Standing While Studying May Boost Pharmacy Students' Productivity

Nonstop standing is a common complaint among pharmacists, and it has been shown to cause muscle fatigue.

Nonstop standing is a common complaint among pharmacists, and it has been shown to cause muscle fatigue.

For pharmacy students who are spending many hours sitting and studying, however, there may be some benefits to using a standing desk.

New research published in IIE Transactions on Occupational Ergonomics and Human Factors suggests that standing can improve productivity, attention, and cognitive functioning.

“We found that individuals that have the opportunity to stand throughout the day can operate at higher productivity levels than those that do not have the capability to stand while working,” the study authors wrote.

The researchers compared 2 groups of employees over a 6-month period. The 167 employees worked at a call center, where they gave health and clinical advice over the phone.

The intervention group, which involved 44 health advisors and 30 clinical advisors, used desks that were capable of being used while standing or sitting. The control group, which consisted of 58 health advisors and 35 clinical advisors, only had access to traditional desks.

The researchers found that the intervention group self-reported sitting for nearly three-quarters of the day, and the control group reported sitting for around 91% of the day.

One of the most significant findings was that productivity among the study participants who had standing desks was about 46% higher than those with traditional desks.

The health advisors in particular showed around a 48% increase in successful encounters. They had around 0.5 more successful calls per hour than their seated peers, and clinical advisors who could sit or stand had around 0.4 more successful calls per hour.

After 6 months, almost 75% of the study participants who had a standing desk said they had less body discomfort, as well.

“We believe that decreases in body discomfort may account for some of the productivity differences between the 2 groups,” said lead study author Gregory Garrett, a public health doctoral student, in a press release. “However, standing desks may have an impact on cognitive performance, which is the focus of some of our research going forward.”

The study authors also highlighted previous research showing that students show better attention and focus if they spend less time sedentary. Also, a recent study showed that reduced sedentary time improved basic cognitive functioning, specifically in the frontal regions of the brain.

Most Americans spend around 8 to 9 hours per day being sedentary, which has been linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.