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The Effect of Using the “20-8-2” Pattern at an Active Workstation on Cognitive and Task Performance
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Currently, office workers spend most of their time sitting while in their work environment. This prolonged sitting can result in negative health effects reducing office workers` productivity. While standing-based workstations can offer a beneficial approach to reducing sedentary behavior, long-term standing can also result in negative health outcomes. To obtain the proper balance, Alan Hedge, Professor of Ergonomics at Cornell University, has recommended a working pattern in which every half hour individuals sit for 20 minutes, stand for 8 minutes, and move around for at least 2 minutes. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to determine the effect of using this “20-8- 2” pattern at an active workstation on measures of cognition, attention, short-term memory, task performance, and productivity. Two different experiment conditions wherein participants used the :20-8-2” pattern at both seated and active workstations were designed and tested by a within-group examination in order to compare an individual`s ability to perform batteries of cognitive and performance tests in each environment. At the seated workstation, participants sat during each of the test sections. At the active workstation, participants performed the “20-8-2” pattern, sitting for 20 minutes, standing for 8 minutes, and walking on a treadmill at 2.5 mph for 2 minutes. The experiment consisted of four sections that included two different test batteries, one performance test battery that measured productivity via three repetitive sections at the two different workstations, and a cognitive test battery that measured attention and short-term memory via three sections completed while subjects were in sitting position. Participants` energy expenditure was also tracked during all test sessions. The results show that using the “20-8-2” pattern at an active workstation did not impair task or cognitive performance. However, using the “20-8-2” pattern over time did seem to improve task performance. Also, the “20-8-2” pattern at the active workstation did not appear to decrease attention span or short-term memory, or cause an increase in stress or musculoskeletal discomfort. In addition, this study found significant differences in energy expenditure between subjects using the “20-8-2” pattern at the active workstation versus completing the tests at the seated workstation. This study provides evidence that using an active workstation may be beneficial as a means of increasing total energy expenditure and decreasing sedentary time.
Ergin, Gulberg (2019). The Effect of Using the “20-8-2” Pattern at an Active Workstation on Cognitive and Task Performance. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from