Stanford Study good news for back pain sufferers on the job

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Sit-stand desk users are 75% more likely to report pain-free days than those working at traditional seated [sit-only] desks.

This is just one of the encouraging findings in the study conducted by Stanford University, “Impact of a Sit-Stand Workstation on Chronic Low Back Pain Results of a Randomized Trial.” Published online in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM) by Grant T. Ognibene, BA, Wilson Torres, BS, Rie von Eyben, MS, and Kathleen C. Horst, MD, the research concludes that low back pain may be improved by the introduction of sit-stand workstations.

The research confirms what our anecdotal evidence has told us, that the ability to change positions from seated to standing frequently throughout the workday gives workers some measure of relief from certain low back pain issues.

Back pain continues to be a key issue in terms of employee health and safety as well as a drain on business productivity in absenteeism, presenteeism, and increased worker’s compensation rates. It is estimated that 31 million Americans are experiencing back pain1, and the prevalence of global back pain is estimated to be around 23%2. Not only do businesses feel the impact of people out of the office dealing with pain, but workers themselves suffer from the physical and emotional stress of not being able to work as they would like.

The real good news here? Participants began to experience an improvement approximately 15 days after the sit-stand computer workstation was installed. And associated benefits included increased concentration: 95% of participants reported significantly lower back and neck pain, noting the pain was significantly less likely to interfere with their ability to concentrate.

“Our sit-stand workstations allow seamless movement between sitting and standing positions, offering users ergonomic comfort in addition to many other health-related benefits,” said Pete Segar, Ergotron CEO. “We will continue to build on our WorkFit product line with products like the WorkFit-T and WorkFit-TL to improve the health and productivity of the world’s office workers.”

The study, conducted onsite at Stanford, used a combination of 46 Ergotron WorkFit-SWorkFit-A, and WorkFit-A Premium sit-stand workstations dependent on the worker’s desktop requirements.

This promising research is the first of what we hope many studies that explore some of the questions from this pilot: pain improvement happened slowly – would it continue to improve over a longer period? These folks already suffered from lower back pain – how part does adoption and use of sit-stand workstations play to prevent the onset of lower back pain? Would comprehensive ergo training in conjunction with SSW make for even greater improvement?

  1. Jensen M, Brant-Zawadzki M, Obuchowski N, et al. Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Lumbar Spine in People Without Back Pain. N Engl J Med 1994; 331: 69-116.
  2. 2. Hoy D, Bain C, Williams G, et al  A systematic review of the global prevalence of low back pain. Arthritis Rheum 2012;64:2028.

Make it a happier, healthier, Ergotron new year!

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With the New Year just a few days away, healthy habits may be inspiring you toward an amazing 2016. Set yourself up for success with these highly innovative solutions for healthy computing at work, school, or home. They’re guaranteed to have a positive impact on your life:

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Instantly move to sit or stand as you work with our ultra easy standing desks, such as the WorkFit-T Sit-Stand Workstation. Quickly convert a tabletop into a healthy sit-stand workstation! For all you options, learn more> Or take a peek at our ever-popular LX Arm frees up space and allows easy positioning of your display.

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LearnFit™ Adjustable Standing Desk for students keep kids active and engaged in the classroom. Students can instantly and intuitively personalize the desk to their preferred height. Learn more or hear what teachers and students are saying at Ergotron.com/spotlight.

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The nimble SV10 Laptop or Tablet Carts effortlessly moves to the point of need and offers easy height adjustment. It’s one of the innovative new Ergotron products built with Anthro-DNA™! That mark signifies design and engineering experience our new brand Anthro brings to expand your options at Ergotron. Learn more>

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The new ErgotronHome™ Workspace™ Hub27 cabinet brings order and charging power to your home-tech. Better yet, it doubles as a wall-mounted standing desk, for less sitting time after hours. ErgotronHome’s WorkSpace series — the Hub and Lift products — are now shipping. Learn more>

 

We’re betting you’ll find it so easy to put your New Year’s resolutions in play. Until then, have a safe and happy holiday from all of us at Ergotron!

