Yin and yang, black and white, sitting and standing
So standing desks are apparently not the cure to a long life, but neither is sitting all day. As with all things in life, there needs to be balance.
Our bipedal ancestors were not meant to sit for 9 hours a day, but neither were they meant to stand. One could argue that they were also not meant to reach 80+ years old either, but there are a myriad of factors in that equation, from diet to predation. My point is that they moved to live and our bodies have not changed much since the dawn of the agricultural revolution. They aren’t likely to either.
Instead of shifting to just standing desks, the message that I’ve been preaching to my clients for a while now is to adopt an anti-sedentary approach. That means move, people! Getting up from your desk every half an hour, getting the blood flowing and heart pumping can do wonders for your productivity and focus. Doing a few air squats may be at the expense of your office credibility but it’s worth it in the long run.
There are several options to encourage this change within your office:
- Sit-stand desks for each staff member, but that can be a costly investment.
- Having a standing hot-desk in the office for staff to share. This option allows you to gauge office opinion as to whether the first suggestion is a viable alternative without breaking the office furniture budget.
- A daily routine to get staff up and moving on an hourly basis (I envisage a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party office with “Change Places!” booming through the PA system every 60 minutes when I suggest this to clients). This could be anything from a daily stretching class to purchasing a water fountain or reducing internal emails so staff have to step away from their desks to get water or talk to each other. Anything that gets the body moving is a step in the right direction.