Rise of the Healthy Office

 

Citing mounting evidence that sitting for extended periods of time is unhealthy, the American Medical Association is urging employers to offer workers alternatives to sitting, including standing workstations.1

 

Physicians have been calling on Americans to get on their their feet for decades, but the AMA made it official at their annual meeting in 2013, adopting a policy recognizing potential risks of prolonged sitting and encouraging employers, employees and others to make available alternatives to sitting all day.

 

But it isn’t just physicians calling for a shift away from full-time sitting.

Employee Desires

 

A majority of employees say they want the option to stand on the job.2

 

In fact:

75% of full-time employees of large companies wish they didn’t spend most of their working hours sitting

84% prefer to sit and stand at will

61% dislike or even hate sitting all day

Productivity benefits

 

Employees also say they’d be more productive if given the choice to sit or stand at will,2 including :

60% of all full time workers

81% employees who wish that their employer would offer these workstations

Health Benefits

 

There are also health benefits associated with a reduction in sitting.

 

Twenty-five perfect (25%) of full-time employees admit they’ve previously sought medical treatment for aches and pains caused by their work environment. 2

 

Healthy Office furniture offers promising benefits when it comes to reducing aches and pains associated with work. A Stanford University back pain study found that sit-stand desk users were 78% more likely to report a pain-free day than those who used regular workstations.3

 

A study from the Division of Health Policy & Management at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health, found that sit-stand workstation users replaced approximately 25% of their sitting time with standing, and reported an increased overall sense of well-being, decreased fatigue and reduced appetite.4

 

Employees overwhelmingly adopted the use of these workstations and they were rated as “highly popular” with 96% of participants.4

What Does This mean For Retailers?

 

In order to better understand what these trends mean for the office furniture and supply industry, Deflecto commissioned Hanover Research to investigate the projected scope of the “Healthy Office” product category.

 

According to Hanover’s Preliminary Market Assessment, delivered to Deflecto in April 2017, the Healthy Office segment could represent up to one-third of the total Office Furniture Manufacturing industry sales in 3-5 years.5

 

By 2021, healthy/active furniture products could account for up to $9 billion of the total U.S. Office Furniture Manufacturing industry ($27.4B).5

 

Product segments in this space include:

* Healthy Seating – 16.6 percent ($1.4B)

* Healthy Desks – 7.2 percent ($650M)

 

Electric sit-stand desks range from approximately $500-2,000 apiece. Assuming this range is an acceptable proxy for estimating future market penetration of “healthy desks,” there could be between 325,000 – 1.3 million units in use across U.S. offices by 2021 (this estimate does not consider cheaper alternatives to dedicated sit-stand systems, so the real figure may be substantially higher).5

Sources:

  1. Brown, Eryn. “AMA to offices: Don’t make workers sit all day!” Los Angeles Times. 18 June 2013. Web. Accessed 05 April 2017.
  2. “Three out of Four Full-Time Employees of Large Companies Wish They Didn’t Spend Most of Their Working Hours Sitting” | Ipsos In North America. 19 Aug. 2010. Web. Accessed 06 Apr. 2017.
  3. Ognibene, Grant T. BA; Torres, Wilson BS; von Eyben, Rie MS; Horst, Kathleen C. MD, “Impact of a Sit-Stand Workstation on Chronic Low Back Pain: Results of a Randomized Trial”, Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: March 2016 – Volume 58 – Issue 3 – p 287–293
  4. Dutta, N.; Koepp, G.A.; Stovitz, S.D.; Levine, J.A.; Pereira, M.A. “Using Sit-Stand Workstations to Decrease Sedentary Time in Office Workers: A Randomized Crossover Trial.” Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014.
  5. Kurz, Johnathan (Hanover Research). “Re: Chairmats Preliminary Market Assessment.” Message to Gretchen Russell. 10 April 2017. E-mail.

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