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These alarming statistics are the reason the World Health Organisation has identified ‘inactivity’ as the fourth leading cause of death, with an estimated 3.2 million loosing their lives globally to the effects of sedentary lifestyles.

bs-tiles-111There has been a lot of talk in the media about “sitting being the new smoking” however do we really need to provide expensive new sit / stand desks and encourage them to stand up to work?

The end game is to try to encourage our employees to be more active, to encourage movement and mobility during their working day where practical. We need to look at this holistically and implement a range of measures, both in terms of the workspace itself and in the culture of the office.

It is important to break the mentality of working long hours chained to a desk, eating lunch there and never taking a break. Often it’s the corporate culture that is driving this behaviour which is actually reducing productivity.

In terms of the physical workplace itself, if budgetary constraints exist, converting existing desks by using readily available devices that raise your PC/laptop may be are an option to get workers on their feet. However, the most cost effective solution is to add touchdown points using shelves with power points as an alternative workspace.

Taking regular breaks is vital and the physical design of the office can be instrumental in promoting this. Breaks can be encouraged by creating recreational spaces or environments that employees actually want to visit – using these as “attractors” to get people to get up from their chairs and interact with their colleagues.

A healthy workforce is a happy workforce and a happy workforce is generally a more productive one too.

Further reading:

Physical activity
The NHS guide on why sitting is damaging to your health
Some top tips from Colin on how to avoid the desk sentence
Why employers need to encourage staff to take breaks

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