It’s probably not news that a sedentary lifestyle is taking a toll on employee health. Sitting down all day has been called the new smoking.
Ideally you want a healthy workforce, it means fewer absences and sick days and contributes to productivity. However, thinking about employee health isn’t always a priority for company directors who are so busy focusing on profit and keeping the business afloat.
Some great ways to improve employee health include cycle to work schemes, gym memberships and providing healthy snacks. However, these don’t target the issue of workers sitting down for eight hours a day.
You may have already heard of standing desks, possibly from glossy pictures on Instagram and Pinterest. At first they may have seemed a strange idea but it has taken off in recent years with many claiming standing is better for your health.
We’ve put together some pros and cons to help you decide whether it’s a good investment for yourself or your staff.
Good for back pain
Sitting around all day isn’t good for anyone, least of all people will back troubles. Have you noticed people complaining or getting up a lot during the day for a simple walk around?
It could be due to their seating arrangements. Good chairs and workstation set ups are one thing but they still encourage little movement which can contribute to pain.
You can adjust according to your needs
The thought of standing for eight hours a day isn’t going to be met with enthusiasm by anyone. The opposite end of the scale is that standing for that long isn’t good either. The best way is to switch your position throughout the day as this will stop your joints from becoming stiff and aching.
Standing desks being easily adjustable means that people are free to decide when to stand and when to sit. There’s flexibility and freedom that workers will appreciate as it tailors their working environment to them.
Admit it, we’ve all nearly nodded off at our desks at some point during the post-lunch slump. While most people grab a coffee or a sugary snack, another alternative is to stand up at your desk. Being on your feet automatically makes you feel more alert and may therefore help perk up the productivity for the second half of the day.
Standing desks are rarely cheap. If you have a large office, then replacing everyone’s desks will be a big hassle and an expense. You may decide it’s an investment worth making but it’s certainly not a popular choice just due to the cost. Also if the mechanism breaks, there will need to be repairs and possibly regular maintenance.
At first at least, people swapping between standing and sitting and adjusting their desks is going to be a bit distracting. However, your team should get used to them quickly enough.
While some might see the benefits of standing, it’s not for everyone. It could end up making joint pain worse for some people. Standing all day can also cause varicose veins and other health problems. That’s why having them adjustable is important.
The novelty of having new standing desks will be great for those who want them and will look good over social media if you decide to show them off to your followers. However, like with anything new and experimental, the novelty could wear off quickly.
Some people will simply go back to just sitting like they did before. In this case it might be worth only replacing desks for those that ask for them, rather than replacing them for everyone.
Have you ever considered standing desks or other unusual office equipment? Let us know how you get on.