Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Using a treadmill while working can boost employee productivity, study finds

Date:
March 4, 2014
Source:
University of Minnesota
Summary:
Walking while you work may not only improve an employee's health, it may also boost productivity, according to new research. Researchers studied employees using treadmills instead of office chairs as they work. Their offices were refitted to have a computer, phone, and writing space on a desk in front of a treadmill to be operated by the employee at up to two mph. The results of the study were encouraging -- the treadmills had a significantly favorable impact on both physical activity and work performance.

Walking while you work may not only improve an employee's health, it may also boost productivity, according to new research from the University of Minnesota just published in PLOS ONE.

Carlson School of Management professor of Work and Organizations Avner Ben-Ner and his coauthors studied employees using treadmills instead of office chairs as they work. The subjects were 40 employees of a Twin Cities financial services company. Their offices were refitted to have a computer, phone, and writing space on a desk in front of a treadmill to be operated by the employee at up to two mph. The walkers were studied for one year and data on performance and work-related activities and events were collected through surveys of the walkers and their supervisors. Additionally, each walker was given an energy expenditure monitoring device a month before their treadmills were installed. These devices were to be worn continuously during waking hours.

The results of the study were encouraging -- the treadmills had a significantly favorable impact on both physical activity and work performance. As would be expected, walkers were burning more calories than before the study began -- by about 7 to 8 percent a day. "It's not a lot, but if you take a sedentary office worker and you spread it around the day, that's a good outcome," Ben-Ner says.

'Substantial Increase' in Productivity Observed

More interesting is the marked increase in worker productivity. After an initial decline as employees learned how to adjust to walking while working on their tasks, productivity went up. Production measures were derived from employee and supervisor surveys of quantity of performance, quality of performance, and quality of interaction with co-workers. An overall performance measure was on a 10-point scale.

"For the duration of the study, productivity increased by close to a point," Ben-Ner says. "That's a substantial increase." Ben-Ner calls the outcome of the study a win-win situation. "It's a health-improving option that costs very little. I think there will be an increasing number of employers who will invest $1,000 or $2,000 in outfitting a persons' workstation," he says. "The employer benefits from the employee being active and healthy and more smart because more blood is flowing to the brain."

Ben-Ner suggests that future research could examine various circumstances that could affect employee performance. It may be that less physically fit employees or those who have more cognitively complex tasks may gain relatively more from the use treadmill workstations. Generational difference among employees also may play a role.

"I'm willing to bet my hat and my boots too that millennials will be more open to something like this because they grew up and came of age in a time concerning these types of things," he says. "It will be easier than trying to break in someone who is 50 years old and a lifelong sedentary person and get them to start walking."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Minnesota. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Avner Ben-Ner, Darla J. Hamann, Gabriel Koepp, Chimnay U. Manohar, James Levine. Treadmill Workstations: The Effects of Walking while Working on Physical Activity and Work Performance. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (2): e88620 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0088620

Cite This Page:

University of Minnesota. "Using a treadmill while working can boost employee productivity, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304113511.htm>.
University of Minnesota. (2014, March 4). Using a treadmill while working can boost employee productivity, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304113511.htm
University of Minnesota. "Using a treadmill while working can boost employee productivity, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304113511.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins