Are you sitting comfortably? You might not be by the time you finish reading this, because spending too much time perched on your posterior could be seriously damaging your health.
Sitting too much
Medical experts are now declaring that ‘sitting is the new smoking’. Do you know that after one hour of sitting, our fat-burning enzymes slow down by 90%? Studies have linked excessive sitting with being overweight and obese. Inactivity also increases the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, some types of cancer, and even early death.
The World Health Organisation has already identified physical inactivity as the fourth biggest killer for adults on the planet, ahead of obesity.
On average office workers spend 40 hours a week at work, with the majority of that time spent working at a desk. In fact, the average office worker spends over 5 and half hours every single day sitting down at work. It now costs the UK economy more than £1billion every year in sick days due to back, neck and muscle problems and that figure is still rising.
You’ve all heard of 30 minutes a day
To reduce our risk of ill health from inactivity, we are advised to exercise regularly. The WHO recommends an adult should do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, or 30 minutes on at least five days. That is enough to gain the main benefits of regular exercise. However, it won’t protect you from the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle if you spend too much time sitting.
In order to be more proactive and productive at work, there are some simple steps that office workers can follow to combat inactivity and achieve good health. Read on for a few ‘quick wins’ to get moving and become more active throughout the working day.
Let’s start before the working day has begun. If people can cycle or even walk to work then this is a great way to start the day getting fit and adding more activity to your day. Of course not everyone lives close to their workplace so this isn’t always possible. But when you arrive at the office building, ignore the lift and head for the stairs – no matter how much the lift tempts you. Taking the stairs will raise energy levels, lower body fat and build muscle tone.
When at work, use every opportunity to get up from the desk and walk around. Workers who take a 5-minute stroll every hour exhibit increased energy levels, an elevated mood, less fatigue, and fewer food cravings. If you have something to discuss with a colleague in a different office, why not get up from your desk to chat with them face to face instead of using the phone or email. This will also give you the additional benefit of social interaction.
We all have mobile phones now, so when we receive a call at work it would be advantageous to get out of the office chair, away from the desk and take a quick stroll around the office instead. This will help you cut down your laziness at work and your body will be thankful to you.
The right ergonomic chair
When people need to sit down and work, it’s vital that employees have a chair that can easily adapt to suit their physical requirements. This will help people to be more comfortable when sitting at their desks, so they can focus more easily on their work which is essential for creating a productive working environment. Employees who aren’t comfortable are more likely to move around a lot in their chair and attention will be focused on their discomfort, rather than on their work.
Furniture designers are creating ever more comfortable, ergonomic chairs, which provide excellent lower back support, and can be adjusted so that each individual can maintain correct posture while sitting down. However, one of the side-effects of having a very comfortable chair is that you can easily spend many hours sitting in them, without feeling any of the discomfort that prompts you to move.
The rise of the sit-stand desks
Many employers are now providing workers with height adjustable desks, allowing workers to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day. Having the option to stand, as well as sit during the work day has been proven not only to benefit the health of the user but also of the business, dramatically improving health, well-being and energy levels of employees.
The impact on health and productivity
These nudges toward additional movement may sound trivial, but they can have a huge impact on health and productivity. Employers can’t force their workers to exercise and become more active, but by subtly integrating more physical activity into the working day and ensuring people move around more can provide a hefty boost to the health and productivity of employees.
Put simply, a healthier workforce is a happier, more motivated and more productive workforce. Many people would like to make their health a priority and businesses can help take care of that goal for them by adopting the principles of active, smart office design. With a few changes to the office setup, employers will be introducing a general sense of wellbeing within the office environment and helping to boost employee productivity levels.
Take advantage of this opportunity to sell
To help members sell more sit stand furniture, Nemo produce our own Office Interiors furniture catalogue which contains over 260 pages of top selling commercial furniture across a broad range of categories, including sit-stand desking and breakout areas.