Recently you've probably seen the hype surrounding sitting in the workplace and the negative health side effects that various studies have concluded is taking years off our lives.
With the effects even likened to that of tobacco, a new slogan has coined sitting “the new smoking”, but can it really be that harmful?
It seems that in today’s society an excessive amount of anything can kill us but the statistics associated with pro-longed sitting are alarming and the transition from sitting to standing workstations have multiple benefits for both employers and employees.
We probably don’t realise but in an office environment you’re likely to spend around 6-8 hours a day sitting, followed by sitting down for dinner, an hour or more of television viewing before laying down for seven or so hours of sleep. Doing the math for your own routine is quite shocking and reveals it’s not so much sitting that’s depleting the health of our current office workers but a lack of physical movement and stimulation altogether. An array of different studies have come to air recently that outline all the harmful effects the mundane chair is subjecting our body to; these including a significantly higher risk of developing obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Dr. James Levine from his research at Mayo Clinic has been educating the media on his findings, that the human body just “simply isn't built to sit all day” and in a lot of circumstances routine exercise such as going to the gym wont counter the negative aftereffects of being continuously seated; it is ultimately the amount of energy expenditure and physical exertion throughout the whole day.
The solution is something that’s been gaining a lot of popularity over the last few years and just like most current office trends has been a commodity in Silicon Valley for quite some time. Standing desks and workstations have numerous proven benefits including healthier workers, increased life expectancy of up to two years by halving our seated time, a 10% increase of employee productivity and less sick days as a VicHealth report reveals between 11-22% of which are consequences of prolonged sitting, also costing employers an average $7,400 each case relating to back pain and posture and accounting for a huge $11 Billion per annum of the Australian economy.
If the benefits are swaying you out of your seated position but the cost of new workstations or a new fitout is making your ol’ friend the chair seem misunderstood - don't sit down just yet. There is an assortment of different options and products on the market for all budgets to retrofit your current workstation or entire office into one that accommodates for both standing and sitting workplace practices.
Standing only desks are great for Activity Based Workplaces where employees can choose to spend their desired amount of time standing while working. Electronic adjustable desks allow you to go from sit-to-stand at your own comfort, kickstarter success Stand Desk, are beginning to bring affordable whole desk alternatives to the marketplace. There is also a wide selection of desktop add-ons to easily transform existing desks into standing-compatible workstations or for the fitness enthusiast there's treadmill desks.
If sitting really is the new smoking, will you stand for better health and wont somebody please think of the seated smokers?!
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