, 7-day observation). Fasting total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose levels were assessed at baseline and 3 months (Cholestech LDX Analyzer). Acceptability was assessed with a 5-point response scale (eight items). The intervention group (relative to the comparison group) reduced sitting time at 1-week follow-up by 143 minutes/day at the workplace (95% CI= -184, -102) and 97 minutes/day during all waking time (95% CI= -144, -50). These effects were maintained at 3 months (-137 minutes/day and -78 minutes/day, respectively). Sitting was almost exclusively replaced by standing, with minimal changes to stepping time. Relative to the comparison group, the intervention group increased HDL cholesterol by an average of 0.26 mmol/L (95% CI=0.10, 0.42). Other biomarker differences were not significant. There was strong acceptability and preference for using the workstations, though some design limitations were noted. This trial is the first with objective measurement and a comparison group to demonstrate that the introduction of a sit-stand workstation can substantially reduce office workers' sitting time both at the workplace and overall throughout the week.
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We conducted a classification analysis to identify factors associated with sitting comfort and discomfort. The objective was to investigate the possible multidimensional nature of comfort and discomfort. Descriptors of feelings of comfort and discomfort were solicited from office workers and validated in a questionnaire study. From this study, 43 descriptors emerged. The 42 participants rated the similarity of all 903 pairs of descriptors, and we subjected the resulting similarity matrix to multidimensional scaling, factor analysis, and cluster analysis. Two main factors emerged, which were interpreted as comfort and discomfort. Based on these findings, we postulate a hypothetical model for perception of comfort and discomfort. Comfort and discomfort need to be treated as different and complementary entities in ergonomic investigations.
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The term comfort is often seen relating to the marketing of products like chairs, cars, clothing, hand tools and even airplane tickets, while in the scientific literature, the term discomfort shows up often, since it is used in research. Few papers explain the concept of a localized comfort experience in relation to product use, although people use these products daily. Therefore, in this special issue, the concept of product comfort is studied further. In this editorial an overview of comfort models has been made, evaluated with the papers from the special issue and a new comfort/discomfort model is proposed to increase our understanding of the factors influencing comfort and discomfort experiences.
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The obesity epidemic is attributed in part to reduced physical activity. Evidence supports that reducing time spent sitting, regardless of activity, may improve the metabolic consequences of obesity. Analyses were conducted in a large prospective study of US adults enrolled by the American Cancer Society to examine leisure time spent sitting and physical activity in relation to mortality. Time spent sitting and physical activity were queried by questionnaire on 53,440 men and 69,776 women who were disease free at enrollment. The authors identified 11,307 deaths in men and 7,923 deaths in women during the 14-year follow-up. After adjustment for smoking, body mass index, and other factors, time spent sitting (> or = 6 vs. <3 hours/day) was associated with mortality in both women (relative risk = 1.34, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.25, 1.44) and men (relative risk = 1.17, 95% CI: 1.11, 1.24). Relative risks for sitting (> or = 6 hours/day) and physical activity (<24.5 metabolic equivalent (MET)-hours/week) combined were 1.94 (95% CI: 1.70, 2.20) for women and 1.48 (95% CI: 1.33, 1.65) for men, compared with those with the least time sitting and most activity. Associations were strongest for cardiovascular disease mortality. The time spent sitting was independently associated with total mortality, regardless of physical activity level. Public health messages should include both being physically active and reducing time spent sitting.
