A little knock off of R.E.M.’s, “Stand”, (there I go, “dating” myself again), but the conversation of standing at work is a hot topic of late. Perhaps there were murmurings before Nilofer Merchant’s, Harvard Business Review article touting that, “Sitting is the Smoking of Our Generation,” but the health ramifications associated with prolonged sitting had not previously been so blatantly spelled out via cold, hard, data.
Merchant’s article sites research that states your life is cut short by 22 minutes for every 8-12 hours you spend sitting sedentary. Aside from the physical/skeletal nightmare’s that can occur with bad posture, poor chair design, and other ill- habits, it’s the reluctance of workers to recognize the impact of day in, day out, misuse or miss alignment of their body that contributes to its long-term effects. Moving beyond carpel tunnel, back and shoulder aches, stiff knees, eye strain, etc….There are chemical shifts in your body while sitting. Data shows that the enzyme the burns fats in the body, declines by 90% after just one hour of sitting! If that’s not incentive to get up and move, at least every hour, if not more frequent, I don’t know what is!
On any given day I spend up to 9 hours of sitting at work; I may switch spots – say, task chair, to conference chair to car seat, (repeat), but I am largely spending those 9 hours – sitting. On a good night, I’m talking a really good night, I am fortunate to get 6.5- 7 hours of sleep. Therefore, I sit more than I sleep each day- as that 9 hours is strictly accounting for my work day. Not drive time, not “watching TV on the couch time” or other sitting based activities. Merchant was heralded in sharing this revelation, as the impact of our longer work days, hyper connectivity (speaking technologically) has done a number on our bodies, and not just the stress related to heavier workloads and longer hours, but the physical downfall of so much sitting.
Enter, “Stand in the Place Where You Work;” standing at work is not a passing trend in my book. With the interest in healthier work forces, reducing worker’s comp claims, and the like, I wouldn’t be surprised if “sitting at your desk” exclusively, doesn’t go by the way side of the once, 2 “smoke breaks” a-day concept. Furniture manufacturers have answered this need with the “Sit/Stand” table option. These work surfaces go from a traditional sit height, to a standing height – with a push of a button, a turn of a crank or a squeeze of a paddle, depending on the mechanism.
Teknion’s table lines offer several sit/stand solutions to the sitting epidemic- offered in Electronic, Incremental and Counterbalance mechanisms. The LIVELLO counterbalance option is their most recent addition. The internal spring mechanisms counteract the weight on the surface for a fluid, seemingly intuitive, motion.