ErgotronHome™ Workspace™ Hub27 Wins CES Award

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Consider us #honored! The Consumer Technology Association has named our space-saving ErgotronHome™ Workspace™ Hub27 as a CES 2016 Innovations Award honoree in the Computer Accessories category. CES recognized the Workspace Hub27 as a cutting-edge tech product with outstanding design and engineering.

The new Hub27 is a slim cabinet that brings order and charging power to cluttered areas of a home. (Who couldn’t use a little less home-tech chaos?) Better yet, it doubles as a wall-mounted standing desk, so you can tick off items on your to-do list and break up unhealthy sitting periods.

As you may know, ErgotronHome is our recently-launched, style-driven brand, built on our 35 years of ergonomics expertise in the workplace. Now you can extend healthy movement into your home, whether sorting mail, paying bills, or updating your social network!

Read the news >

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Rhode Island schools take active approach to learning


It’s a new day in Providence, RI, for 360 High School and West Broadway Middle School. Volunteers from the schools, Nortek, Inc., and Ergotron installed LearnFit™ Adjustable Standing Desks in a unique pilot designed to help the schools test the sit-stand concept in real-time. @BiancaBuono covers the story at ABC6 News.

For more information on other schools around the country visit Ergotron.com/spotlight or hear about Virginia’s Alexandria Country Day School and their decision to adopt sit-stand on a broader scale in this USA Today report.

 

Innovations in Learning from the EdSpaces Education Show

 

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I just returned from the EDspaces 2015 show for education furniture. The attendees were largely educators, architects and designers, and resellers seeking to use new furniture concepts to improve learning objectives. Among what I expected to see there, there were also a few surprises. Here are my “cliff” notes from the event if you couldn’t attend:

  • Introducing motion into the student’s day. There is significant interest in this topic, most certainly fueled by all the recent research proving the benefit of reducing sedentary time. One of the award winners had a wide range of bicycles, walkers and elliptical mechanisms built into desks—a seemingly good idea, but expensive, complex and space-intensive. Perhaps a good specialty solution. Hat’s off to them for their efforts.
  • Standing desk solutions are starting to emerge. Ergotron’s Bob Hill gave an excellent talk surveying the research supporting the value of standing desks, and discussing how the early adopters have achieved success in their schools. The questions being asked by the audience were not exploratory, rather they had detailed questions about how to successfully implement, such as deciding how many chairs need to be planned in a classroom of standing desks. A key point was the need for student-adjustable desks.  In a recent article in FastCompany, the principal of Vallecito Elementary says, “Our current favorite desk has some of the things we need, but is cumbersome to adjust and requires an army of parent volunteers to adjust the desks in each classroom to fit each child. This is obviously not scalable across the country. …”
  • Collaboration is a top educator priority, but solutions are haphazard. There is clearly a strong desire to provide flexible, re-configurable desk solutions. However, ironically, the most common desks that are touted as collaboration solutions appear to be odd-shaped regular desks. Kidney shaped, trapezoidal, interlocking organic shapes. They look nice, but few are mobile, few allow for height adjustability, and few readily allow the students to reconfigure the classroom quickly.   Also there appears to be more attention to color than to performance. The key to developing the ideal collaboration products will be to provide prototypes to innovative educators, and cooperatively work on developing new solutions.
  • Cheapo tablet/laptop charging carts…yikes! Among the exhibitors there, there were lots of manufacturers with cheap charging carts with power strips. Some even were made of particle board. Please understand that computing devices and their power bricks give off a lot of heat during charging, and they also can draw enough power to blow a circuit breaker or overheat. At a minimum, these carts can reduce lifetime of your computing devices by overheating them, but more seriously, they can be fire hazards. Buy a safe cart with power management and a metal or flame retarded housing please!! The number of fires allowable in a school is ZERO. Look for UL certification labels.
  • Knockoffs. I was surprised to see copies of one of our products and some other top manufacturer’s products. Please don’t buy copies—it takes a lot of research and development to create a ground breaking product.

I am convinced that this is the beginning of a major trend towards standing desks that will improve our student’s health and learning outcomes. Check out emerging research on juststand.org.

