It is almost unimaginable to think of an office job that doesn’t require sitting all day long. And yet, as more business owners are becoming aware of the destructive effects that sitting for hours on end has on employees’ physical and emotional well-being, sitting to perform office tasks is slowly becoming optional.
Rather than just aches and pains, sitting for lengthy periods can cause severe musculoskeletal disorders, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and even cancer. In fact, the toll sitting takes on our bodies is so high that scientists have compared its effects with that of smoking. What’s even worse, exercising or taking regular breaks from sitting can only do so much to mitigate the disastrous effects of being in a chair for 10 hours straight. In a word, signing a contract of employment for an office job is willingly accepting the possibility of an early death.
The only way to avoid dying from sitting is, unsurprisingly, to not sit in the first place. But how can you continue to perform your duties in an office environment if you’re not going to sit in a chair? Simple: you fire your chair and bring in a standing desk, a move that’s going to make all the difference in the world, for both your work performance and health state. Here are four amazing benefits of a standing desk:
1. Reduced Risk of Disease
If you’re not sitting for 5 hours and 41 minutes (the average length workers spend sitting at their desk each day), you are less likely to experience the harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle, as documented by a growing body of research. First of all, standing up as much as you can and taking every opportunity to move around the office substantially decreases the risk of obesity, as you burn more calories than while sitting, 50 more per hour, according to researchers from the University of Chester in the US. Secondly, if you’re not sitting for extended periods, you are less likely to reduce your body’s effectiveness in regulating glucose in your bloodstream and develop type 2 diabetes. Moreover, you are not increasing the risk of chest pain and heart attacks by 125 percent (as do adults who spend two more hours per day sitting) or stimulating the production of C-reactive protein and increase the risk of cancer.
2. Increased Productivity
Alternating between sitting and standing without taking your eyes off your work surface will help you to significantly cut down on lost time and improve your focus. Compared to a time when a worker performs his job duties sitting down, using a height-adjustable workstation or a standing desk boosts productivity by 10 percent. Also, developing a system through which you know you get to sit after standing up to complete a task allows you to schedule your tasks better and focus more on the current activity.
3. Better Engagement with Co-Workers
When the American furniture company Herman Miller first introduced the idea of cubicles in 1964, it was to empower people. Their intention was to create a sense of equality among co-workers and also blocking outside distractions without locking the worker in. All it accomplished, in reality, was to lower productivity, encourage stagnation, and isolate workers from the rest of their colleagues. Extended sitting, whether it’s in a cubicle-based or an open-office environment, gives workers fewer chances of talking with colleagues, bouncing ideas off of them, and having fruitful interactions. Working standing up improves communication at eye level (even if it’s for a short while only), which, in turn, strengthens work relationships and cultivates friendly interactions.
4. Less Fatigue, More Energy
When sitting for prolonged periods, you naturally become less energetic and more fatigued as the levels of stress hormones in your body increase by up to 15 percent, a vicious cycle maintained by your desire to rest even more when you’re feeling drained. Furthermore, sitting will immediately slow down your blood circulation, making you less alert, more lethargic, and naturally, less productive. In fact, the more you sit, the less likely you are to feel enthusiastic about your work, thing that Google, Facebook, and other major corporations have already figured out, starting to implement standing desks as part of their employee-wellness program in order to improve workers’ mood and strengthen their motivation to work.
Once you make the switch from traditional to a standing desk, you will immediately notice how you are becoming more fit, suddenly have more energy, and get more work done than before. Contact your local office furniture supplier to find out how you can make your employees feel more invigorated, highly productive, and more sociable in the office without making dramatic changes or large investments.
Lynne Lemieux, Founder and President of Alliance Interiors Inc., has devoted more than 20 years of experience developing and implementing growth opportunities for some of Canada's leading office furniture dealers. Her ability to provide clients with inspiring and versatile interior solutions for both business and home office environments has garnered her title of Aboriginal Business Woman of the Year in the city of Toronto for 2012. In her spare time, Lynne takes an active interest in politics, public speaking, and philanthropy, but also enjoys gardening, interior decorating, cooking, yoga, and traveling.