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In mice lacking functional brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), the number of geniculate ganglion neurons, which innervate taste buds, is reduced by one-half. Here, we determined how and when BDNF regulates the number of neurons in the developing geniculate ganglion. The loss of geniculate neurons begins at embryonic day 13.5 (E13.5) and continues until E18.5 in BDNF-null mice. Neuronal loss in BDNF-null mice was prevented by the removal of the pro-apoptotic gene Bax. Thus, BDNF regulates embryonic geniculate neuronal number by preventing cell death rather than promoting cell proliferation. The number of neurofilament positive neurons expressing activated caspase-3 increased on E13.5 in bdnf(-/-) mice, compared to wild-type mice, demonstrating that differentiated neurons were dying. The axons of geniculate neurons approach their target cells, the fungiform papillae, beginning on E13.5, at which time we found robust BDNF(LacZ) expression in these targets. Altogether, our findings establish that BDNF produced in peripheral target cells regulates the survival of early geniculate neurons by inhibiting cell death of differentiated neurons on E13.5 of development. Thus, BDNF acts as a classic target-derived growth factor in the developing taste system.
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Adjustable sit-stand workstations, which are designed to allow workers to sit and stand autonomously while working, were examined to identify the effects on workers' musculoskeletal discomfort, alertness and performance. Twenty-four healthy subjects participated in the study. The subjects were required to do an English transcription task for 150 min under the following conditions: 1) sitting at standard workstations (Standard), 2) sitting on a chair with the work surface elevated to standing position (High-chair) and 3) a combination of 10-min sitting and 5-min standing with the same setting as that in the high-chair condition (Sit-stand). The subjective musculoskeletal discomfort scores indicated that High-chair and Sit-stand resulted in relatively higher discomfort levels than the Standard condition. Although the ratio between low-frequency (0.04-0.15 Hz) and high-frequency (0.15-0.4 Hz) components of heart rate variability (LF/HF ratio) in Sit-stand was higher than that in other conditions, there were no significant differences in subjective sleepiness among the three conditions. As for work performance, there was a tendency to be steadily high under the Sit-stand condition compared with other conditions, but not a significant difference. This study revealed that although the use of sit-stand workstations can contribute to keeping workers' arousal level steady, it has an adverse effect in light of musculoskeletal discomfort.
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Improvements in workplace, working posture, and discomfort need to be justified in terms of improvements in performance. Previously, a visual inspection task has been investigated. The objective of the current study was to demonstrate the interactions between workplace, work duration, discomfort, working posture, as well as performance in a 2-h typing task. Three levels of keyboard heights were used to change working posture (e.g. joint angles and postural shifts), and thus presumably discomfort (e.g. rating of perceived discomfort and body part discomfort), and performance (e.g. typing speed, error rate and error correction rate). The results indicated that the hypothesized posture-comfort-performance interrelationships were partially supported. Keyboard height had effects on working posture adopted. As in previous studies, the rate of postural shift was a good indication of discomfort in a VDT task. Discomfort and postural shift rate had adverse effects on performance (e.g. error rate). However, these effects on error rate may not be strong.
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Microbreaks are scheduled rest breaks taken to prevent the onset or progression of cumulative trauma disorders in the computerized workstation environment. The authors examined the benefit of microbreaks by investigating myoelectric signal (MES) behavior, perceived discomfort, and worker productivity while individuals performed their usual keying work. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three experimental groups. Each participant provided data from working sessions where they took no breaks, and from working sessions where they took breaks according to their group assignment: microbreaks at their own discretion (control), microbreaks at 20 min intervals, and microbreaks at 40 min intervals. Four main muscle areas were studied: the cervical extensors, the lumbar erector spinae, the upper trapezius/supraspinatus, and the wrist and finger extensors. The authors have previously shown that when computer workers remained seated at their workstation, the muscles performing sustained postural contractions displayed a cyclic trend in the mean frequency (MNF) of the MES (McLean et al., J. Electrophysiol. Kinesiol. 10 (1) (2000) 33). The data provided evidence (p < 0.05) that all microbreak protocols were associated with a higher frequency of MNF cycling at the wrist extensors, at the neck when microbreaks were taken by the control and 40 min protocol groups, and at the back when breaks were taken by the 20 and 40 min protocol groups. No significant change in the frequency of MNF cycling was noted at the shoulder. It was determined (p < 0.05) that microbreaks had a positive effect on reducing discomfort in all areas studied during computer terminal work, particularly when breaks were taken at 20 min intervals. Finally, microbreaks showed no evidence of a detrimental effect on worker productivity. The underlying cause of MNF cycling, and its relationship to the development of discomfort or cumulative trauma disorders remains to be determined.