By Pete Segar, CEO, Ergotron Inc., President, Nortek Ergonomics and Productivity Solutions

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WorkFit-A, Platinum: Life Changer for a Creative

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Creative folks want the ultimate freedom — to do things in their own unique way. Meet Justin, a graphic designer applying his magic to branding projects across the nation. Only problem: a traditional seated workstation was cramping his style, both physically and creatively. 

With the new WorkFit-A workstation, Justin now has the option to stand up and create whenever he likes throughout the day. He notes that his work has improved, his body feels better, and his tension is gone.  He also appreciates the WorkFit’s amazing functionality and design. It’s been a life changer for him. 

Want that same freedom to sit or stand? See Justin’s story

Brand on!

Ergotron Named Winner of Two Tech & Learning Awards

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Great ed-tech news! Ergotron was recognized by Tech & Learning Magazine with two Award of Excellence designations for innovative solutions to aid student health and academic performance in our schools.  Products honored were the new-category creating, mobile Ergotron LearnFit™ Standing Desk for students, and the Anthro wall-mountable YES Charging Cabinet that powers up mini-laptops in cramped classrooms and media centers.

Tech & Learning’s prestigious Awards of Excellence program recognizes innovative technologies that break new ground as education tools. Winners are selected by panels of professional users, editors and a panel of more than 30 educator judges who tested hundreds of products for their quality, effectiveness, and ease or creative use of technology.

White House requests $700k for standing desks

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America: Stand Beside Her and Guide Her
If the recent White House requisition for standing desks proves anything, it’s that the quest for a healthier lifestyle is not divided along partisan lines. Prominent public figures known to use standing desks include Donald Rumsfeld, Winston Churchill, Oliver Wendell Homes, Jr., and Benjamin Franklin. Notable writers who stood include Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf and Oscar Hammerstein II.

Predictably, the US government support of sit-stand desks has come in the form of modeling best practices rather than by mandate by law. Our safety standards for office workers tend to be conservative when compared to the European Union, which considers height adjustable standing desks an ergonomic necessity.

The Thousand Dollar Toilet Seat
It should come as no surprise that some citizens are crying out that the expense is too great and the money better spent on other necessities. An outlay of $700,000 over 5 years does sound excessive; even when broken down over 60 months it comes to $11,666.666, which apart from anything else is not an auspicious series of digits.

How will government workers benefit from this expenditure? Is the standing desk just another symptom of government running off with our collective check book? Are we figuratively flushing good money after bad? I don’t think so. Several independent researchers have found that an effective sit-stand desk such as Ergotron’s WorkFit line can reduce sedentary time by 50% per day among average knowledge workers. Given the documented harmful effects of sitting too much, this translates as a reduced risk for muscular skeletal and cardio metabolic risks for employees.

Fig. 1 Harmful effects of sitting

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Let Freedom Ring

While reducing risks associated with sedentary time promotes health and wellbeing, there is a less concrete benefit that was first verified in the land of our forefathers: Great Britain. The Whitehall study was originally designed to prove that people in higher levels of management were more stressed than those they managed. As it turns out, the lower you are on the company ladder, the more stress you’re liable to experience.

What accounts for fewer health concerns among executives? One explanation is autonomy. People who have no choice in the tasks they do, and when they do them, suffer from a lack of decision latitude that can severely limit their performance and productivity.

On the other hand, people in offices who were given sit-stand desks were able to exercise some control over the way they worked with the simple choice to change postures at will. It came as some surprise to researchers that something as simple as this could elevate mood, energy and concentration!

Crown Thy Good With Brotherhood
With evidence-based data showing adjustable standing desks can help mitigate sitting-related diseases AND enhance performance and productivity, the American government, indeed any government, is exactly the place where you want this investment made. Can’t you just picture it? A sit-stand attachment on the President’s desk in the Oval Office? History in the making…

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Carrie Schmitz, Sr. Manager of Ergonomic & Wellness Research at Ergotron (@giveafig)

 

Counter-balanced sit-stand for employee well being

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I just read a very practical research review article in Ergonomics in Design entitled, “Is Standing the Solution to Sedentary Office Work?” by Jack P. Callaghan, et. al.  It provides a suggested ratio of 1:1 alternating between sitting and standing, with no more than 15 minutes of standing at a time.  That is good practical guidance supported by a number of research studies.

