Standing Orders for Design?

Posted on September 9, 2011


Several weeks ago a report came out that found too much time in a seated position, day after day, can affect longevity and long-term health.

Well it did not take long for the nation’s innovators (and youngsters) to take this to heart and do something about it.  A Wall Street Journal report notes how Silicon Valley has already adopted standing workstations as the new work trend, with dozens of requests a week to convert from traditional desk-height. The office environment at Facebook has been a particularly interested adopter.

For healthcare workers, this may not have so much impact; many healthcare workers are on their feet most of the day anyway, flitting from patient room to patient room or even floor to floor, all shift long. Adapting to a standing workstation might not take much culture change. Heck, it might not even register as a request among workers since the benefit could be minimal.

For designers, it seems to be about flexibility, about allowing a worker the ability to make that change if they want. And most workstations, even modular systems furniture, do not yet have this capacity. However, I have noted here before the need for this flexibility in the future. Modularity has been displacing much of the older design concepts like permanent, built-in casework. To provide the ability to change will require a new kit-of-parts in workstations.

Outside of administrators, most healthcare professionals are often not at a desk or workstation save for a couple hours a day, so the standing height design may not affect things too much. Although, the concept of nurse stations are undergoing transformation, and standing height capability is more than a horizontal surface that can go up or down; it affects ergonomics, accessibility, drawers, seating, lighting, outlets and equipment access.

Standing may be good for posture, but it can tax the body in a different way. I am interested to see how this design trend touches healthcare.

Posted in: Interior Design