To Sit or to Stand? A Week with Stand-up Desks

As chairman of the Tocci Wellness Committee, I am always looking for new fun and healthy ideas to introduce to the company. From onsite fitness classes to working in our corporate garden, Tocci employees are constantly working to better themselves. As a result of our outstanding commitment to the program, we have been recognized with the 2017 WWCMA WorkWell Massachusetts Award. In order to maintain our status as a happy and healthy company, we must continue finding fresh ideas to implement throughout the year. So what’s next for the Tocci Wellness Committee you may ask? Stand-up desks.

Tocci is a construction management firm, so most of our staff sits for 8+ hours a day while using their computers. After work, the majority rush home to resume sitting in front of a television. In general, sitting has been the workplace standard for many jobs. It has been said that sitting is the new smoking. So how can we change this and spend more productive time standing at your desk? By doing so, you have the potential to drastically improve your overall health, productivity, and sense of wellbeing. I didn’t realize it at first, but there are many studies that show just how unhealthy it is to sit for such a long period of time. Additionally, when you are sitting, you are not burning very many calories. However, when you are standing, your blood is flowing and your metabolism increases. The demand for these adjustable height desks is driven by the need to improve the overall health of employees and in return, the ability to increase productivity, profits, employee satisfaction, and retention.

So after a little more research, I discovered that Varidesk was working with a partner on a pilot program to create a new kind of desk. I thought to myself, ‘Why not Tocci?’. I reached out and Tocci received six desks for a 2-month trial period. Each department had the opportunity to utilize a desk, and employees were put on a rotating schedule allowing a week trial period per user.

After the trial period ended, we sent out an employee participation survey and the results echoed the findings of many positive online reviews. These quotes are from some of the employees who were sad to see their standing desks go:

“What I liked most about the stand-up desk is that when I was working standing up, anyone coming to see me stands too; meetings are much quicker and more productive. We gather as a team around a stand up height monitor, without jamming our chairs around a desk to see a table height screen.”

“Loved the stand-up desk. My lower back started aching again when I went back to sitting…give me back my stand up desk, PLEASE!”

“I really enjoyed testing out the Varidesk. I loved being able to easily transition between sitting and standing to do my work. Two benefits I noticed while standing included: 1) better posture at the end of the day and 2) the ability to burn a few extra calories.”

“While I enjoyed the flexibility to both sit and stand, I found I was still sitting more than standing especially when I was under a deadline. As someone who’s taller than average, I found when the desk was in the tallest position, I was standing in the middle of the aisle and felt like I was taking up a lot of room. I’ve had jobs where I stand all day and ones where I sit all day, neither is a good for us so finding solution where we have both options would be ideal even if this particular one isn’t for us.”

Tammi standing at desk

“The Varidesk system had a fantastic impact on my energy levels in the office. I appreciated the wide range of mobility with the system- being able to stand or sit on a whim. It helped ward off my post-lunch sleepiness, and the floor mat was great cushioning after being on my feet for long periods of time. Also, because the stool engages your core a bit more while sitting, it helped to increase my energy and focus when I didn’t want to stand.”

“I loved testing the standing desks! It’s not just a health initiative; it actually helped my productivity and efficiency by keeping me alert throughout the work day.”

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