In a controlled field study, effect of sit-stand workstations on foot swelling during the course of a workday was monitored in visual display terminal (VDT) operators. Six VDT operators first worked in offices furnished with nonadjustable sitting workstations. Then they worked in offices furnished with sit-stand adjustable furniture for six weeks. In the later setting, they stood for 15 minutes every hour. In both settings, the foot swelling was measured at 8 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. using a foot volumeter. Between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m., subjects walked for 20 minutes and sat for 40 minutes. The results showed that the average right foot swelling in offices with sit-stand adjustable furniture was significantly less than that in offices with nonadjustable furniture, 12.3 ml (1.1 percent) compared to 21 ml (1.8 percent). These results suggest that activity promoted using sit-stand workstations benefits sedentary office workers.
The effects of using an electric height-adjustable worksurface, with and without the addition of a negative-tilt keyboard tray, on wrist posture, comfort, typing performance and body movements was studied. Eighteen subjects experienced four test conditions: typing while sitting with the keyboard on a flat surface or negative tilt keyboard tray, and standing with the keyboard on a flat surface or negative tilt keyboard tray. Results show that the most neutral typing wrist posture (least wrist extension) was maintained when sitting rather than standing. There was a slight wrist posture benefit with the negative tilt tray for both sitting and standing. Sitting with a negative-tilt tray was the most comfortable condition. Sitting was more comfortable than standing. No performance differences between conditions were found. When sitting there was more foot movement than when standing. When standing there was more weight shifting than when sitting.
This study describes the approach taken and the results measured thus far from the introduction of sit-stand workstations in an office environment. Adjustable workstations have been developed and introduced in an office within United Parcel Service (UPS). A sit-stand workstation consists of the following components: modular panel walls, an adjustable front work surface, an adjustable rear work surface, and an adjustable chair. An employee can sit or stand while working and perform the adjustments to the workstation with fingertip ease and control. The job requirements of all of the employees using the new workstations are sedentary in which there is constant use of the computer to perform a variety of tasks. A training program was also introduced to review basic principles of human factors and ergonomics and to provide instruction in how to properly use the new workstations, chairs, and other accessories. Prior to the installation of the workstations, various benchmark data were collected including: production levels, absenteeism, and injuries and illnesses. A survey of body part discomfort identified areas that were of concern. Following the installation of the workstations, the same data have been and will continue to be collected to measure the effectiveness of the ergonomic interventions. Body part discomfort decreased by an average of 62 percent. Production in two departments that were monitored demonstrated improvement, however at this time the study cycle is too short to hypothesize long term results. The occurrence of injuries and illnesses decreased by more than half. Absenteeism did not show significant changes. These data will continue to be tracked to measure the results of the interventions.
A controlled field study was conducted to measure spinal shrinkage in office employees with sit-stand type workstations. Thirteen office employees, ten healthy and three with spinal disorders participated in the study. Using a stadiometer, changes in stature were measured at 8 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. From 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., all subjects sat for 40 minutes and walked for 20 minutes. Out of the ten healthy employees, six were instructed to stand for 30 minutes four times during the day. The remaining four subjects stood eight times 15 minutes each. Office workers who stood in 30 minute sessions experienced significantly less shrinkage than those who stood in 15 minute sessions. Office workers with spinal disorders also stood eight times 15 minutes each. They incurred a greater variability in the shrinkage pattern.
In a controlled field study, twelve office employees with computer-intensive jobs were monitored during the redesign of their work environment. Before office redesign, they worked in closed offices with four walls and sitting height, non-adjustable workstations. Then they worked in more open offices with three walls and sit-stand adjustable VDT workstations. The effects of this office redesign were evaluated three months post-occupancy. During the three months, employees worked standing for two hours every day. The results suggest that change in the office layout, i.e. open versus closed, increased the interaction and communication between employees. However, it significantly decreased employees' perceived privacy, and increased the amount of visual and noise distractions. In the offices with sit-stand adjustable furniture, subjects felt more energetic and less tired by the end of the workday.
