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Can computer prompts enhance benefits of sit-or-stand workstations?

Research at Texas A&M University’s School of Public Health shows desks that adjust to standing or sitting can boost productivity among workers and cognition among students. But another challenge remains: To remind users to change positions while they become immersed in a task.

A research team led by Mark Benden, associate professor at the School of Public Health, director of the Texas A&M Ergonomics Center and member of the Center for Remote Health Technologies and Systems, is testing a computer prompt that reminds people to stand at various times throughout the day.

“We are testing to see if we can break up those long periods of sedentary time during the day,” Benden said. “We think technology might be good at encouraging behavior we want.”

Now, the researchers are taking it one step further. Using software connected to desks, Benden’s team is studying what factors affect the behavior of about 1,000 people in three offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, Australia.

“We’re trying to increase and sustain the usage of stand-capable workstations by making it as easy as possible,” Sharma said. “A notification will pop up on the screen when it’s time to change the desk position, and with just a click of the mouse, the desk will raise or lower itself.”