We've talked a lot about the impact of treadmill desks, including the health benefits, and how simply getting your blood flowing can help your focus. According to recent research, using treadmill desks do in fact make workers more productive.
The research, from the University of Minnesota and published in PLOS ONE, found that walking while working helps to boost productivity.
Researchers studied 40 employees of a Twin Cities financial services company. Each of their offices were refitted with a computer, phone, and a treadmill desk with writing space. The treadmills were operated by employees up to two miles per hour. Researchers studied participants for a year, with additional data about work activities and performance gathered through surveys. Each of the participants were also given an energy expenditure monitoring device a month before the treadmill desks were installed, and they wore these devices continuously for the duration of the study during waking hours.
The study found that the treadmills boost work performance, and participants were burning 7% to 8% more calories a day.
By the end of the study, workers' productivity levels had also increased. Initially, there was a decline while the participants made the adjustment to working while walking. Researchers used a 10-point scale to measure overall performance, based on quantity and quality of performance, and the quality of coworker interactions.
"For the duration of the study, productivity increased by close to a point," Avner Ben-Ner, co-author of the study, said. "That’s a substantial increase."
He added: "It’s a health-improving option that costs very little. I think there will be an increasing number of employers who will invest $1,000 or $2,000 in outfitting a persons’ workstation. The employer benefits from the employee being active and healthy and more smart because more blood is flowing to the brain."