This is certainly consistent with one of the basic tenets of ergonomics, that frequent re-positioning aids comfort by avoiding repetitive stress or static overload.  However, for a typical knowledge worker that computes for six or more hours per day, this means moving between sitting and standing positions 24 times per day.

Is this reasonable?  It depends on the desk.  When one is using an electric desk, the workflow is interrupted by waiting for the desk to reach the proper ergonomic position to start computing again. An electric desk that takes 20 sec to re-position will waste a total of 8 minutes per day if it is re-positioned according to the guidelines.

In American Journal of Preventative Medicine, an article by Dr. Lucas Carr et al. entitled “Cross-sectional Examination of Long-term Access to Sit–Stand Desks in a Professional Office Setting” observed Swedish call center workers with access to counterbalanced spring or electric hoist sit–stand desks for a longer, albeit unknown, duration, and concluded, “It is possible that use of sit–stand desks declines over time and is dependent upon lift type, as more convenient lifts may translate to greater standing.”

This is one of the main reasons why I believe a counterbalanced workstation (where the weight is supported by a spring lift mechanism), promotes health more effectively than an electric desk.  A good counterbalanced desk can be re-positioned virtually instantly, and can be done without disturbing the worker’s thought process. If the worker perceives the effort of re-positioning is too great, they will revert back to sedentary behaviors and begin sitting for longer periods of time, or perhaps standing all the time and experiencing leg or back discomfort.

Wellness experts advise that when you start standing, aim to start in small regular intervals, rather than forcing yourself to stand all day for the first day. The aim should be to get to the point where you can spend half of your working day standing within four weeks.  This can be accomplished with a gradually increasing schedule of standing from 10 minutes per hour in Week 1, to 20 minutes each hour in Week 2 and finally 30 minutes per hour by Week 3. If you experience fatigue or discomfort, ease off a bit. A counter-balanced workstation allows the worker to accomplish this, by easily moving as the worker moves. The workstation becomes an extension of the worker, without a lot of thought need to keep it working with them.

Electric desks still excel for very heavy weights, and highly variable loads; however for a normal office worker with dual or triple monitors and normal levels of paperwork, a counterbalanced desk is going to be substantially easier and quicker to lift and lower, and therefore will be more effective promoting comfort. Furthermore, they do not require electrical power, and are quieter.

Some people will continue to sit longer than 15 to 30 minutes. Some will continue to stand more than two to 30 minutes. But whichever position they are in, switching to the next position can be, and should be, instantaneous.

By Pete Segar, CEO, Ergotron Inc., President, Nortek Ergonomics and Productivity Solutions

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Say Hello! to our lightest medical cart yet

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Nurses, you asked and we listened! The StyleView® SV10 cart is the simple solution when a full-blown computer cart isn’t necessary – perfect for EMR and telehealth applications. Ergotron and Anthro combined their deep experience in healthcare to design a streamlined cart that delivers the quality nurses and IT have come to expect from us. The SV10 cart is big enough to get the job done, but small enough to fit into tight quarters like exam rooms, roll right up to a patient’s bedside, or stow in a closet! Easy.

Effortlessly move each cart to the point of need, securely accommodate your device, and position it for comfortable data entry and screen viewing. The carts offer 15″ (38 cm) of effortless vertical height adjustment so you can sit or stand as you work.

Choose from these THREE models to match your device:

StyleView® Laptop Cart, SV10 securely holds your laptop and locks it in place!

StyleView® Tablet Cart, SV10 positions your device screen at the perfect angle!

Or for Microsoft Surface users, the StyleView® S-Tablet Cart, SV10 has an innovative magnetic attachment which holds the screen where you want it.

Want to add power to the SV10 cart? Need to attach a scanner to it? No problem. Customize the SV10 cart with the accessories you need. (See product pages for details.)

Whether it is a light-weight cart like the SV10, or a fully loaded med transfer cart, finding the solution is easier than you think. Try our Medical Cart Finder for your best fit.