Developing a Learning Culture

Could Standing Desks Improve eLearning?

You know that smoking, McDonald’s, and binge-watching Netflix isn’t great for your health, but you probably don’t think much of the hours that you spend sitting at your desk. Hey, it’s a necessary evil: You need to get your work done while glued to your computer and that plush office chair you have is actually pretty comfy.

But researchers at the American Cancer Society have found that men who spent six hours sitting in a chair had a 20 percent higher death rate than other men. And women? Their death rate was 40 percent higher. In fact, a lead researcher for the Mayo Clinic, James Levine, told the New York Times that sitting was, in fact, “a lethal activity.”

Okay, so that might be a bit dramatic. But still, spending day after day, hour after hour in your desk chair could have some adverse effects, so it’s no wonder that some offices are making the switch to standing desks.

eLearning & Standing

Usually, the idea of “just standing around” isn’t exactly one of peak performance. But while standing might not have the best reputation for efficiency, the idea of standing desks is making a big difference in production. Thanks to some of the major benefits of standing while working, corporate eLearning could get a major facelift in the form of standing workstations. Here’s how:

Physical Benefits of Standing While Working

One of the major reasons that hanging out in a plush office chair all day is so detrimental is the fact that it severely limits your physical activity each day. When eight hours of your day is dedicated to sitting, it doesn’t leave a ton of time for taking a jog around the park. Therefore, a standing desk can actually be a sneaky way to burn calories.

Another reason standing is great for your body? It encourages you to move around the office more than before. If you’re already standing, walking over to Bill in accounting is no big deal, but if you’re parked in a chair, you might be more likely to send an email.

Psychological Benefits

Some of the most significant benefits for a standing desk might be pretty mindblowing–literally. Standing actually improves both blood circulation and insulin effectiveness, two factors that contribute to energy levels and even cognition. In a 2012 case study published in Preventing Chronic Disease documented that when workers switched to standing desks, 71 percent felt more focused, and 66 percent felt more productive.

But standing isn’t only about increased focus. It can also affect on-the-job confidence. When standing–considered a “power pose”–you immediately feel more powerful, less stressed, and your body actually produces more testosterone than when you’re sitting.

Matching up the benefits of standing workstations to eLearning applications is a no-brainer. For learners who are confident, focused and energized, perhaps body position matters more than you think. Getting learners up and moving around could unlock better focus and retention than a roomful of desks, so standing while learning might become an integral part of your training strategy.