Article
The relation between work load, work performance and work posture in a light repetitive task was investigated. Subjects were asked to do multiplication of one-digit numbers and to enter the answers on a key board. The task duration was 60 and 90min, either with a combination of sitting and standing postures or with no change of posture at all. In the ‘no change of posture’ condition, workload was higher and work performance was lower than that with combinations of postures. Compared to the time of changing postures, introduction of change at an early stage was more effective to reduce the workload and to enhance the work performance. The longer the task time, the lower the effects of changed postures. Change of posture was useful to reduce the monotonous feelings of fatigue on a short-term light repetitive task. On a short-term light repetitive task, change of posture is recommended to be introduced at an early stage. On a long-term task such as over 90min working time, a more effective improvement is suggested.
Article
Thirty three computer workers from two companies worked at fixed-height worksurfaces (FHWs) and then at electronic height-adjustable worksurfaces (EHAWs) for 4–6 weeks. Subjects completed survey questionnaires before and after using the EHAWs. Results showed significant decreases in the severity of musculoskeletal discomfort for most upper body segments. In the EHAW condition daily discomfort ratings were lower in the afternoon and productivity ratings improved. There was a strong preference for using the EHAWs. An attempt to assess any placebo effect met with limited success. Further studies are needed.
Article
Bank tellers are an occupational group at risk of musculoskeletal disorders due the physical and mental task demands. In an effort to reduce physical demands banks have introduced stools for tellers. However the literature suggests that constrained sitting or constrained standing are risk factors and that alternating work postures may be preferable. This study recorded the discomfort and preferences of 30 bank tellers who worked in just sitting, just standing and alternating sitting and standing work postures. Greatest discomfort in the upper limb was noted in the just sitting posture and greatest discomfort in the lower limb and back was reported for the just standing posture. Alternating between sitting and standing resulted in least discomfort and was reported as the preferred posture by 70% of subjects. Possible mechanisms for this pattern of results are discussed and alternating work postures recommended for bank tellers.
Article
This article explores whether the manager's physical office work environment can stimulate the manager's creativity. A total of 60 managers from a large manufacturing company participated in the study. They rated the creativity potential and physical elements of office environments shown in 25 photographs. The results indicate that offices differ in terms of creativity potential. Compared to offices with low creativity potential, offices with high creativity potential have lower complexity, more plants, bright lighting conditions, windows, cooler colors, and a computer facility. The results suggest that a good interior design of manager's office environment could stimulate a manager's creativity and could therefore contribute to an organization's innovation. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Article
Many people who experience chronic low back pain find that sitting upright for long periods of time can cause discomfort. For some, a measure of relief is achieved by lying down periodically throughout the work day. Devices exist that allow computer operators to work from a significantly reclined or supine posture. However, very little has been written to describe the impact of these alternate postures on typing performance and user comfort. This study used a modified tilt and recline wheelchair seating system and common desktop computer components to measure the impact of five different postures on typing performance and user comfort. The study required participants to complete a series of short typing tests (approximately 20 min) in each of the five postures. The results indicate that for short typing tasks, discomfort in upper extremities can cause significant differences in typing speed and user comfort in supine postures when compared to traditional upright typing postures.Relevance to IndustryUnderstanding the benefits and drawbacks of typing from supine or significantly reclined postures can lead to alternate computer workstations that may decrease repetitive stress injuries and increase employment opportunities for people with chronic low back pain.
