Stand Up and be Counted! - Office Furniture

Created on 22/05/15 03:49 by Tracey May

 Get out of your chair alive task systems seminar flyer

Angela Cummins and Hila Badoe, IOR

 

STAND UP NOW!

We have all seen the headlines "sitting for long periods is bad for your health"

We have all seen the initiatives to combat "the changing face of the workplace"


It’s raining yet again in London, but we didn’t let this dampen our spirits as we made our way over to Task System’s showroom in Old Street for ‘Get Out of Your Chair Alive’ seminar, all about sitting / standing in the workplace and a closer look at office furniture trends.  We discuss the subject on the way to the station and agree that we shouldn’t really sit all day at our desks – it’s not good for you!  Yet, as soon as we board the train, we make a beeline towards a seat and sit down.  Well, I guess we are going to a ‘stand up event’ and there will be plenty of opportunity to be just standing around.  

 

On arrival we are warmly welcomed by the ever energetic Stephanos, before being summoned to focus our attention as the talk was about to begin.  People made their way to seats around the showroom to get comfy - we decided to stand (ok, we may have perched a little).


 Get Out of Your Chair Seminar


SIT-STAND PHENOMENON

The seminar kicked off discussing the obstacles we face as we strive to embrace the sit-stand phenomenon. More often than not, sit-stand desks are associated with back pain sufferers.  Although we are encouraged to get up off our chairs regularly and move, a person who is often ‘moving’ or ‘away from their desk’ may be perceived as not working to their full capacity. Nowadays research into this subject offers us more insight and awareness of the benefits and dangers of sitting at your desk for extended periods. 

 

Let’s explore...

When the subject of ‘the individual’, their desk and their health was first broached, the solution was thought to be in the ergonomic chair. But this just made people more comfortable in their seats!  This is comfy – why get up?


Do we need to sit down to work? Why not stand? Why not do both? 

Sit and stand whilst working at your desk?

 

Well, the facts seem to speak for themselves:

".. you burn more calories when you stand" (we like that!)

".. when sitting, the enzymes which help to break down fat drop by 90%.."

    (uh-oh, and we do regularly have chocolate at work…)

".. 54% higher risk of heart attack..." (Ok, this is serious stuff)

 

In fact, the long term risk to our health is thought to be significant enough to push the government into introducing new initiatives to "minimise sitting for different age groups". This is scary stuff!  Sitting too long is linked to health problems such as diabetes, cancer, obesity, high blood pressure, osteoporosis… and the list goes on.  We now live to ripe old ages.  We need to look after ourselves.  

Companies need to invest in employees’ well-being to ensure they are not off work due to illness brought on by bad office design. At the end of the day… it costs a company money for employees to be off work. We need the right kind of workplace with the right tools to thrive and support business.


Task Systems LiFT sit stand desk

Task System - LiFT


BRING ON THE CHANGES

The concept of the sit-stand desk is in fact the norm in the Scandinavian market, having been introduced as far back as 30 years ago. They were expensive to manufacture, with an average price tag of £4.5k.  Prices have now come down considerably and height-adjustable desking solutions are available from most furniture suppliers from around £700.

However, even with the introduction of new technology, the natural stance when conducting individual work is to take your laptop / tablet to a desk and pull up a chair.  We are not saying sitting is bad, but we need that balance. We need more movement.

 

"IF YOU MOVE YOU LOSE CALORIES” Andy Milne, Personal Trainer and Owner of BaseFit

Andy Milne BaseFit

 

Andy suggests some simple solutions to help combat the sitting health risks:

- Move every 20-30mins

 - Small exercises during the day

 - Height adjustable desk

 - Move bin away

 - Stand / walk during phone calls

   (Helps open up your lungs and voice projection… after all opera singers do not sing sitting down)

 - Change positions as task changes


Research recommends that a person sitting reclined 135 degrees backwards is the ideal position to alleviate pressure on the spine, but this is not practical for working at the desk because ergonomically, the standard desk is not designed for a person to work in this position.  Try it!  You’ll probably look very lazy to your colleagues.

 

 Andy here is demonstrating the alignment of the body when in sitting position.  The stick represents the line of gravity, anything not in line is not engaging your muscles, sitting means your muscles switch off - burns less calories. 

 

SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? GET UP OFF YOUR SEAT!

Companies should embrace this new way of working and incorporate the sit-stand movement within an office refurbishment.  Bring in high chairs, cordless phones and provide options around the office to support and encourage people to work standing up – so they can get used to it!

 

As the evening continued, guests were treated to mini-acupuncture sessions and also 1-2-1 spinal screening with a chiropractor.  With cocktails flowing, people were happily standing (not sitting) chatting away.  Standing is clearly more sociable!

 

'Get Out of Your Chair Alive!' EVENT PHOTOS

 

 

Further reading:


Five Health Benefits of Standing Desks – Smithsonianmag.com by Joseph Stromberg

Top Ten Risks to Sitting Too Long – The British Heart Foundation

Why Sitting Too Much is Bad for Your Health - NHS


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TAGS Blog Office Furniture Knowledge Office Design Office Fit Out Workplace Trends

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