Downsides to an Active Workstation?

Downsides to an Active Workstation?

By:  Julie Knight I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal, entitled, “Falling Down on the Job?” in which the reporter analyzed  the use of different types of active workstations in the office. The reporter looked at the treadmill or walk workstation and the rubber ball since they are the most used item in the current office environment.  In the article, it cited several different studies and statistics to back up the story. For instance, a 2011 Mayo clinic study which included 11 medical transcriptionists showed that typing accuracy and speed while walking slowed down by 16% as compared to a person sitting. And a 2009 University of Tennessee study found that up to 11% of treadmill walkers had deteriorated fine motor skills such as mouse clicking, dragging and dropping and a decrease in cognitive functions such as math-problem solving. Further studies, such as a 2009 British study, found that the posture of 28 employees that sat on stability balls was as poor as those who sat in chairs. And a Dutch study published in Applied Ergonomics showed that 33% of subjects had more compressed vertebrae in their backs. Additionally, in 2011, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which tracks product-related incidents, cited that treadmill injuries in any environment totaled 37% of all exercise-equipment accidents with numbers of 62,000 incidents reported. These injuries included chest contusions, foot lacerations and knee sprains. Some companies that have incorporated treadmill workstations into their facility have asked employees to sign waivers before using the equipment.  And these waivers include whether the user can have beverages while operating the machine as well as wearing appropriate footwear. Some companies are stressing that employees do not wear high heels, walk slower than two miles per hour and keep a regular desk and chair to give the employee a break. But the biggest thing I took away from the article was that the while the health benefits of sitting less  help to cut heart disease and obesity, the productivity increase of this type of workstation are not so clearly defined. In fact worker injury and LTI (Lost Time Incidents) might increase. Read the article in its entirety here.

Comments are closed.