Article
Sedentary tasks such as sitting or standing are often a required task components of industrial occupations. Due to automation, industrial job changes to more computer based tasks, and job ergonomic (re)design, the exposure to heavy lifting and awkward postures is being reduced and subsequently resulting in increased duration of work time spent in sedentary non-varying postures. Prolonged standing and seated exposures have been associated with the reporting of low back pain however the mechanism of this discomfort is not well understood. The purpose of this study was to determine whether muscle deoxygenation was one possible mechanism for the development of low back discomfort (LBD) during standing and seated exposures. It was hypothesized that during a prolonged exposure period, LBD would develop and the muscle oxygen saturation levels measured using near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) would change over time. Sixteen individuals stood for 2 h and eight participants were exposed to 1 h of simulated driving while back extensor muscle oxygenation was monitored over time. Eighty-two percent of the participants developed LBD as a result of the prolonged standing and seated protocols, which significantly increased over the exposure period (p < 0.0001). The NIRS measures over the right lumbar erector spinae were not significantly altered over time, had average levels above baseline resting values of oxygen saturation, and exhibited poor correlations with the perceived low back discomfort scores (r = 0.07–0.47) for standing and seated exposures respectively. These findings support the notion that the mechanism of LBD from exposure to sedentary tasks is not attributable to prolonged low-level static muscle activations that could occlude blood flow and the delivery of oxygen to working muscles.
Conference Paper
In this study 10 subjects worked two weeks in their rather new normal work station and two weeks in another work station. These VDU workers were trained and received a table making standing work possible. They also received a chair making half sitting possible. The effects on experienced variation in posture and discomfort were studied. It appeared that most of the time people work in the normal sitting situation (69% in the new and 90% in the old work station). Sometimes the half sitting and standing posture was used in the new situation. This new situation had a significant lower discomfort in the back, neck and shoulder region compared with the old situation.
Article
Background: Occupations that require prolonged periods of standing have been associated with increased reports of musculoskeletal disorders including low back pain. Previous work has utilized a prospective design of functionally inducing low back pain in previously asymptomatic individuals during a prolonged standing task. Increased trunk and gluteus medius muscle co-activation has been found in previously asymptomatic individuals who developed pain during standing compared with individuals who did not develop pain. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the subjective and biomechanical responses of known pain developers and non-pain developers (previously determined during level standing) when exposed to the same prolonged standing task protocol completed while standing on a +/-16 degrees sloped surface. Results: Overall low back pain scores were reduced by 59.4% for the pain development group, identified in level standing, when using the sloped surface. There was a marked decrease in the co-activation of the bilateral gluteus medius muscles in the known pain developers when standing on the sloped surface compared with level standing. However the non-pain developer group responded in the opposite direction by having an increase in the co-activation of these muscles, although they did not have a commensurate increase in low back pain. There were changes in both the postural and joint-loading variables examined. These changes were minimal and in most cases the sloped surface produced responses that bracketed the postures and loading magnitudes found in level standing depending on whether the participant was standing on the +16 degrees or -16 degrees surface. Conclusions: The sloped surface resulted in decreased subjective low back pain during prolonged standing. There were also associated biomechanical changes resulting from using a sloped surface during prolonged standing. These positive findings were supported in an exit survey satisfaction rating with 87.5% indicating that they would use the sloped surface if they were in an occupational setting that required prolonged standing work.
Article
Although using a treadmill workstation may change the sedentary nature of desk jobs, it is unknown if walking while working affects performance on office-work related tasks. To assess differences between seated and walking conditions on motor skills and cognitive function tests. Eleven males (24.6 +/- 3.5 y) and 9 females (27.0 +/- 3.9 y) completed a test battery to assess selective attention and processing speed, typing speed, mouse clicking/drag-and-drop speed, and GRE math and reading comprehension. Testing was performed under seated and walking conditions on 2 separate days using a counterbalanced, within subjects design. Participants did not have an acclimation period before the walking condition. Paired t tests (P < .05) revealed that in the seated condition, completion times were shorter for mouse clicking (26.6 +/- 3.0 vs. 28.2 +/- 2.5s) and drag-and-drop (40.3 +/- 4.2 vs. 43.9 +/- 2.5s) tests, typing speed was greater (40.2 +/- 9.1 vs. 36.9 +/- 10.2 adjusted words x min(-1)), and math scores were better (71.4 +/- 15.2 vs. 64.3 +/- 13.4%). There were no significant differences between conditions in selective attention and processing speed or in reading comprehension. Compared with the seated condition, treadmill walking caused a 6% to 11% decrease in measures of fine motor skills and math problem solving, but did not affect selective attention and processing speed or reading comprehension.
