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Sitting vs. Standing at Work: Does it Really Matter?

We were recently recognized as one of Columbus, Ohio's Healthiest Employers by Columbus Business First. We took some of our Herman Miller healthy office furniture to the awards ceremony at COSI, and had the chance to speak to about 300 of our many friends like you. We were surprised to learn just how many workers in our community aren't aware of the health risks sitting at work all day can cause.
In fact, it's such a serious issue, the American Medical Association has adopted new policies about sitting in the workplace. They've determined that sitting for extended periods of time is so unhealthy, they're urging employers to provide alternatives with options like standing work stations.

"Prolonged sitting, particularly in work settings, can cause health problems, and encouraging work places to offer employees alternatives to sitting all day will help to create a healthier workforce," AMA board member, Dr. Patrice Harris

It's easy to talk about it and recognize we need to move more while at work, but what can we realistically do about it? Below are 5 ideas to help get you moving and healthier throughout your day.

1. Provide furniture in appropriate settings so people have the option to sit, stand, and move throughout the workday

Furniture options like Herman Miller's Renew® Sit-to-Stand Table is designed to make moving between sitting and standing at the office easy and intuitive. The table has a soft-edged, paddle-shaped switch so it can be used without looking at or even thinking about it. You're able to chose the perfect sitting or standing height so it feels natural and promotes healthy blood flow. Or check out a treadmill or bike desk. Who doesn't like to multitask while they work?

Who doesn't like to multitask while they work?

2. Take mini breaks to get energized 

Doctors recommend standing about every 20 minutes, so take mini breaks about 3 times an hour. Stand, stretch, and walk around to get your blood pumping and circulating. This helps build more energy than just standing alone.

Take mini breaks at work to get energized

3. Get personal with face-to-face conversations

Instead of sending an email, text, or instant message, do something novel and walk to your coworker's desk. Technology today can make it easy to fire off a note rather than get up and stretch our legs. Not only is it good for you, it's good for your relationships too.

4. Take the stairs

Bet you haven't heard that before. But think about it this way: walking just two flights of stairs daily burns enough calories to melt away 6 pounds in a year according to experts. Clearly, the elevator is convenient, but trying to make time to take the stairs will pay off in the long run.

5. Move around to different work settings

Make a conscious effort to move around to, and work in, different areas of the office. Our work settings are designed for different modes of work. Make a to do list and plan it around your office spaces based on your tasks for the day. You can plan it around cafés, workstations, open areas, and more depending on your company's offerings.

Work settings are designed for different modes of work

By incorporating these five simple things into your workday, you're not only on your way to better health and feeling better, but you're also increasing profitability. Did you know that 8 out of 10 workers experience back pain at some point in their career? Or that 3.5 million working days are lost every year due to work-related upper limb or neck disorders? Moving at the office matters a great deal, both for your health and your performance.

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