As the sun starts disappearing behind the clouds on a (much) more regular basis and the temperature begins to drop, we start to wave goodbye to those glorious long summer nights, and our hibernation setting kicks in.
Having spent our out of office hours making the most of the sunshine where we can, suddenly the most exercise we seem to be able to manage is a quick dash to and from the car, sheltering ourselves from the great British winter weather.
But it’s okay, because even though 99% of our working day is spent at our desk- whatever the weather – all that time spent outdoors during summer and the occasional gym session across the winter months will cover it right?
Wrong. The long-term effects of prolonged sedentary work are starting to show…
The Sitting Disease
There is still a concern for the effects on our physical and mental wellbeing caused by the long periods of sitting we participate in during working and study hours (whatever the season) also known as ‘The Sitting Disease’. Download our PDF about Sitting Disease (PDF credit to HÅG)
‘Our bodies are designed to stand and move for long periods of time. And we automatically shift our weight and move around while standing. Standing prevents both the repetitive stress and muscle degeneration that is caused by sitting.’
‘In a British study published in 1953, scientists examined two groups of workers: London bus drivers and bus conductors. It concluded that the bus drivers were nearly twice as likely to die of heart disease as the conductors were.’
This was all a result of their workplace design only allowing them to sit in one position for hours of their working day…
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the lack of physical activity is one of the TOP FOUR leading causes of preventable death worldwide, ahead of high cholesterol, alcohol and drug abuse.
Leading health expert, Dr Stuart Biddle, Professor of Active Living & Public Health, Victoria University, Australia claims "Even if you exercise for at least 30 minutes most days, you are still storing up health problems from being sedentary too much. The message is clear - move more and sit less."
Wow, so how can I be more active in the office?
Top Tips for ‘Active Working’:
- Start your own office campaign – to help promote active working, raise awareness of ‘the sitting disease’ and encourage staff to #movemore in their office environment.
- Educate your staff and colleagues – on the affects sedentary working has.
- Practice what you preach – make sure your working environment supports these changes.
- Review your office furniture – try a sit stand desk and height-adjustable chair.
- Encourage breaks for movement – get your office active at on-screen alarms for when users have been sitting for more than 90 minutes.
- Relocate your printers – so users need to stand up and walk to get their printing.
- Make & Take phone calls standing up – this also gives a boost to voice quality and confidence.
- Rethink your meeting furniture – create flexible spaces using reconfigurable spaces to encourage movement or consider standing height options.
- Don’t be a keyboard warrior – go to a colleague’s desk to talk to them instead of emailing.
- Avoid the lift – use the stairs instead.
- Walking & Talking – attempt a meeting whilst walking, inside or outside the office.
That sounds doable, right? So what are the long term benefits to the company?
Reduced Sick Leave - It is suggested that by encouraging active working, employees and staff are healthier and happier, reducing the amount of sick leave taken.
Increased Output - With the reduction in time off comes the increase in output, creating are more profitable workplace. Benefiting both employer and employees.
Happy Employees are Productive Employees - Increased activities increase mood and energy levels. This reduces stress and anxiety and improves sleep, encouraging productivity and engagement.
An Added Benefit? - Employees are always looking for additional perks and benefits in their place of work. Millennials, in particular, highlight this as something that is especially important to them. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could class your workspace as your employee benefit?
So can JPA help me with this?
Of course, we can - as specialists in positive workspaces and wellbeing, we can knowledgeably advise on the best solution for your office design to encourage active working.
We can help you review your current workspace to rethink, reconfigure and redesign your offices accordingly – for an office that works well for your wellbeing.