Have you heard about the latest workplace craze: the trend toward sit-to-stand? Maybe you’re new to the idea, have a co-worker with a standing desk or are getting pressure from the HR department for creative ways to increase workplace wellness. Regardless, sit-to-stand can offer some real benefits in your office; workers in the U.S. are spending longer hours sitting than ever before – to the tune of more than half of their waking hours. That’s no good, and can lead to some serious health ailments. Standing at work is a great way to combat the effects of sitting disease and can make you feel more productive, efficient and energetic in the office.
Why is sit-to-stand so popular?
The Importance of Ergonomics in the Workplace
Why is good ergonomics important, or worth justifying the extra budget line item? It’s because your employees are more likely to be satisfied and committed to their jobs when they are provided with the ergonomic comforts they need. It’s not just about comfort, either; in fact, it’s a health and safety issue. More than 42 percent of workplace back injuries stem from ergonomic concerns and on average, workers who suffer from these issues take at least a week away from work to recuperate. Stocking the proper items and paying attention to your employees’ needs can help you combat this downtime. In fact, you’ll see the following transformations when you pay attention to good ergonomics on the job:
- Increased Employee Retention: Workers who feel like their needs aren’t being met aren’t likely to stay at their jobs for long. On the contrary, businesses that pay attention to the diverse health needs of their team members enjoy higher rates of employee satisfaction and retention. Offering an employee engagement survey can help you determine areas of opportunity where you can work harder to meet employees’ ergonomic needs.
- Decreased Liability and Safety Issues: Poor ergonomics leads to many potential health hazards in the office including back pain and strain, twisted ankles, carpal tunnel syndrome and more. Working good ergonomic design into your workplace’s floor plan can help decrease the risk of an expensive workplace injury. This can include stocking keyboard trays and monitor mounts, standing desks, anti-fatigue mats and ergonomically-friendly lighting.
- Lower Health and Wellness Costs: Health and wellness costs for businesses can be steep. Encouraging good health at work starts with providing a positive environment for your employees to be in; this will help them live healthier in other aspects of their lives, off the clock. Encourage standing at work, staying hydrated and going for frequent walks. You can lead by example and take meetings outside; walking is proven to help bust stress and anxiety, encourage innovative thinking and is part of a healthy lifestyle, especially when avoiding sitting disease.
What is Sitting Disease?
We all sit multiple times a day, so how can sitting in itself be a disease? It turns out sitting isn’t really a problem; it’s sitting for extended periods of time with poor posture while taking few breaks that’s the issue. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys report that 50-70 percent of people spend six or more hours sitting every day. As Martha Grogan, Cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic, notes, “For people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking.”
Shockingly, the Medical College of Wisconsin found, “Those who spend most time in a chair have a 112 percent higher risk of developing diabetes, a 147 percent higher risk of suffering ‘cardiovascular events’ such as strokes and a 49 percent increased risk of death from any cause.”
In addition to cardiovascular concerns, sitting for long hours has also been linked to back pain, spinal curvature, high cholesterol, poor circulation and a loss of productivity. To avoid these negative health consequences, we recommend making the transition to a standing desk.
Have you tried standing up at work?
Why Use a Standing Desk?
Everyone has their own reasons to choose a standing desk, and you will likely feel more energized and alert in the office once you make the switch. Here are three great benefits of remaining upright at work:
- Better Team Cohesion and Focus:The ability to talk and collaborate with other workers while standing makes for a more cohesive environment. In addition, you’ll feel more focused on the task at hand and willing to put in the effort.
- Improved Health and Wellness:Workplaces where employees stand tend to spend less money each year on workplace injuries, and health and wellness costs. Your standing workers will enjoy increased metabolism and productivity, lower cholesterol and reduced risk of heart disease.
- Reduced Risk of Obesity:Sitting leads to a host of negative health problems like back pain, high blood pressure and muscle strain. You will also burn more calories each day you stand, leading to weight loss and a lower risk of obesity-related illness.
So, how should you choose a standing desk? Here are four features to consider when picking out the model that’s right for you and your employees – and remember, not every sit-to-stand desk is right for each person!
What to Look for in Sit-to-Stand Workstations
Flexibility of Movement: If sitting during the day is bad, then standing all day should be good, right? Unfortunately, that isn’t quite the case. Some experts believe standing at work is only beneficial to a certain extent, and it’s detrimental to stay on your feet uninterrupted for the whole day since it puts extra pressure on your legs, back and joints. To avoid harming your body by standing for too long, choose models that offers flexibility and adjustability. Look for a sit-to-stand desk with a changeable height so workers can choose when they want to take a break.
Sturdiness of Hardware: Standing desks can be pricey, so make sure to choose one that will last for a long time. Many lower-priced standing desks can seem like a good option, but lack the weight and quality you need in a viable workstation. The model you choose should be sturdy enough to work on and offer lots of desk space; you won’t want your employees’ productivity to suffer.
Tech-Friendly, Spacious Design: Is your workspace right for your necessary job activities? Many sit-to-stand desk options are simply a flat surface; this can be great for space efficiency, but not very convenient for keeping desk items, using multiple monitors or storing computer cables. When choosing a standing desk, look for options that have space for wires, computers and keyboard trays.
An Affordable Price: While standing desks certainly offer benefits, no employer wants to break the bank. The best standing desks aren’t necessarily top-of-the-line, brand-name models; we have several mid-ranged and affordably priced options in our showroom and are happy to create a custom solution that works for you.
Since sit-to-stand options aren’t all created equal, it can be a good idea to stock multiple models in your workplace, so employees with differing preferences can choose what’s right for them. If you’re ready to offer standing desks for your team members, be sure to educate them on a healthy transition.
Standing desks offer many workplace benefits.
3 Tips for Transitioning to a Standing Desk
Transitioning to a standing desk can be a cumbersome process, and it isn’t realistic to assume you will be able to stand all day the first time you try. In the beginning, you’ll likely experience leg cramping and foot pain as you get used to being upright for hours, especially if you had previously sat all day before. Let your employees know about these three tips:
- Wear Comfortable Footwear:Comfortable shoes are key to successfully transitioning to a standing desk; unfortunately, high heels may not be practical. Choose a lower heel or a shoe that has adequate support. If you need to, bring a pair of comfortable boots or slippers to change into while you’re at your desk.
- Take Frequent Breaks:It’s important you don’t spend the entire day standing, or you may cause damage to your tendons and leg muscles. Remember to sit down for at least a few minutes every couple of hours and stretch your legs and back often.
- Practice Patience:Transitioning to a standing desk doesn’t happen overnight, so be patient! It may take a few days or weeks to feel comfortable with a new standing lifestyle, but it is worth the effort!
Standing Desks Improve Workplace Health and Safety
By respecting diverse health preferences and offering essential ergonomic comforts on the job, employers can increase office productivity and retain team members for longer. Instilling good habits in your team like using supportive seating and providing sit-to-stand desks can make your whole office a healthier and happier place to be.
Contact Us Today for a Solution!
Ready to get started? The experienced team at We’ve Got Your Back can help corporate customers with customized ergonomic assessments and training, as well as consultation on workplace set-up, space-planning and flow, making it easy to have a comfortable and productive office without sacrificing workers’ health. If you’d like help transforming your workplace into an ergonomically-friendly environment, contact us today; we are happy to help!