To Sit or to Stand … Is Stand-Up Working Good for Your Health?

On a visit to Sweden in 2013 for his sports licensing company, Gavin Bradley was intrigued to witness a workplace phenomenon that he had never before seen: staff making use of sit-stand workstations, spending a proportion of their working day standing. What’s more, they appeared to approach it as naturally as anyone else would treat day-round seated working.

Curious, Gavin looked into the reasoning behind the trend. He discovered some very interesting scientific evidence which had led to legislation being introduced giving employees in Scandinavia the right to height adjustable desks in order to reduce sitting time at work. Inspired, Gavin set out to educate the rest of the world in the health risks of prolonged sitting. Soon the Get Britain Standing campaign was born.

Sitting for more than four hours a day leads to serious health issues

Gavin founded Active Working in 2014. It has since become the leading global insight on evidence based research into sedentary workplace behaviour. With the support of Public Health England, the organisation commissioned the first ever recommendations on standing time for office workers.

On average, British people sit for 8.9 hours per day. A host of major international research has revealed compelling evidence that sitting for longer than four hours in any one day can lead to a number of health issues including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, back and neck pain, osteoporosis, headaches, depression and muscle degeneration.

How to sit AND stand whilst working?

Get Britain Standing suggests a range of sit-stand working solutions that are suitable for all budgets. These include desk mounts and desk risers, active seating and sit-stand desks.

Sit-stand desks are widely used across Scandinavia where more than 90 per cent of office personnel enjoy the benefits of switching between seated and standing working. Sit-stand desks come in a range of styles and formats, including two-person bench desks; crescent desks; workstations and even sit-stand-flip-write models.

The desks are adjustable, either by way of a manual crank handle or an electric mechanism, so workers can easily modify their working position to suit throughout the day. Height adjustable desks also offer the added advantage of providing the optimal working height, even when seated.

What to consider before introducing sit-stand working?

If you are thinking about offering your workforce the opportunity to spend part of its day standing, there are various things to consider.

You will need to address the potential risk of aching joints and sore feet, meaning workstation audits are ever important. Training is essential to ensure good posture when standing for extended periods, and choice of footwear is also important.

The promotion of frequent changes of position is vital and workstations should present a variety of options including sitting; sitting with a foot rest; sitting at a regular height; sitting at a heightened position and standing. The greater the range of positions adopted throughout the day, the better blood flow and focus.

There is a range of aids available to support sit-stand working, including comfort mats designed to reduce fatigue caused by standing on hard surfaces. Balance boards in the form of rocker or wobble boards encourage movement whilst standing at a desk.

Also give some thought to how your technology connections will respond to desk movement. Is there enough slack for leads to safely reach as a desk gains height?

Standing at work offers more than just health benefits

Standing for part of the working day doesn’t only promote well-being. According to research, additional benefits include boosted productivity; improved focus; higher energy levels and greater concentration, as many well-known organisations have discovered.

What famous employers champion sit-stand working?

Google has adopted sit-stand working as part of its employee wellness programme. At Facebook HQ, employees rallied to request the scheme. The employer has since revealed that standing tables keep energy levels high.

New York based venture capital firm ff Venture Capital uses standing desks in its meeting rooms, stating that it has led to more active sharing of ideas. Coca-Cola is exploring alternative desk options as art of its Workplace 2020 initiative. Even Winston Churchill was famously known to work at a standing desk.

Sit-Stand Working Made Easy Courtesy of Tag Office

Tag Office supplies a range of sit-stand working solutions to suit a variety of individual needs and budgets. If you are looking for personalised advice on choosing the office furniture that is perfect for your requirements, why not give us a call or drop us a line? We’re here to help and look forward to hearing from you.