Today's modern workplace is increasingly dominated by technology. Employees spend much of their time answering emails, writing reports, and participating in web conferences—all of which require prolonged periods of computer use. For the average worker, this has led to an increase in musculoskeletal complaints such as eyestrain, lower back pain and wrist discomfort. As expected, this discomfort affects the quality of an employee's work.
Moderate exercise doesn't cancel out the negative impact of the time we spend not moving at all.
Fortunately, more and more organisations are beginning to see the link between worker discomfort and lost productivity and time. Proactively addressing discomfort levels therefore becomes an important part of business strategy.
Engaging key stakeholders (especially facilities managers, building managers, corporate heads) is a critical first step in the development of an ergonomics program. It is important to elevate awareness of ergonomic concerns and understand what the common physical problems are that modern computer users face.
The health hazards of prolonged sitting
For years, traditional seated desks were the office standard. It wasn't unusual for employees to work straight through the day while barely getting up for a lunch break. Yet over time, research continued to show how harmful sedentary behaviour is to our long-term health.
Adults spend an average of 8 to 10 hours a day in sedentary behaviours that can contribute to diabetes and cardiovascular disease—the latter being the leading cause of death in the country. Even more troubling, moderate exercise doesn't cancel out the negative impact of the time we spend not moving at all.
The sit/stand revolution
As an alternative, many people are switching to standing desks, but standing all day isn't the answer, either! Research has linked health risks with both sitting and standing for prolonged periods.
The solution? Find a balance between sitting and standing throughout the day.
Switching between seated and standing postures throughout the day is not only good for energy and productivity, but for overall health.
Switching between seated and standing postures throughout the day is not only good for energy and productivity, but for overall health. Studies have shown that incorporating periods of standing can burn calories, have a positive impact on well-being and prevent heart disease, obesity and high blood pressure.
Building a sit/stand workstation for the modern workplace
Many offices are shifting toward hot desking and activity-based workplaces that require tools to support both collaboration and the latest technology.
The ideal sit/stand workstation offers intuitive functionality (that won't interrupt workflow), cable management capabilities, a sleek aesthetic that easily integrates into any office space, and a design that supports modern office tools and collaboration.
As more companies continue creating cultures of wellness, we expect sit/stand solutions to be at the forefront.