So now we’re all standing again. It is just another trend?

Sometime during the age of mass production, America’s labor force splintered into the Standers and the Sitters, and the Desk Job was born. Welcome to Middle Management. Then, sometime after the age of electronic automation, the Sitters stopped standing altogether.

Sitting became desirable, a reflection of status. A 9-to-5, artificially quiet, seated Utopia. And then things snowballed into sitting more at home in front of the TV, and commuting further to work in cars.

And then America got a little overweight. Ok, a lot overweight. And Healthcare costs shot up. A lot.

Let’s recap with an arbitrary +/- review:

  1. We farmed +10
  2. We mass produced +50
  3. We built computers +100
  4. We started sitting -10
  5. Healthcare costs increased -50
  6. Cities put in bike paths +50
  7. Healthcare costs increased -50
  8. Employers added gyms and daycare centers +50
  9. Healthcare costs increased -50
  10. Somebody noticed sitting was killing us -100
  11. Healthcare costs increased -50
  12. WebMD +50
  13. Netflix started streaming -500

I’ll do the math. We’re at -500.

There are multiple components in the complex and challenging state of health and healthcare today, and occupational health is a clear and growing factor.

At $250B, the cost of occupational injury and illness has exceeded the cost of cancer (Source):

…recent annual budgets for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the National Cancer Institute were $0.3 billion and more than $5.0 billion, respectively. This suggests a huge underinvestment in research to prevent occupational injury and disease. (January 2013, Source)

So let’s focus on Sitting; which is the New Smoking. No, really.

Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns, including obesity and metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. Too much sitting also seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. (Source)

To help combat the perils of the Information-Age-of-Sitters, Steelcase unveiled the Jackalope of office furniture, the WalkStation. This desk + treadmill concept was developed through a collaboration with Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic in 2008, and has been garnering attention ever since.

If you’re not quite ready to walk, or dance, and type simultaneously, we suggest a Height Adjustable Desk.

Thank you, Taylor, for illustrating.

via GIPHY

The point is not to get everyone standing. It’s to raise awareness about the health risks of staying in a single position too long. It’s just not good for you. White-collar workers don’t move enough. Standing while typing can offer more benefits than sitting and typing. And if you can manage it, take a walking meeting once in a while.

Try it. Stand up. Your posture will improve, which means your mood will improve, and whether you like it or not, you will become a nicer person.

Yes, your lower back might ache a little, so will your feet. Start with one hour per day and work your way up. Your body will adjust over time. And remember, you’re now a much nicer person. Nice people don’t complain that their employer was nice enough to buy them a height adjustable desk. Or even a WalkStation!  And please remember your sneakers for the Walkstation. Wearing non-supportive shoes could cause more harm than good.

Here are additional insights on standing-while-working:

I use the Walkstation for an hour to an hour and a half every day.  Being able to get away from my desk and walk while I work gives me a change of scenery and an energy boost when those mid-day doldrums hit, which in turn increases my creativity and productivity!   ~ Sara, Madison WI

When I use my height adjustable desk, I automatically feel that my posture is better, and I feel more engaged in the environment.  ~ Jeana, AZ

I have been a Height Adjustable desk user for about 8 years.  My original request was due to neck pain and shoulder pain because I was always “too short” for my fixed desk configuration.  Once starting at Atmosphere, I began using my height adjustable desk to its full advantage, and now stand for a portion of my day.  It is a great advantage to have this ability and I haven’t experienced neck and shoulder pain since.  Now my biggest issue is remembering to wear standing-appropriate shoes!  ~ Dana, MN

As a current user, I can vouch that a height adjustable desk brings one unexpected benefit. When I’m seated, I can adjust the desk to the perfect height for my build and posture, something that isn’t possible with a static worksurface. But don’t most office chairs have a height-adjustable feature, you say?  Yes, the task chairs we sell for work and conference spaces almost always have a height adjustable feature. But the range of a chair cannot match the full range of a height adjustable desk, and the combination of an adjustable chair plus an adjustable desk delivers the most tailored fit.

I’ve also invested in a commercial-grade standing mat, which is glorious. The Wirecutter has a great review of anti-fatigue mats.

I wrote this while standing up.

Feeling super coordinated and trendy?  Gather a few co-workers and choreograph your own dance video.

Comments
  1. As the largest supplier of Sit-Stand workstations in North America Workrite Ergonomics couldn’t agree more and we are pleased to be one of the options that Atmosphere offers its clients.

    Reply

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