Sit-Stand Work Stations in the Classroom Increase Attention and Productivity August 24 2017
Children come in a variety of shapes and sizes and classrooms are often used as multi-purpose or elective rooms where they serve diverse age groups. With that knowledge, how does it make sense that every desk should be one standardized size? Smaller children run the risk of letting their legs swing if their feet cannot reach the floor and larger children can become cramped, restricting blood flow. When a student is preoccupied with how uncomfortable they are, they’re unlikely to be able to sustain their attention span or absorb information very well.
Regardless of body size, it is also known in the ergonomic community that postural variation is the best way to maintain productivity and combat the very real development of musculoskeletal disorders from sitting OR standing in one position for too long. Extended sitting positions put strain on the lower back, neck and shoulders while extensive standing affects the spine, hips, legs and feet. Either way, holding one position for an extended period of time isn’t good for your body. An article published by Cornell University states that:
"…sit-stand workstations, that can be quickly adjusted, allow each worker to modify the height of their work surface throughout the day, and this may reduce musculoskeletal discomfort and improve work performance."
Introducing the Sit-Stand Desk to the Classroom
Allowing students the ability to adjust their desk based on their height as well as switch between sitting and standing will increase their attention and productivity throughout the day. A sit-stand workstation can be considerably effective for students that tend to fidget or shift in their seats often. Constant shifting or stretching while seated is symptomatic of musculoskeletal discomfort and indicates the time that which you should then start standing or take a break from working for a moment.
With an adjustable standing desk, students of any shape or size can comfortably learn while standing. Providing a stool or other comfortable ergonomic option for seating will allow the student to go back and forth from sitting to standing with ease. This flexibility in posture and position prevents any one part of the body from becoming strained over time. Keeping the blood flowing and the child engaged will sustain their energy throughout the day and prevent restlessness.
Looking Towards the Future
While younger children may currently have more flexible muscles and bones, that does not mean they’re not susceptible to developing bad postural habits now that will follow them throughout their life. By providing students a way to express their restlessness and choose a posture and position most comfortable to them, you’re teaching them to stay in tune with their body’s discomfort. These lessons can keep children healthy and mindful of their joints and muscles to provide a lifetime of ergonomic health benefits. Ideally, having sit-stand workstations in every classroom in the future will create a generation of people knowledgeable of how the work they’re busy doing with their mind affects their body.