Employees spend a large part of their lives in the office. They wake up – go to the office. Take a lunch break – usually in the office. They leave in the evening only to wake up and do it again for four more days. This is a routine that many have adopted most of their lives. We’re starting to see the ramifications of this repetitive cycle. Those that have come before us have experienced long-term effects such as arthritis, carpel tunnel, mental health challenges, and in some cases even heart issues. These are all results of prolonged sedentary activity. But in a professional world that requires workers to stare at computer screens while sitting at the desk for hours a day, how can we avoid the impact we’re having on our employees? The answer might be as simple as ergonomics and modern standing desks.
A little activity goes a long way. An elevated heartbeat, standing while working, and even walking are all ways we can combat the stationary nature of office work. Work-life balance and employee well-being have become a topic of conversation in recent years. The environment we build around them and the tools we give them to do their jobs say a lot about what we think of them. It’s in everybody’s best interest to take care of their employees, because after all what would a business be without them?
The Effects of a Sedentary Environment
Neglecting employee well-being isn’t a cost of doing business. Workers are an asset that should be cared for and when we fail to do so, the quality of work, productivity, and overall morale are greatly affected. So what happens when we sit for 8 hours a day for our whole career? Our health starts to decline.
The Mayo Clinic talks about the risks of “sitting too much.” The lack of energy used during long periods of time can lead to blood pressure issues, elevated blood sugar levels, obesity, and poor cholesterol. These are just some of the problems that can occur. What’s even more alarming is that studies have found that sitting for an average of eight or more hours a day can pose the same risks as smoking or obesity.
There are some small adjustments that can be made to daily routines to reduce the time sitting at the desk, but ergonomic and active furniture can have the biggest impact.
Standing desks might seem odd to some, but they’ve been in use for quite a while. There can be some concerns about standing while working. Concerns like whether or not employees can really focus or whether or not it introduces more distractions are brought into question.
Healthline featured an article that talks about the benefits of standing desks and studies show that distractions and lack of focus aren’t really an issue. In fact, they have the opposite effect. A study that included 60 young professionals showed using a standing desk 4 hours each day had no impact on their typing abilities, and in some cases may have actually improved performance.
The article also goes on to talk about the impact standing might have on energy levels and mental health. It was reported that 87% of people who used standing desks experienced an increase in energy and mood. This study shows that standing is more likely to increase productivity day to day.
Modern standing desks have many features to improve the working experience. One attractive element of standing desks is their versatility. Standing desks can often be used at varying heights. This means that employees aren’t required to stand, but rather encouraged. In some cases standing for extended periods of time can also have negative impacts on health. Desks that give employees the option to choose between sitting or standing give them the chance to decide what’s best for their health. These adjustable-height desks give employees the best of both worlds without forcing them to work one way or another.
Ergonomic is a word that gets thrown around often. Anything that provides any level of comfort in an office setting can be considered to have an ergonomic design. Although this may be the case, not everything labeled ergonomic provides the same benefit. Ergonomic furniture is designed to provide comfort while also benefitting employee well-being. This means it can benefit employee health.
Poorly designed furniture can have a major impact on your health. Forbes Health provides a little insight into how some furniture can be detrimental to your physical health. Vision problems and joint and posture-related injuries can occur. These injuries are easily prevented, but how does furniture improve health?
Ergonomic chairs, desks, and office design can have huge impacts on how you work. Office chairs aren’t only about comfort anymore. Office chairs are being designed with posture in mind. Chairs with added lumbar support and adjustable features can ensure the time spent sitting behind a desk is not leading to long-term neck, back, and joint pain.
Ergonomic desks are similar to chairs. They feature adjustable elements such as height, adjustable keyboard trays, and wrist support. Ergonomics isn’t solely about comfort. It’s also about functionality, health, and well-being.
Keeping Employees Active
There’s no one size fits all answer to keeping employees active in the office. This can be achieved by regularly scheduled breaks or different working environments. However, the easiest way to help keep employees engaged, and promote health in the workplace is to give them the tools they need. Ergonomic chairs and modern standing desks can help employees stay healthy in the workplace without sacrificing the quality or time spent on work. Instead, improve the work they do.
Promoting health and employee well-being in the workplace doesn’t mean making employees work one way or another. It means giving them the option to work in different ways. It’s giving them the option to adopt a healthier lifestyle, improve their work life, and not make them take the pain of working from home with them.
Explore standing desks and other ergonomic furniture to improve the health of your employees!
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