Open-Bench Office Seating Will Get Employees Moving

But they may be moving to get away from co-workers

Much like floor plans for homes, offices are embracing more open-space concepts.

Oftentimes that leads to cubicle farms that offer slight privacy, but a new study finds that open-bench seating – like your high school biology class where several students sat at one table with no barriers between them – may be less stressful and get people more active.

Dr. Casey Lindberg is a post-doctoral research at the University of Arizona’s Institute on Place and Well-Being and was a leader in a new study.  “We found that workers who were in open-bench seating arrangements, so when you’re seated you can easily see other people, had 32% more physical activity than those in private offices, and 20% more than those in cubicles,” he tells KTRH News.

His associate, physician Dr. Esther Sternberg, says they used sensors to track movement and heart rate of hundreds of participants in different work environments over three days. It’s the first time of a study of this nature has been conducted. She says what they don’t know specifically is what causes those people to move more often, and suggests that a lack of privacy could be prompting employees to leave their seats for phone calls or personal conversations, or to talk with other workers away from others.  Or they might be so annoyed by the people around them that they just need a break.

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