Sit-stand desk revolution comes to Rotherham

Paul Edward, the new managing director at Staverton Ltd with a Sit or Stand desk.
Paul Edward, the new managing director at Staverton Ltd with a Sit or Stand desk.
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Directors at a Rotherham furniture business have staged a buy-out - as they target the booming ‘sit-stand’ desk trend.

A trio led by new managing director Paul Edward took control of Staverton with plans to capitalise on a drive to get employees standing for part of the working day.

Staverton’s ‘Sit or Stand’ desks cost £700 - almost three times the price of its ordinary desks.

But the new bosses believe rocketing interest in the health benefits of standing at work - and fewer sick days - will create growth and jobs.

The firm sold its first SOS in October last year - since then it has sold more than 1,000.

Paul Edward said: “The three of us have 100 years of experience in this business, but our buy-out ups the ante of responsibility. It’s an exciting place to be.

“There has been quite a change in the industry in recent years and the business has struggled to be profitable. But now there is a significant focus on agile working - if you spend all your timing sitting, it’s not good for you health.

“This is the driver for the sit-stand desk and we’ve made a significant investment as a business.

“We wouldn’t be doing it if we didn’t have a huge belief in what we are doing.”

Staverton expects firms will trial the desk, typically for 10 per cent of a workforce, before bosses respond to feedback and buy more, he added.

The firm employs 50, some 35 at a factory on Micklebring Way, Bramley, Rotherham, and at a showroom in London and a sales office in Kent.

Turnover is £1m, growth is 20 per cent and the firm hopes to hire 10 people over the next two years.

Staverton started life as a joinery company in Devon in 1928. It was acquired by interior design and fit-out company Logic Office Group Plc in 2002.

In 2012 it changed name to Staverton UK Ltd, to create a single identify and focus on office furniture design and manufacturing expertise.

The trio, including Tony Cole and Simon Watts, bought the firm from managing director Mike Gardner and Warrington-based Claremont Group Interiors’ shareholders.

Gardner had led a Buy-In Management Buy-Out of Staverton (UK) Ltd from Black Arrow Group in July 2009.

Edward added: “At that time we were looking for someone to join us to move the business forward. We have survived a difficult time. But it didn’t work out totally as we had hoped, or we wouldn’t be taking control.”

The deal includes use of an enterprise management incentive scheme so that share options can be offered to Staverton directors and management in the future.