The Case for Standing Desks in the Contact/Call Center


January 5, 2017

One of the greatest challenge a contact/call center faces is efficiency. While a company can have an excellent product, a trained customer service team, and an expansive business infrastructure, the customer experience is doomed if the contact/call center cannot keep up with the incoming call volume. Therefore, one of the key focuses of contact/call center technology and strategy revolves around improving efficiency and making the call volume more manageable, and a forward-thinking management team should pursue any opportunity that can help their team accomplish more with less effort. Self-service options, intelligent call routing, and even agent whisper features can go a long way to increasing agent productivity, but sometimes a simple answer works just as well. Have the agent’s stand up. Standing desks are starting to become popular in offices across the country for improving employee health and increasing productivity, and these are welcome benefits in the contact/call center.

Here, we’ll take a look at the data and arguments for a standing desk to see if they are worth adopting in a modern contact/call center.


What Is a Standing Desk?


If you have not encountered standing desks before, they are fairly simple devices. Acting as either a stand-alone (no pun intended) piece of furniture or a smaller device that mounts onto an existing traditional desk, the standing desk enables the professional to choose whether to stand or sit while working. In the sitting position, the desk looks and functions like any other, but by stretching, unfolding, or expanding the device, the workstation can be elevated and allow the professional to comfortably stand.


Productivity Increases with a Standing Desk


Many of us have heard that a standing desk is a healthier way to work and will actually increase productivity, but how effective is it really? How much impact can standing up really have? The data is fairly conclusive.

According to an article produced by the Taylor and Francis Group, a subsidiary of a business intelligence and academic publishing group, workers using a standing desk are approximately 45% more productive than other workers doing the same job while seated. This translated to an extra 0.5 successful customer engagements per hour.

Furthermore, the rate of productivity increase grew over time. In the first month of a six month study, productivity increased by about 23% but grew to 53% per month over the rest of the study. It is not too much of a stretch to assume that the productivity ceiling may be slightly higher than 53%.




The study, “Call Center Productivity Over 6 Months Following a Standing Desk Intervention” ran from January to July 2013 and split a collection of 167 contact/call center agents into two groups. One group had sitting desks, while the other had standing desks. Every day performance data, based on the number of hourly customer interactions, was gathered and recorded by the analysts.


The Value of the Option to Stand


Standing desks seem to imply that the agent or employee should use them to stand and work whenever possible, but being forced to stand is not what improved performance. It was the option to stand. The study found that agents working at seated desks remained seated for 90% of their day on average. However, the standing desk agents were permitted to stand whenever they felt the need or desire to do so. As it turned out, agents with standing desks still spent 72% – 73% of their day seated. Apparently, that 18% difference yielded a 45% increase in productivity.

It’s not about standing or sitting; it’s about enabling the option to do both. The results of this study are astounding. It’s amazing to think that such a simple change in work environment can yield such drastic results, and if more studies continue to replicate this data, we may all be standing at our desks one day.

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