Betsey Banker, a wellness marketing manager for sit-stand desk manufacturer Ergotron, is making the case for why sedentary desk workers should add some movement to their workday.
Ergotron was the first company to bring a sit-stand desk product to market, Banker said, when research began surfacing about the unhealthy effects of sitting for extended periods. But the elimination of sitting isn’t the answer, she argued yesterday at the PDS Connect 2017 conference, where she led one of the small group discussions.
“Cumulatively, it’s added up to the point where people are spending upwards of 12 hours during the day sitting, and a lot of that time is uninterrupted sitting,” she said. “Inactivity has become this new problem that we weren’t necessarily aware of.”
Now, the World Health Organization classifies physical inactivity as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality, and research continues to be done on ergonomics and how varying combinations of activity and inactivity impact health.
“Just like we know from research that too much sitting can cause problems, we also know that too much standing is not the answer either,” she said. “It’s actually about having a mix between the two, and being able to interrupt those sitting periods, and also being able to interrupt those standing periods.”
By alternating between sitting and standing frequently, breaking up each hour of the workday into different levels of activity, Banker says sitting then becomes a posture for rest and recuperation, rather than the default.
She argued that this sit-stand “movement” is bringing benefits to employees in terms of health, mood and overall energy levels, while also benefiting employers in terms of boosting overall productivity and lowering the cost of employees’ health care.
Citing numbers from the Society of Human Resource Management, Banker said 44 percent of employers report they are buying sit-stand workstations for employees.
“Probably quite a few of you are already in this situation, but if you’re not, it’s coming,” she added. “It’s right around the corner.”
–By Alex Moe