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How Can Using a Standing Desk Affect Your Productivity

This article is re-posted from a Sedentary Behaviour Research Network blog post on 3rd July 2019. Recently, research into the topic of excessive sitting, or “sedentary behaviour”, has been making headlines. The risk for chronic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity, that comes with high levels of sitting is becoming more evident (1). Office workers represent a population that spend a significant amount of time in sedentary pursuits as a consequence of their occupation (2). As more research is being published on the topic, many workplaces are seeking non-sedentary alternatives and solutions to the traditional office environment to keep their employees as healthy and productive as possible. One such solution has been the implementation of activity-permissive workstations. Activity-permissive, or alternative, workstations replace a worker’s traditional desk and are broadly categorized into either standing desks or dynamic workstations. Standing desks allow for a worker to stand while performing a task (e.g., typing, clerical work), and can be installed as additions to an existing workstation, or as height-adjustable replacement units (see Figure 1). Dynamic workstations are designed to allow for activity or movement while working, and include a variety of alternative workstations, such as: treadmill desks, cycling desks, and dynamic sitting desks…

How Age and Prolonged Sitting Can Effect Spine Stiffness, Postures and Discomfort

Recent research by Gruevski K and Callaghan J, and published in Ergonomics on 19th April 2019, looked at the effect of age and sex on passive spine stiffness, postures and discomfort in response to seated work. They noted that understanding age-specific postures and pain development patterns during sitting exposures are particularly relevant given the ageing working population in industrialised nations. Participants were in their Late 20s to early 30s or early 60’s were asked to sit continuously for 90 min while typing. Their results showed that older adults had higher passive spine stiffness and sat with less flexion during prolonged sitting. Discomfort was higher among older adults and occurred earlier in the simulation compared to younger participants, indicating that interventions, such as walking breaks may need to be implemented earlier during sitting for aged workers. Click here to read the full article

Standing Up To Sedentary Working

The following article was written by Sophie O’Connell and published in Occupational Health and Wellbeing on the 7th June 2019. The modern world and the constant pursuit of technological growth have almost eliminated the need for movement in our daily lives. While commuting we sit in our cars or on the bus; at work we sit at our computers or in meetings; during our leisure time we sit watching TV, playing computer games or socialising with friends. Because of technology advancements we do not even need to leave the comfort of our own homes to socialise, stay in touch with friends and family, to shop, to work or even be entertained on a screen. This means that, on average, Brits spend around 9.5 hours a day spent sitting. Typically, the amount of time spent sedentary each day increases with age. In working-age adults much of this sitting is done at work. Evidence shows that office-based workers spend around 75% of their working day sitting, with a third of sitting time being done for a prolonged period. Many of us are guilty of spending time sitting for extended periods due to work, travel or various social commitments. But with the growing…

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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