Resource Center

Stand Up to Work

Transform Grant Research Project

Title: Stand Up to Work
Research Team:
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai: Elizabeth Garland, M.D.; John Doucette(Principal Investigator), Ph.D.; Mary Foley, Ed.D; Krishna Baumet, M.D.; Sadie Sanchez, M.D., MPH; Inessa Lopez; Elyse Mallin, MPH; Dominique Peters; and Christina Su, MPH
Perkins+Will / AREA Research: John Haymaker, Ph.D., AIA, LEED AP; Hakim Hasan (Atlanta office), LEED GA; Phillip Ewing; and Rachel Casanova, LEED AP ID+C;
Steelcase: James Brewer
Center for Active Design: Abigail Claflin, MPH and Joanna Frank
Institution: Center for Active Design

Stand Up to Work evaluates behavioral changes in office workers who receive adjustable workstations (AWS) that allow them to shift between standing and sitting, compared to workers with traditional desks. Using a randomized controlled trial where half the participants—Perkins+Will Atlanta employees—were randomly selected from one floor to receive Steelcase AWS and participants on other floors maintained traditional desks, questionnaires and brief real-time polling (“micropolling”) were used to track the office workers’ health and wellness behaviors. The polling and questionnaires measure sedentary behavior, perceived stress, and ongoing behavior changes before installation of the AWS and at three months, six months, and twelve months following installation.

Compared with participants using traditional desks, participants who received AWS reported (through polling) significantly less sitting two and a half months after (17% reduction in sitting) and six months after (15% reduction) installation. After twelve months, 88% of participants who received AWS reported the new workstations were convenient to use; 65% reported increased productivity; and 65% indicated that the AWS positively impacted their health outside of the workplace. Participants with AWS also reported better concentration and overall, would recommend AWS for their worksite.


Stand Up to Work documents sedentary behavior in the workplace and the physical and social wellbeing of workers with AWS which allow workers to sit or stand, compared to those with traditional desks (TD). This randomized controlled trial surveyed AWS and TD participants, on multiple office floors, with two questionnaires (Workforce Sitting, Health and Work) before AWS installation, and three, six, and 12 months after installation. Participants reported current activity via micropoll three times per day for one week at both all time points and received a one-hour workplace wellbeing and ergonomics educational training.

Researcher Bio

Dr. Elizabeth Garland, principal investigator, is associate professor in the Departments of Environmental Medicine and Public Health and Pediatrics at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Since 2009, Dr. Garland has presented and published 14 abstracts with a focus on the health impacts of design strategies.

The Center for Active Design is a recognized expert in providing a multi-disciplinary perspective in the translation of health research into design solutions. Perkins+Will informs the design of an estimated 34 million square feet of space each year. An estimated 17 million square feet of this space is corporate office space.

Perkins+Will has extensive knowledge of interior design and experience implementing large-scale change to the work environment.

Steelcase has been bringing human insight to businesses by researching how people work, wherever they work for over 100 years. Those insights can help organizations achieve a higher level of performance by creating workspace ecosystems that unlock the promise of their people. Steelcase research has been shared in national and international publications, including in the Harvard Business Review.

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