Local company gives employees options to sit or stand at work

Since the company's building was going to be renovated anyway, the decision was made to switch everyone's desk to a standing desk to promote a healthier workplace. (WHAM photo)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Standing is the new sitting ESL Headquarters. The company is giving employees the option to stand during their workday.

For Patti Green, sitting eight hours a day had an impact.

"Sometimes you feel like your back is bothering you. You need to get up, you need to walk around,” said Green, a Support Services Manager at ESL.

Green now has another option: She can stand at her desk.

"We had the opportunity to take a look at our configurations. We said, 'Wouldn't it be great if we installed sit/stand work stations for everyone?'” said Maureen Wolfe, Senior VP of Human Resources and Community Relations at ESL.

ESL is going floor by floor at its Chestnut Street headquarters, installing new motorized sit-stand desks.

"We are very conscious in general of having a conducive work environment and sit/stand work stations are just going to help us make it that much better for everyone,” said Wolfe.

Green notices a difference. Her entire workspace rises including her computer and phone. The desk also has built in outlets.

"Just having the computer up, that's not enough for every job. You actually need the work space to move up with you so this makes a big difference,” said Green.

Studies have shown sitting too much can increase the risk of things like heart disease and diabetes, and recent findings from UCLA show it may impact parts of our brain critical to memory. At ESL, it's about the overall wellness of employees, and it doesn't hurt that it seems to be improving productivity.

"Some have said they feel much more focused when they are standing versus sitting all day long,” said Wolfe.

"Eight hours is a long time to be seated, so the ability to stand up and stretch your back and work is a healthier way to get through the workday,” said Green.

In all, the headquarters will have about 500 sit-stand workstations for employees. Those who don’t receive the new motorized stations can request a desktop sit-stand configuration.

The renovation is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

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