A lot has changed within the typical office since 1986, and thankfully so. In the ‘80s, cubicles became the ultimate space saver, allowing more worker bees to be crammed into a room to cut overall expenses. Unfortunately, this greatly affected the health of office workers. Working in such close proximity to others increased the risk of catching the latest contagious bug going around. The lack of proper ventilation in such cubicle-driven rooms also increased the chance of illness. By encouraging employees to stick to their cubicle, workers are increasingly experiencing back pain as well as musculoskeletal issues in the neck, legs and shoulders. Sitting in a cubicle can result in feeling a loss of control of one’s environment, which increases stress. Being continually subjected to the habits of co-workers sitting in such close proximity also adds to the tension. In addition, natural lighting has very little chance of making it in past the walls of a cubicle leaving workers to spend the majority of their day beneath synthetic lighting, which can often led to increased eye strain and headaches.
In 2016, standing desks have become the trend with their associated health benefits. When standing is an option, employees are able to stretch and move throughout the day, releasing tension in muscles and reducing the chance of lower back and neck pain. The lack of slouching in a seat assists in a more ergonomically correct station. A standing desk has been shown to correlate to a lower risk of obesity as well as a reduced risk of serious illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Standing stations have also been attached to improved energy and mood levels as well as boosting productivity.
Learn more about the transitions seen in the American office since 1986 by checking out the following infographic.