Employee Wellness – Don’t Just Sit There!
As Day 3 of NeoCon 2015 comes to a close, one thing’s for sure – the future of ergonomic office furniture is here to stay. Many new design ideas focused on the importance of employee wellness and moving around at work. Sitting in one static frozen position at your desk is detrimental to your health. And why is that you ask?
Because if you sit all day, even with perfect posture, you will experience muscle soreness. Your body needs to change positions regularly to offload the tissues that are working or taking strain throughout the day. As you get tired you will need to do this more frequently. Get up and move around. If you get uncomfortable sitting or standing at your desk, at any time, change positions. Ideally, change your position every 20 minutes.
The idea of ergonomics is not a new concept but designing workspaces around employee wellness continues to gain ground. Ergonomics not only helps an employee physically, it creates a comfortable and productive work environment. Moving around within your workspace is also an important key to staying healthy. Take for instance Gretchen Reynolds, a reporter on exercise research for The New York Times, wrote a book condensing health studies down to their most essential parts. One of the key takeaways from her research was this emphasis on standing up and the golden 20-minute mark.
“New science shows very persuasively that standing up about every 20 minutes, even for only a minute or two, reduces your risks of developing diabetes and heart disease”.
“By standing up, you cause the big muscles in your legs and back to contract, which leads to an increase in certain enzymes that break up fat in the blood stream. You don’t have to jog in place or do jumping jacks. Just stand. A very pleasant additional benefit is that standing up every 20 to 30 minutes also seems to prompt the body to burn calories, so you don’t gain as much weight from sitting at the office most of the day”.
Standing up is easy to do as long as you remember to do it! If you’d like to get a little more physical at work —especially if you only exercise a few times a week, or not at all – there are plenty of ways to get movement in during your work hours.
Lastly, make sure as you are sitting or standing at your desk, that you have it set up ergonomically correct.
- Arrange your work so you can sit or stand comfortably in a position that does not put stress on any specific area of your body. You should be able to keep your neck in a neutral position and minimize the need to look up or to the sides continuously while you are working.
- Eliminate most movement from your waist. Keep the workstation and workstation tools within reach without having to lean, bend, or twist at the waist frequently.
- Vary postures if possible.
- But most importantly, don’t forget to MOVE!