How a Sedentary Lifestyle Affects Your Health
From an evolutionary (and survival) standpoint, the invention of technology took us very quickly from an active “moving” species to a population that sits an average of 13 hours per day. Add sleeping hours to that and it leaves very few hours, or even minutes, to be active. Inactivity is making us chronically sick and putting a huge burden on our health care system. It’s unfortunately a very sad reality of the world today.
The Employee Workspace is Often the Forgotten Child in Modern Office Design Trends
Modern office design trends have come a long way in the last 50 years. Now, businesses do more than house basic work functionalities. They now aim to create communities, facilitate collaboration and encourage an environment conducive to teamwork. Thus we have open floor plans, meeting rooms that double as training rooms, interesting social design integrations and more. But why has the employee’s workstation been left out of the modern design equation? It is the one area of office design that has not seen innovation in more than 50 years.
Yes, We Have Interesting Chairs, but It is Not Enough
The biggest modern design contribution to the standard workstation has been the incorporation of the ergonomic chair. This new design element certainly represented an important first step towards improving the posture and health of employees, but unfortunately, it has not been enough. Workers continue to have problems with poor circulation, back problems and other health conditions associated with prolonged sitting. No, ergonomic chairs have not completely solved the problems associated with working long hours at a desk.
The Workstation Problem
Most employees sit at their desk hunched over. They lean on the armrest or sit with their leg propped underneath the other. Sure! It may be comfortable, but the truth is, sitting in this way for hours on end can have negative long-term health implications. Not to mention this poor sitting posture can also cause back pain and energy slumps.
Recent findings from a Princeton University study, show that poor posture and poor workstation design significantly increases the risk of musculoskeletal problems. Prolonged sitting and static posture are also associated with cardiovascular and circulatory disorders, weight gain and lower back problems. Nerve and tendon rela
Why Ergonomic Office Furniture is a Profitable Investment
There are certain jobs that we associate with presenting a certain degree of danger to an employee’s well-being: manufacturing, construction, and firefighting, for example. You wouldn’t typically think of an office desk job as presenting a much physical danger to your body. And yet the rise in deskbound jobs and ensuing increase in sedentary lifestyles has dangerous consequences for the health and well-being of employees.
People who spend six or more hours at their desk are at increased risk for a wide variety of chronic and even life-threatening conditions, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, anxiety and depression, high blood pressure, and back problems.
Why is sitting at a desk so dangerous? Our bodies were designed to move, and the more sedentary we become, the more our bodies’ natural processes start to break down and backfire. Metabolism slows down, muscles burn less fat, blood flows more sluggishly through our veins, bones and joints weaken, posture deteriorates, and energy levels stagnate. As a result, we gain weight, become even less mobile, and develop increased risk for blood clots, heart attacks, chronic disease, and early mortality.
It’s called “sitting disease,” and hundreds of thousands of employees are affected.
If you’re concerned about your employees’ welfare, it’s time to start considering what changes you can make to their work environment in order to promote health and well-being.
You can’t change the nature of the work that needs to be done. But you can change the environment in which they complete it.
Sitting Too Much is Harmful to Workers' Mental Health
You may already know about the many harmful effects that sitting too much will have on your physical health, such as increased risk for cardiovascular disease, obesity, and cancer, along with chronic back pain and diabetes. However, research reveals that excessive sitting may also have significant consequences for your mental health.
A recent study conducted by the University of Tasmania discovered that employees who sat for more than six hours per day experienced increased rates of anxiety and depression compared to colleagues who did not spend as much time in their seat.
The study analyzed data collected from a sample of 3,367 state government employees as part of a larger health program. Participants completed a short psychological assessment to measure symptoms of anxiety and depression over the previous four weeks. They were also asked to report their levels of physical activity, leisure-time activity, and overall satisfaction in the workplace.
Analyzing the data, the research team found a significant correlation between mental health distress levels and daily time spent sitting. Participants who sat for over six hours a day reported higher rates of moderate anxiety and depression compared to those who spend less than three hours per day sitting. They also found differences in levels of psychological distress by gender, with women reporting more symptoms of anxiety and depression than men.
