All Rise: Why Office Workers Should Stop Sitting Down On The Job

Isn't it time we stopped sitting down on the job?
Isn't it time we stopped sitting down on the job?

A charity ‘standathon’ reminds us why we should spend more time on our feet.

On Friday 18th October, you might notice something a little odd. On the train, at work, in a coffee shop or just out and about, more people than usual will be standing up. Even in the office. That’s because Friday is ‘Stand Up to Cancer‘ day, and people all over the UK, US and beyond will be doing sponsored ‘standathons’ to raise money for cancer research.

It’s a hugely successful campaign and one that has, so far, contributed millions to the fight against cancer. In the US, $262 million has been raised since the concept was launched in 2008 and in the UK, which debuted last year, over £8 million was raised.

“Sitting is the new smoking”

Of course, we all know that long periods of sitting are bad for the health. Research suggests that spending more time standing up at work can promote a healthier lifestyle, and experts are now encouraging office workers, and those who participate in a typically sedentary working day, to stand up and move more.

Friday’s charity standathon certainly promotes more than one health benefit – so why limit the idea just to one day?

“Sitting is the new smoking, even people who exercise on a regular basis are still at risk,” said Kamron Kunce, director of Community Relations at UpDesk, during a recent OT discussion on the health benefits of the future workplace.

“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.”

UpDesk and Steelcase are two examples of office furniture suppliers that produce upright desks for the workplace. They can be adjusted and raised to suit standing workers just as easily as those times when you need to be seated.

Mobile workplace

Evolving office design strategies have shown us that the future office is increasingly open and more mobile. Workers come and go. Activity-based working is taking off. Hot-desking is becoming the norm. And touchdown space is in demand. Office furniture is no longer one-size-fits-all, and new designs are catering to an increasingly mobile workforce.

In other words, standing workstations are beginning to fit in with the evolving workplace. And furniture suppliers are delivering the goods – making it easier for flexible workspace and business centre operators to get what they need.

In case you’re wondering why standing workstations are a good idea, just consider the health implications associated with too much sitting. Research by BBC Magazine shows that, on average, many of us spend up to 12 hours a day sitting down. Add another 7-8 hours’ sleeping, and that’s around 20 hours a day being sedentary.

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Obesity is a major factor in sedentary lifestyles, and is in turn associated with serious conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

Calorie burner

Spending more of your working day standing up can improve your health – and it actually burns calories too. According to Dr John Buckley, standing for three or four hours a day for five days can burn off around 750 calories. Over the course of a year this would add up to about 30,000 calories, or – to put it into perspective – “the equivalent of running about 10 marathons a year”.

Still wondering why standing workstations are a good idea?

If that’s got you thinking, give it a trial run and stand up for the day on Friday 18th October – you certainly won’t be alone.

Image source: David Castillo Dominici, FreeDigitalImages.net

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