Article
Seated working positions are often regarded as a cause for discomfort in the musculoskeletal system. Performing work in different working positions--that is, alternating between sitting and standing (sit-stand workstation paradigm)--could help reduce physical complaints. The questions were whether performing office work partly in a standing position leads to reduced complaints and whether standing would change the efficiency of data entry office work. We investigated the effect of a sit-stand workstation paradigmd during experimental data entry office work on physical and psychological complaints and data entry efficiency by conducting a randomized controlled trial with 60 male participants ages 18 to 35 years. In this experiment, musculoskeletal complaints were reduced by a sit-stand workstation paradigm. A trend could be identified indicating a small but nonsignificant loss of efficiency in data entry while standing. A sit-stand workstation paradigm reduces musculoskeletal complaints without considerably affecting data entry efficiency under the presented study conditions (young male participants, short duration, fixed and controlled sit-stand workstation paradigm, simulated experimental working condition). According to the present data, implementing a sit-stand workstation paradigm can be an effective workplace health intervention to reduce musculoskeletal complaints. This experiment encourages further studies on the effectiveness of a sit-stand workstation paradigm. Experimental research and field studies that prove the reduction of complaints when introducing a sit-stand workstation paradigm in the workplace could be the basis for evidence-based recommendations regarding such interventions.
Article
The main objective of this study was to examine the effects of human-computer interface design on postural dynamics, i.e., changes in working postures and postural discomfort exhibited by operators of the computer-based remote bar coding (RBC) system. In addition, the effects of different work/rest schedules on postural dynamics were evaluated. Twelve subjects participated in the laboratory experiment, which consisted of twelve scenarios utilizing two cognitive task requirement factors, i.e., (1) information presentation mode, defined through the letter image preview on the computer screen (none or one preview image); and (2) the information processing mode, defined through the specific keying method (key all characters or key 5 digits only). The third experimental factor was the work/rest schedule (50 min work/10 min break, 2 h of work/15 min break, or flexible schedule). The results showed that requirements of human-computer interface design significantly affected the operators' postural dynamics. It was concluded that not only the physical, organizational, or psychosocial work environment characteristics, but also the cognitive task characteristics are important for assessment of postural effects in the VDT work. The relationship between interface design, mental workload and postural dynamics should be carefully considered in future studies aimed at optimizing the human-computer data entry tasks.
Article
Development, specification and evaluation of a work table, suitable for VDU work with a mouse, was carried out in collaboration with furniture manufacturers, employees and an employer in a Research and Development Company. Ten VDU-operators expressed their ideas for improvements at their present workstations and the company and the researchers made a preliminary version of workstation specification to the furniture manufacturers. The three different furniture manufacturers set up four test stations with prototype tables, which were evaluated by 39 subjects using comfort ratings. The results of the comfort ratings and comments from the subjects were used when the final specification for new workstations was made. Three new work tables were evaluated in the ten selected operators' ordinary environment. Evaluations were made by technical recordings of physical load during work and by preference studies. The most important results from the evaluation can be summarized as follows: the work table should make it possible to support the arms, make it possible to vary between sitting and standing posture and prevent extreme outward rotation of the shoulder. Futhermore, the study showed that it is possible to improve the furniture manufacturers' knowledge and attitudes regarding how to minimize musculoskeletal disorders and to improve the study persons' working technique.
