More Employees Stand, Exercise While Working
At workplaces across the country, more and more employees are standing while working, or exercising while working. Two Boston-area companies say the trend is paying off, with healthier and more productive employees.
At Blue Cross Blue Shield in Boston, Pat Tarentino is working while walking, using a treadmill desk.
"It's great when you are starting to feel lethargic in the middle of the day. If there's a spot available, you jump on and it energizes you and helps you keep focused," said Tarentino.
There are six treadmill desks at BCBS offices. Employees sign up for an hour, burning calories and helping their heart while they work.
"You can almost not get on the treadmills. You have to book it in advance. It's terrific," said BCBS employee Susan Goldman.
Blue Cross Blue Shield installed the walk stations as part of a holistic program for their employees. It's giving some associates a leg up on a competition tracking how many steps they take each day. Tarentino logged in 7.499 steps.
"They find they are more alert and engaged as they are getting their daily work done. At the same time they are trying to improve their own fitness," said BCBS Chief Human Resources Director Jason Robart.
Studies show that desk workers who stood during the work day had lower levels of stress and anxiety, and increased blood flow and oxygen to the brain.
At TripAdvisor in Needham, a group of employees have pushed their chairs aside.
"You really do focus on your work because your energy is always at a higher level than if you were sitting. If you are sitting you can fall into a kind of trance and stop paying attention to your work. If you are standing, you've got a purpose," said Trip Advisor's Cindy Roche.
Not everyone stands, but those who do are hooked.
"I think it's changing the way I feel. It helps with back pain and it improves posture," said TripAdvisor's Amanda Jones.
The trend has even made its way into the conference room.
"We all stand for our meetings. We have all but eliminated cellphones, distractions from computers, and it makes us have to interact and give eye attention to each other," said TripAdvisor's Jennifer Ramcharan.
The new work stations are also big business. Height-adjustable work stations for sitting or standing are in most office furniture stores. And desks that fit around treadmills are gaining popularity. Blue Cross Blue Shield spent $20,000 for the six they installed