Working in an office usually means sitting for many hours a day in front of a screen with little to no movement at all. This can cause health problems and prevent the employees from doing their job successfully. According to Get Australia Standing, Australians sit for almost 10 hours each day. And the fact that sitting for more than 4 hours a day leads to many health problems like heart diseases, diabetes, obesity, backache, dementia, depression and muscle degeneration, is more than enough to get us all worried. Luckily, a new trend has emerged and its goal is to make the office an active place where sitting, standing and moving are all combined.
There are several ways to transform the office into a more active environment. One is replacing the standard desks with sit stand desks. By doing so, employees can combine sitting and standing, which is sure to prevent stiffness, diminish back and neck pain, improve circulation and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The sit stand desks, also known as height adjustable standing desks, are very practical as they can be adjusted to the appropriate height. This way, employees can raise the monitor and position the keyboard in accordance with the prefered sitting or standing position. They are easy to assemble and the adjustments are usually done electronically.
Another way to activate the workplace is by adding treadmill desks which are great for combining exercising and performing office tasks at the same time. It is advisable to start off slow and later do longer walking sessions, one in the morning, the other after the lunch break. Also, no faster than a 2 or 3 kph, since faster walking means higher cardio rates, more sweating and more inaccurate typing.
In addition to the sit stand desks and the treadmills, the necessity for good ergonomic chairs still remains because no matter how active the workstation is, the employees still need to seat for the most part. To switch things up, stools are also a great option to have around, especially when employees want to take a break.
Since prolonged sitting slows the metabolism and promotes fat accumulation, it also increases the risk of obesity. On the other hand, standing at the desk burns more calories than sitting – about 0.7 calories per minute. It all amounts to about 30000 calories burnt over the course of a year, which according to Dr john Buckley is the equivalent of running about ten marathons a year. Furthermore, the active workstation is great for the mind as well. Seating is related to the thinning of brain structures that are essential for memory formation and the best way to keep the brain healthy and the memory strong is by avoiding prolonged periods of sitting altogether.
There’s no doubt that making all of these adjustments is going to cost a bit more, however, it pays off eventually. Healthier employees are more productive and happier employees and the list of health benefits offered by the aforementioned adjustments is long. According to a 2011 CDC study, alternating between sitting and standing is bound to result in at least 66 minutes of standing per day, which is 16.1% reduction in sedentary time.