Tag Archives: sitting disease

Custom sit-stand for the office – don’t fight design, join it

This is a familiar scenario we hear around the ‘Tron: I love the idea of my employees standing more, but we just integrated this new office design with custom worksurfaces…

It’s hard to argue with design at times. Especially when considering the tremendous number of hours spent on deliberating, designing and implementing these work environments to capture the spirit and the culture of the brand it is supporting.

If you can’t fight design, why not join it?

That’s the impetus behind the WorkFit-B Sit-Stand Base. Simply attach your custom worksurface to the WorkFit base of choice (light duty and heavy duty options available), and bingo-presto your employees have attractive, brand supporting sit-stand comfort.

Building the WFB Desk

Whoa. That’s an odd phrase. Brand supporting sit-stand comfort. But culture is important, right? Not only to attract top talent but to keep them healthy and productive while they are there. If you’ve taken the trouble to create a talent attracting environment, why not take the next step?

Sit-stand computing is more than a hot trend. (Although sure, I’d love this to be a “computer on every sit-stand desk” kind of revolution!)

Truthfully, a lot more people than I have discovered that standing more makes them feel better. Smarter people than I have the science to prove it. And now we can help you prove for yourself that your staff will feel (and look good) while standing more.

A few things to know about the WorkFit-B: 

  • Capacity LD: ≤ 60 lbs (27.2 kg);  HD: ≤ 88 lbs (40 kg)
  • Lift: LD: 19″ (50 cm); HD: 20″ (51 cm)
  • Integrated brake secures table in place, with easy release for instantaneous, tool-free, non-motorized re-positioning with Ergotron’s Constant Force (CF) motion technology
  • Assumes worksurface thickness of .87″ (2.2 cm)
  • Four leveling glides establish a firm footing and adjust to install the unit on uneven floors

One thing to keep in mind, the listed weight capacity represents total load applied to height-adjustment platform. So for best results, when calculating load include weight of worksurface, accessory mounts for keyboard and display(s), and any computer hardware being placed on worksurface (less of an issue with quilt squares or scrapbook pages for the home crafter!).

Ergonomic considerations: 

No matter how you choose to use it, don’t miss out on proper ergonomics when considering a custom sit-stand option like this. Here are a few ideas to keep it healthy and to keep it safe:

  • Use the Workspace Planner tool to help calculate the proper worksurface measurements for sitting and standing postures
  • Consider adjustable monitor or laptop arms to ensure proper screen to eye ratios, especially if the keyboard will be placed on the worksurface
  • Integrate an under-desk keyboard option like Ergotron’s Neo-Flex® Underdesk Keyboard Arm (97-582-009) if keying off the worksurface is less than ideal
  • Change postures frequently! Standing too long, just like sitting too long, can cause problems…the key is to find the right balance of sitting and standing for you

How creative do you want to be?

I’ve had some fun thinking of different surfaces to add to this base. I have a new craft room at home and plenty of spare parts squirreled away, like that old wooden door in the garage rafters, or a thick slice of plexi in the storage room. If you have any funky ideas, please send them along.

Sit-stand can go beyond the primary computing space, don’t forget:

  • Makeover the visitor table in your office to a sit-stand hot spot
  • Swap over some of the tables in the cafeteria for the stand-and-graze types on your team
  • Shake things up in your conference or training rooms with sit-stand options for happier, and healthier sessions

This product lets you keep style and function as a work team, instead of opponents. In fact, a true marriage of interior design and sit-stand is possible, when sit-stand is included in the project scope early on and the designer is tasked with making it crazy-cool. A brand feast if you will, for the body and senses. An ultimate win-win for everyone involved.

Go now, get creative.

MJudd
Michelle Judd
Sr. Marketing Manager, Global Communications
@mjudd 

 

Own your space, own your life

UoChesterStudyHow big is your office? Is it a tiny cubical or a part of an open plan benching system? Do you have a dedicated desk or plop into any available chair? Are you working from the comfort of home or are you alone in a corner office with a million-dollar view?

Whatever your office size or configuration, the area within your control is actually quite small.  Full-time workers spend forty percent of their waking hours sitting within a space no larger than their own height. For the average person, if they spread their arms out to their side at shoulder height, that measurement would be about five and a half feet in diameter from fingertip to fingertip (nails not included).

If those numbers seem bleak, don’t despair. There is a way to make the most of every inch and every minute while you are at work. Just stand–with a sit-stand workstation.

Sure, the media has been full of reports about standing desks, sedentary behavior, and how regular exercise alone isn’t enough to keep us healthy; but a lot of people, employees and employers alike, seem to be missing the point. Not because they’re immune to the health risks of prolonged siting, but because they are reacting to assumptions that side-track them from the truth that they have become accustomed to an unnatural way of working and indeed, living.

Some comment that standing at a desk is nothing new; some bristle at having “one more thing to worry about,” while others delight in pointing out that standing too long is just as bad as sitting too long.

Well, yes.

But what’s that got to do with you?