Article
In recent years, a number of exercise programs have been developed for computer operators in order to promote movement and to reduce musculoskeletal discomfort. Tests of the effectiveness of these exercise programs, especially in field trials, are rare. The authors tested the hypothesis that doing regular, short-term (<10 days) exercises while at a workstation would decrease musculoskeletal discomfort and increase in-chair movement (ICM). Eleven directory assistance operators (8 female, 3 male) with no recent history of musculoskeletal problems volunteered. In-chair movement was measured by tracking the center of pressure at the buttock-chair interface as subjects sat on a pressure-sensitive mat. Musculoskeletal discomfort was rated through the use of the Body Part Discomfort Scale (BPDS) and a body map. We used a revised Dataspan exercise program. Operators were tested for 2 hours, on 2 occasions: before and after doing exercises for 3- to 5-day shifts. During each test, ICM was measured during three 15-minute periods at the start of the test and at the end of hours 1 and 2. Subjects rated musculoskeletal discomfort per body part using the BPDS at 30, 60, and 120 minutes of each test. The effects of exercises on ICM and BPDS ratings were examined with a two-way repeated-measures analysis of variance with day (2) x time (3) designs. When subjects were doing their exercises, ICM was higher at the start and hour 1, and perceived discomfort was lower during each test period (start, hour 1, and hour 2). When not exercising, subjects' musculoskeletal discomfort increased over time and was higher during all test periods. Exercises done by video display unit operators while at a workstation resulted in short-term decreases in both musculoskeletal discomfort and postural immobility. These results suggest that workstation exercises may be beneficial.
Article
The concepts of comfort and discomfort in sitting are under debate. There is no widely accepted definition, although it is beyond dispute that comfort and discomfort are feelings or emotions that are subjective in nature. Yet, beside several subjective methodologies, several objective methods (e.g. posture analysis, pressure measurements, electromyography (EMG) are in use to assess sitting comfort or discomfort. In the current paper a theoretical framework is presented, in which comfort and discomfort were defined and the hypothetical associations with underlying factors were indicated. Next, the literature was reviewed to determine the relationships between objective measures and subjective ratings of comfort and discomfort. Twenty-one studies were found in which simultaneous measures of an objective parameter and a subjective rating of comfort or discomfort were obtained. Pressure distribution appears to be the objective measure with the most clear association with the subjective ratings. For other variables, regarding spinal profile or muscle activity for instance, the reported associations are less clear and usually not statistically significant.
Article
The introduction of sit-stand worktables was examined in this study. Purchasers at four companies were interviewed regarding preparations prior to purchase, follow-up after installation, and if expectations had been fulfilled. Personnel at the four companies answered a questionnaire examining use of the worktables' sit-stand function, and the influence of some variables on this. Utilisation of the sit-stand function was less than what could be expected to relieve static musculoskeletal loading during VDU work. Pain experienced during the past year, and education on the use of the worktable gave rise to modest increases in utilisation. Investment in sit-stand worktables was satisfactory to purchasers, in terms of providing flexible furniture to suit modern organisational dynamics. Users were, in general, positive to the worktables, but showed poor compliance in using them. User and purchaser satisfaction with regard to improving individual health ergonomics was questionable in respect of the low level of usage.
Article
To quantify the relative contribution of work-related physical and psychosocial factors, individual factors, and health-related factors to the development of more severe musculoskeletal pain in the neck and upper limbs and the back and lower limbs. In this cohort study of 5,604 workers from industrial and service companies, we collected information on work-related physical and psychosocial exposures and on individual and health-related factors. Questionnaires were completed at baseline by 4,006 participants (71.5%) and after 24 months by 3,276 (82%). At followup, participants with no or minor pain were included in Cox regression analyses to determine which factors predicted more severe regional pain. Of the 4,006 baseline respondents, only 7.7% were free of regional pain. A total of 1,513 participants were free of severe pain at baseline and completed the 24-month followup. Highly repetitive work predicted arm pain, heavy lifting and prolonged standing predicted low back pain, and heavy pushing or pulling predicted lower limb pain. Low job satisfaction predicted neck/shoulder pain and lower limb pain, whereas other psychosocial work place factors were only of marginal importance. High levels of fear avoidance were associated with arm pain and lower limb pain. A high body mass index was highly associated with lower limb pain. Very few workers are totally free of pain in musculoskeletal regions, and we question the concept of incidence of musculoskeletal pain. The transition from no or minor pain to more severe pain was influenced by physical and psychosocial work place factors together with individual and health-related factors.
