The Evidence

You should stand in meetings – don’t worry about what others might think

The following article, written by Benjamin Gardner, Lee Smith, and Louise Mansfield, was originally published in The Conversation on July 2, 2018. Standing in meetings may be good for our health, but it can also make those that are standing feel self-conscious, anxious about how others perceive them, and disengaged from the meeting. These findings, taken from our recent study, suggest that efforts to encourage office workers to sit less and move more must acknowledge the realities of the workplace that conspire to keep people chained to their seats. Sitting has been linked to adverse health outcomes, including increased risk of obesity, heart disease, some cancers, and poorer mental health. While some evidence suggests that the harms of sitting can be offset by at least one daily hour of moderate physical activity, this seems an unrealistic target. Most of the UK population fails to meet physical activity recommendations and spends prolonged periods sitting. Office workers, who make up half of the UK workforce, are particularly inactive. Our 2015 study of 164 London workers found that, on workdays, they sat for 10.5 hours of the 16 hours they spent awake. Breaking up sitting frequently with periods of standing and associated light activity can have important health…

Is sitting bad for us? There’s good and bad news

The following article, written by Professor David Dunstan – one of our BeUpstanding Academic team members – was originally published in The New Daily on June 25, 2018. As you read this, what are you doing right now? If you’re sitting down, scientists have some good and bad news. First, the bad news. The way most adults work has steadily changed over recent decades. While in many ways our workplaces are ‘safer’ from an occupational hazards perspective, it is now encouraged or even demanded that we spend large portions of our day sedentary (seated) – usually with our eyes glued to some type of screen. While this is now the new norm, we simply weren’t built for such a stationary existence and, unsurprisingly, accumulating scientific evidence demonstrates that exposure to high amounts of sitting significantly increases the risk of premature death, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Yes, you can help to reduce the risks associated with too much sitting if you undertake daily exercise, but unfortunately science tells us the best estimate of the amount of exercise required is equal to about 80 to 90 minutes per day of moderate-intensity activities (such as brisk walking) or 40 to 45…

Quick Tip – Water Bottle Replacement

Are you looking for ways to move more at work? Here’s one of our favourite tips to get you out of your seat and onto your feet. Replace your water bottle with a glass! This simple strategy forces you to stand up and walk to fill your glass every time it is empty. In addition, this is helpful because it helps remind you to drink enough water which is also important for your health. The most sustainable strategies are sometimes ones that will easily become part of your daily routine. An empty glass on your desk is a subtle reminder to stand up often. We hope this simple tip will have you up and moving about without even thinking about it. Happy moving!

Office Design Impacts Employee Wellbeing

Research shows that in order to create sustainable behaviour change in desk based workers it is important to target individual behaviour, the physical environment, and organisational components. An article in The Conversation by Libby Sander recently highlighted impact of office design on employee wellbeing. Creating an environment which encourages employees to make healthy lifestyle choices can help instigate sustainable behaviour change. Although it may not be feasible for all businesses to invest in massive office redesigns or luxury items such as sleep pods or stairway relocation, the good news is that there are simple and cost effective changes that most businesses can make. These include centralising frequently used office materials, such as printers, recycling, rubbish bins, and mail collection. This small change in location will create more movement in workers’ days by default. Company-wide investment in sit-stand desks may not be feasible for some companies. If there are some resources available, prioritisation should go to those in highest need (i.e., those with less flexibility in their job tasks to be able to leave their desk). Long-term planning may help the organisation allocate a budget for non height adjustable desks to be replaced with sit-stand desks in the future. Full height-adjustable desks (i.e., the whole desk moves…

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