As in other studies of the effects of sitting for extended periods of time, the study found that going to the gym on a regular basis did not counteract the effects of sitting on the participants’ mental health. The employees who spent the majority of their day sitting reported higher rates of anxiety and depression than those who sat fo
4 Ways Standing Desks Improve Employee Productivity
If somebody told you that making one simple change to your work habits could increase your productivity by almost 50%, you’d probably be more than a little skeptical. But one study by the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health found that call center employees were 46% more productive when they used sit-stand desks.
Like ride-sharing apps, smartphones, and streaming services, standing desks are a trend that started in Silicon Valley and has spread throughout the country. Companies like Facebook and Google have provided standing desks for their employees for years now. Facebook employees were singing the praises of standing desks all the way back in 2011.
In recent years, more and more companies have started providing standing desks as a way to improve employee well-being, encourage collaboration, and increase productivity. The number of employers offering sit-stand desks and height-adjustable desks for employees has increased by over 30% in the last five years.
The numbers supporting the positive impact standing desks have on productivity are impressive. That’s because there are multiple different physical and psychological benefits of using a standing desk that each contribute to the overall increase in productivity.
Boosts Brain Power
Standing stimulates circulation, which sends more oxygen and nutrients t
5 Industries That Really Embrace the Standing Desk Revolution
It’s no secret that standing desks are a powerful incentive that employers are using to attract and retain millennial workers. In fact, according to a recent report published by the Society for Human Resource Management, 44 percent of companies surveyed now provide or subsidize standing desks for their employees. That’s a three-fold increase since 2013 when only 13 percent of employers offered the benefit.
In particular, there are 5 key industries that are not just embracing the standing desk revolution, they are thriving as a result of giving their employees this healthier alternative to sit-down desks.
In sales, productivity is the name of the game. And, for many sales teams, standing desks help keep sales executives more alert and energized to make calls to prospects, send follow-up emails to leads, and create better sales pitches. One of the numerous sales teams that have seen productivity increase as a result of switching to standing desks is Zenreach. The sales manager at this up-and-coming tech company says, “My staff is so happy being able to easily shift from seated to standing, and productivity on our sales floor has increased dramatically.”
Music is all about feeling the beat. According to music producers, there is a tremendous benefit in being able to get up and move around while working to perfect a song. But, long hours in the studio hovered over a traditional sit-down
Office Work: The Evolution of a Health Hazard and the Solution
The story of today’s office starts with the Industrial Revolution. There quickly grew a need to process ever-increasing amounts of information. Office technology then included quill pens, pen knives, inkwells, sand for blotting ink, and candles.
As the 1800s progressed, steel pens replaced quill pens, and steel pens were replaced by typewriters. Together typewriter ribbon and carbon paper created myriad documents that needed to be filed. The file folder dates back to the American Civil War, and the first file cabinet to 1898.
The core of today’s office was in place by 1900. The vast changes over the century since have made processing information faster and vastly more efficient. Despite the dynamic changes in information tools, the configuration of office workspaces scarcely changed.
Office Work Is a Health Hazard
Information technology has evolved spectacularly over the last several decades. What evolved far more slowly is the realization that office work imposes unnatural stresses on the human body. It took decades before the costs of poor posture and repetitive movement were finally understood.
The seriousness of prolonged sitting at a work station is seldom realized. An Australian study of 200,000 people aged 45 and over found that there were 5,000 deaths in three years, with 7% of the deaths related to prolonged sitting. Movement and standing during the work day reduced this risk.
Current research shows significant employee health problems from prolonged sitting in work situations. Standing helps, but prolonged standing also has some negative impacts on employee health. Standing does have some impact
Create an Employee Wellness Program for Enhanced Health and Savings
Wellness at work can save you $4 for every dollar spent. Have an employee wellness program that makes participation easy and focuses on behavior change.
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