Article
Illness and illness behaviour are important problems in the Dutch workforce. Illness has been associated with job demands, with high demands relating to poorer health. It has not been reported whether subjective health complaints relate to job demands. To investigate whether perceived (physical and mental) workload and specific job demands are associated with self-reported health complaints. Cross-sectional study of a random sample of 983 male employees working in manufacturing industry. Job demands and health complaints were investigated using the self-completed Basic Occupational Health Questionnaire. The relationship between demands and health complaints were studied using logistic regression analysis with health complaints as the outcome variable. The questionnaires of 867 workers (88%) were suitable for analysis. The prevalence of health complaints was high. Physical workload was related to musculoskeletal symptoms. Standing work predicted pain in the legs and thoracic as well as low back pain, while sedentary work predicted low back pain. Heavy lifting predicted low back pain and pain in the extremities. Regular bending predicted low back pain and pain in the legs. Repetitive movements predicted pain in the arms and thoracic as well as low back pain. Mental workload was associated with fatigue and chest pain. Working under time pressure and working behind schedule were not related to self-reported health complaints. Perceived physical job demands matched with self-reported musculoskeletal complaints, whereas perceived mental job demands were unrelated to specific complaints.
Article
The objective of this prospective cohort study was to evaluate if peak or cumulative musculoskeletal discomfort may predict future low-back, neck or shoulder pain among symptom-free workers. At baseline, discomfort per body region was rated on a 10-point scale six times during a working day. Questionnaires on pain were sent out three times during follow-up. Peak discomfort was defined as a discomfort level of 2 at least once during a day; cumulative discomfort was defined as the sum of discomfort during the day. Reference workers reported a rating of zero at each measurement. Peak discomfort was a predictor of low-back pain (relative risk (RR) 1.79), neck pain (RR 2.56), right or left shoulder pain (RR 1.91 and 1.90). Cumulative discomfort predicted neck pain (RR 2.35), right or left shoulder pain (RR 2.45 and 1.64). These results suggest that both peak and cumulative discomfort could predict future musculoskeletal pain.
Thinking on your feet " : a qualitative evaluation of sitestand desks in an Australian workplace Does musculoskeletal discomfort at work predict future musculoskeletal pain?
  • A C Grunseit
  • J Y Chau
  • Van
  • H P Ploeg
  • A Bauman
  • H H Hamberg-Van Reenen
  • Van
  • A J Beek
  • B M Blatter
  • Van
  • M P Grinten
  • W Van Mechelen
  • P M Bongers
Grunseit, A.C., Chau, J.Y., van der Ploeg, H.P., Bauman, A., 2013. " Thinking on your feet " : a qualitative evaluation of sitestand desks in an Australian workplace. BMC Public Health 13, 365. Hamberg-van Reenen, H.H., van der Beek, A.J., Blatter, B.M., van der Grinten, M.P., van Mechelen, W., Bongers, P.M., 2008. Does musculoskeletal discomfort at work predict future musculoskeletal pain? Ergonomics 51 (5), 637e648. Hasegawa, T., Inoue, K., Tsutsue, O., Kumashiro, M., 2001. Effect of a sitestand schedule on a light repetitive task. Int. J. Ind. Ergon. 28, 219e224.
Development of a practical method for measuring body part discomfort
  • Van Der Grinten
  • M P Smitt
Van Der Grinten, M.P., Smitt, P., 1992. Development of a practical method for measuring body part discomfort. In: Advances in Industrial Ergonomics and Safety IV, pp. 311e318.