A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine urge employers to change their workplace culture and social norms towards sedentary offices. It recommends office workers to spend at least two hours of their working day standing or moving, and to gradually progress this to four hours.
As well as two hours of standing and light activity such as light walking each day (progressing to four hours), the guidelines recommend are:
- Breaking up regularly seated based work with standing based work, with the use of adjustable sit-stand desks/workstations
- Avoiding prolonged static standing, which may be as harmful as prolonged sitting
- Altering posture/light walking to alleviate possible musco-eskeletal pain and fatigue as part of an adaptive process
- Encouraging staff to embrace other healthy behaviours such as cutting down on drinking and smoking, eating a nutritious diet and alleviating stress. Companies should also warn their staff about the potential dangers of too much time spent sitting down either at work or at home
Some proposals to put these recommendations into practice may be locating facilities such as toilets further away from staff working areas, replacing some emails by hand-delivered messages, setting alarms on computers prompting employees to move or removing personal waste bins and opting for a central bin area to encourage movement.
Sit-stand workstations are also a way to avoid excessive sitting times. These desks allow employees to keep working while standing and are already a common piece of furniture in Scandinavia, where around 90% of office workers are have access to sit-stand workstations.
One way or another, companies should start encouraging employees to avoid sitting all day long, for the sake of their workers’ health and for the sake of their own productivity.
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Photo by: Sebastiaan ter Burg http://bit.ly/1CUFRSz