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Why investing in the right workstations makes good financial sense by Rick Milford

When the first lockdown came into effect last year and businesses were forced to embrace remote working with little or no time to adjust, most companies rose to the challenge. Spend on equipment such as laptops and tablets rose considerably as directors and team leaders scrambled to make sure staff had everything they needed to do their jobs away from the office, however a good home set up goes beyond IT hardware.

Many were using their brand new devices propped up at their kitchen table or stooped over the coffee table. Whether at home, or in the office, not sitting correctly can play havoc with our postures and overall health, and employees who are at optimal health tend to be more productive and happier in their roles, so it makes sense for business owners to invest in the right workstations too.

Sit-stand desks are becoming increasingly popular, for the following reasons:

Fewer sick days

It’s becoming widely accepted by organisations like the NHS, that sitting down for too long can cause health problems. As well as being a primary cause of musculoskeletal problems in the back, neck and shoulders, it can also be behind wider issues such as digestive problems, repetitive strain injuries, and a slowed metabolism. In turn, this leads to weight gain which can result in more serious conditions including diabetes and heart failure.

It goes without saying that conditions like these lead to an increase in sick leave, and sick days costs the economy an average £77.5 billion each year. As well as lost revenue, it’s also a bit of a nightmare from a logistics perspective, arranging for work to be covered at the last minute and placing extra strain on other team members. If you could prevent this, why wouldn’t you?

Introducing sit-stand desks to your business goes some way to reducing this by improving employees’ postures while working. Standing with a straight back, even just for part of the day, can reduce an individual’s chance of getting diabetes and cancer, as well as lower their risk of obesity and heart attacks.

Being in better overall health doesn’t just mean fewer sick days, it enables you to work at full capacity. Plenty of us have managed to drag ourselves into the office with a headache or backache, but been less than 100% effective once we’re there, but over time this loses you money too, which brings us on to the next point.

 An increase in productivity

As well as increasing your sense of urgency, standing up increases blood flow. Moving positions regularly also helps you focus and improves your overall energy levels

In fact, a study from the NHS showed that employee productivity increases by 10% when using standing desks. The research, which was led by Loughborough University, assessed 146 mainly sedentary NHS staff, finding participants to be less tired, more engaged, and even enjoying an improved quality of life.

Of course, these improvements are scalable too. One employee becoming 10% more productive might bring only marginal gains, but multiply this across your entire workforce, and the increase in output, results and money generated is not to be ignored.

Increased staff retention

A high staff turnover is a drain on resources, from recruitment fees, to training, to getting new team members up to scratch. It also has an impact on your customer retention too, and as we’re all aware, it costs less to retain a client than win a new one.

To retain your workforce, you of course need a happy workforce, and the health benefits that come from investing in the right workstations go a long way to making your employees more comfortable, with a better quality of life. Aside from this though, you’re demonstrating the emphasis you’re placing on their wellbeing. We’re in a time where younger generations in particular are placing more priority on workplace culture, wellbeing, benefits and work-life balance than simply salary and job titles.

To create a culture that employees and clients both come for and stay for, you first need to create the right environment, and sit-stand desks can create a more open and accessible workplace that encourages collaboration.

 Rick Milford is director of HADO, a company specialising in height adjustable desks.

2018