Office of the Future Focuses on Improving Health

UpDesk - standing workstations
UpDesk - standing workstations

We recently explored the idea that the future office is bad for your health. However, it seems that certain forward-thinking furniture suppliers are indeed working hard to provide a happier, healthier environment for tomorrow’s workers.

Mexico recently overtook America as most obese nation in the world – but the battle against the bulge is alive in the United States and many other nations. Part of the problem is a sedentary lifestyle that many office workers find difficult to avoid.

According to WebMD, if you are obese and have unhealthy eating or activity habits, you have a higher risk for gallstones, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides, coronary artery disease (CAD), a stroke, and sleep apnea, among other conditions.

So what’s an office worker to do? And how might offices of the future evolve with these health concerns in mind?

“Sitting is the new smoking, even people who exercise on a regular basis are still at risk,” says Kamron Kunce, director of Community Relations at UpDesk. “Companies around the world are beginning to realize the health benefits of utilizing a height-adjustable standing desk and integrating movement into the work day.”

Indeed, Travis Saunders, a Ph.D. student and certified exercise physiologist at the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group at Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, told Runner’s World magazine that up until very recently, if you exercised for 60 minutes or more a day, you were considered physically active, case closed.

“Now a consistent body of emerging research suggests it is entirely possible to meet current physical activity guidelines while still being incredibly sedentary, and that sitting increases your risk of death and disease, even if you are getting plenty of physical activity,” he says. “It’s a bit like smoking. Smoking is bad for you even if you get lots of exercise. So is sitting too much.”

UpDesk believes your space shouldn’t define you – you should define your space. Kunce predicts that offices in the future will continue to break the furniture ‘norm’ by offering their employees customizable solutions, whether it’s their desk, chair, or environment.

“Individual offices with private doors and cubicles will soon become a thing of the past. In the future, employees will no longer be shut off from the outside world or each other,” he says. “We’re already seeing collaborative concepts happening on campuses like Facebook, Twitter, and Google. The goal is to induce creativity by allowing free reign and open-atmospheres.”

Men’s Health magazine reported how scientists at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana analyzed the lifestyles of more than 17,000 men and women over about 13 years, and found that people who sit for most of the day are 54 percent more likely to die of heart attacks. That’s why stand up desks, like UpDesk, are catching on. With that in mind, UpDesk is always looking for new ways of working.

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“Until now, working from home meant you were sick or had a lot of errands to run. Companies may have less brick and mortar locations in the future,” says Kunce. “The Internet, laptops, tablets, and smart phones have paved the way for allowing people to work outside the office walls. Within the next 10 years, people could even be working from another planet…”

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