Given everything that you know about how it feels to be stuck at a computer for hours on end, why wouldn’t you consider standing? Especially in light of an episode called “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor” which aired last Thursday, October 17 on BBC Two television in the UK. The study, conducted by Dr. John Buckley at the University of Chester was built upon previous findings indicating that:

  1. Prolonged sitting causes damage to joints which can lead to inflammation, stress and chronic pain
  2. Prolonged sitting can lead to cardio-metabolic disease
  3. Sit-stand computer workstations have been proven by scientific research to be both feasible and effective at reducing sitting time in a work setting.

The BBC/University of Chester researchers found that both heart rate and energy expenditure were raised significantly by standing work. They speculate that over the course of a year’s work, if workers stood for three to four hours per day doing desk work, it would equate to an additional energy expenditure of 25,000 kcal (about 7lbs or 3 kg of human fat)!

Subjective evaluations found that 8 of 10 workers were very willing to stand doing work as long as they could have breaks and do some work sitting.

No least of all, the UK researchers stated that the simple act of performing desk work, while standing for greater than three hours after lunch, helps to lower blood glucose more quickly back down to normal levels.

The research is in…standing at the computer is both feasible healthier than sitting on its own. And the ability to modify your work surface height, depending on how you feel and the type of task you are doing gives you “decision latitude,” which in itself, is known to improve attitude and consequently, productivity.

Your office may be large or small, near to home or far away. With a sit-stand workstation, it doesn’t matter because you’re in charge. Own your work space. Own your life!

CarrieSchmitzCarrie Schmitz
Ergonomics & Wellness Research Manager @ Ergotron
@giveafig

 

 

 

Additional reading:

Study uncovers the science underlying sit-stand workstation use

In February 2012, Ergotron participated in a scientific study with the University of Minnesota (School of Public Health) and the Mayo Clinic called, “The Effect of Sit-Stand Workstations on Physical Activity in Sedentary Office Workers: A Randomized Crossover Trial.”

pants01-lrWhen we first blogged about it in, “What’s the skinny on sit-stand desks? (Hint, it has to do with magic underwear),” the study was just about to begin. Emphasis was on increasing the understanding of how prolonged sitting can lead to such serious issues as diabetes, cancer and cardio-vascular disease.

“The primary purpose of our research is to establish whether the use of sit-stand desks to reduce sitting time was both feasible and effective,” said Carrie Schmitz, Sr. Manager Ergonomic Research at Ergotron and coauthor of the study.

So where does the “magic underwear” fit into that? Explains Schmitz, “Each participant wore a posture measurement device designed by Dr. David Levine and his researchers at the Mayo clinic. Essentially these were bike pants fitted with accelerometers and worn beneath normal clothing that told us whether participants were sitting, standing or walking.”

A formal announcement of the study occurred last May in Chicago when lead researcher Nirjhar Dutta presented the study findings at the American Diabetes Association 73rd Scientific Sessions.

Based on the data gathered in 2012, the feasibility aspect of the study hypothesis was proven because it was demonstrated that participants preferred their new sit-stand work style to their former seated-only habits.

According to Nirjhar Dutta, “The sit-stand workstations were highly popular with over 96% of the subjects enjoying their use.” (Update: The 96% figure turned out to be misleading, because at the 12 month follow-up in 2013, one subject who had initially passed on keeping the sit-stand workstation ultimately returned to it.)

Regarding efficacy, the second part of the study hypothesis, the data showed that the intervention (sit-stand workstations), “significantly increased activity during work hours.” In short, the study was a success and will take its place as an important informer of future, larger studies, like the “Stand-up Australia” and “Stand & Move” studies currently in progress.

Ergotron WorkFit™ sit-stand workstations were chosen as the intervention because they enable office workers to move from a sitting to standing posture (postural rotation) and back again effortlessly. Desks that feature hand-cranking adjustment were ruled out of consideration due to concern that the repeated cranking motion required could itself be a cause of repetitive stress and motor-operated, a lengthy process which likely prohibits mobility, rather than fosters it and burns natural energy resources instead of calories. 

Why the distinction? There’s plenty of science indicating that increased activity is vital for a healthy work style, especially these days when technology has taken so many physical tasks out of our hands.

Testament to the importance and timeliness of Ergotron’s continued focus on sit-stand postural rotation research activities is the American Medical Association’s (AMA) recent announcement about adopting a policy on sitting in the workplace: AMA Adopts New Policies on Second Day of Voting at Annual Meeting.  

According to AMA board member Patrice Harris, MD, “Prolonged sitting, particularly in work settings, can cause health problems, and encouraging work places to offer employees alternatives to sitting all day will help to create a healthier workforce.”­

Overall, a sit-stand desk appears to be a promising tool to reduce sedentary time at work. Given the proportion of hours spent at work, sit-stand desks may contribute to decreasing sedentary time and improving the health of sedentary office workers.

“Utilizing a product that can improve one’s work experience without negatively impacting health or productivity is paramount,” says Schmitz. “Ergotron’s WorkFit line represents results-driven product design, as evidenced by one of the key findings of the research, that the intervention increased overall sense of well-being, decreased fatigue, and surprisingly, reduced appetite.”

Research like this is helping businesses define how to accomplish the AMA directives. We’ll share more information when the study is formally published. Until then, you will find more sit-stand research and news at Research.juststand.org.

For more information, resources and tools to make your computer experience less damaging and more rewarding, visit us at Computingcomfort.org and Juststand.org.