Paul Russell, head of product, Techlink, argues there are opportunities in supplying 21st century office furniture as well as tech to combat the dangers of sitting down on the job.

Sitting for more than four hours a day has been proven to cause many serious diseases. In fact statistics show that the risk of getting heart disease, cancer or diabetes is 40% higher if we sit down for more than four hours a day!

And now a new survey from the US reveals that spending all day at your desk or all evening on your sofa may make your brain shrink and increase the risk of Alzheimers.

So, when you consider that most of us in the UK actually sit down for almost 9 hours a day, this is all very bad news!

Study after study makes the benefits clear – but it’s tough for people to incorporate regular activity into the working day.

Walking around, stretching or even switching from sitting to standing every hour or so at work is too difficult, they say.

On your Feet!

A survey of staff at 2,500 companies which signed up for the On Your Feet Britain campaign earlier this year shows 76% know they sit too long – often spending 90 minutes at a time or more ­every day. And 68% spend a total of five hours or more seated. Forty-three per cent said their job is the main reason for being inactive at work.

But 85% believed their employer cared about their health. And 40% said bosses were ‘very aware’ of the risks of prolonged sitting – up from 14% three years ago.

“Awareness of the need to break sedentary habits in the workplace is spreading, which is heartening,” says Gavin Bradley, founder of Active Working and the ‘Get Britain Standing’ ­campaign.

However, on the world scene we are a long, long way behind.  In Denmark 90% of office workers have sit to stand desks. And if a job requires someone to sit at a desk two or more hours each day, it must be a sit-stand desk. Sweden is not far behind with around 80% penetration.  

Sedentary working and its associated health risks were most recently highlighted by leading BBC Radio 2 broadcaster Jeremy Vine.  He admitted to spending two hours each day sitting at his desk adding “It’s where we are at with our human evolution”. The programme’s resident doctor, Sarah Jarvis, claimed that people in offices were spending more time sitting down than pensioners.

And she told listeners, “People hunching over their desks for hours on end causes all kinds of problems from bad backs, to obesity-related ailments such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, RPI, mental problems and even reduced sperm count.”  

Recognising the problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle the design team at Techlink have used their skills as leading AV furniture designers to come up with a range of sit to stand desks and workstations to help combat these problems. The range also includes a number of accessories to enhance the sit-stand experience, from foot rockers to pressure relief mats and cable trunking. 

As EI Editor Daniel Sait wrote in a recent issue, “one thing that this industry can do better than anyone else is demonstration.” Well, here is a great opportunity to do just that!!  

It will certainly be a great talking point in demonstration areas.  And, as you have in the past sought out local hotels to do custom installation work, now is the time to target local offices. So don’t’ miss the boat. Take a stand now.

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