In recent years there has been increasing awareness surrounding the benefits of “Sit/Stand” at work. Many more height adjustable desks are now available on the market and there are also a host of schemes encouraging staff to be more active during their working day.
There are many health and wellbeing issues associated with sitting down all day including:
- Issues with weight/obesity
- Problems with blood sugar and diabetes
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Strain to the shoulders, neck and back
- Spinal disk damage
- Poor circulation in legs
Unfortunately, many of the risk factors associated with a sedentary day can not be offset by exercising after work, although this is still good to do. The only way to combat these issues is to change the way that you work.
You might think that changing your working habits to incorporate standing always requires radical adjustments to your office furniture and comfort levels. This doesn’t always have to be the case though. You can start off with small changes and slowly build up your activity levels at work. Here are some suggestions:
- Stand whilst taking phone calls
- Use the stairs instead of the lift
- Have standing or walking meetings
- Take a walk during your lunch break or at least try to leave your desk on your breaks
- Stand at the back of the room during presentations
- Join in on national campaigns such as “On Your Feet Britain” and try to get as many other people in the office involved as possible
- Invest in a sit/stand desk and set yourself goals for time spent standing whilst working each day
- Where possible consider your choice of footwear – make sure it is comfortable when standing and moving throughout the day
It is important to remember that converting to standing all day can actually pose it’s own set of health issues. These can include sore, aching muscles and stiffness and swelling of the legs. This is why it is important to strike a healthy balance. There are a range of chairs available that can help to keep your body moving even whilst you are sitting on them which can help to reduce some of the health risks when you do need to sit.
Remember that adapting to a sit/stand work day can take time and you will observe many fluctuations in the amount of time you spend sitting and standing. Eventually though, you will find a pattern that works for you. It is important for employers to remember that productivity can actually increase with the right balance of movement in an employee’s day, but that it can take time for people to settle in to a new way of working. As staff will eventually find a rhythm that works for them, everyone should be provided with the ability to be flexible in their routine.