Tag Archives: Wellness

Has your CEO signed the Pledge?

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As you can see, Ergotron’s Pete Segar is happy to support the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA) in its goal of encouraging every CEO in the U.S. to recognize physical activity as an important driver of employee health and business performance. The NCPPA identifies several key reasons why you may want your CEO to get onboard the CEO Pledge:

  • Employees will be healthier
  • Employees will be happier and more engaged
  • Your organization will increase productivity
  • Your org will be better positioned to recruit and retain top talent

Just think of the possibilities when you add dual monitor productivity and sit-stand computing to break up sedentary time to that mix? Wow. Join us!

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.

Put the glass down and push that chair away: Simple spins on minimizing stress each day!

Sit less. Stand more. Start now. The question, “Is your glass half-full or half-empty?” is one of those nasty little clichés that you don’t want to be asked when life’s daily grind starts getting you down.

It’s inevitable, though, right?

No matter how full your glass is each day, the grind will get you down. So the better question might be, how can you reduce the stress induced by the daily grind so you can maintain that ‘my glass is half-full’ mentality each day?

Here’s a great little nugget my dad shared with me. Thank you “Author Unknown.”

A young lady confidently walked around the room while leading a talk and explaining stress management to an audience with a raised glass of water. Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, ‘half empty or half full?’… She fooled them all. “How heavy is this glass of water?” she inquired with a smile. 

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz to 20 oz.

She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it.  If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm.

“If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “And that’s the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on.

“As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden–holding stress longer and better each time practiced.”

~ Author Unknown

In my role as “WorkFit Evangelista” @WorkFitWendy, people always ask, “Why is it so important to reduce sitting time and stand up now and then?” So I quickly jump into “according to researchers”, and deliver the science with passion! Since I’m always looking for ways to keep the recipients of my message engaged with the science of it all, this little nugget kind of serves as a great analogy.

It’s not just the act of sitting that puts our bodies at risk; it’s how much of it we do each day that puts our bodies under stress.

Reduce the stress and other health risks you put your body under each day by adding more standing breaks into your daily routine. You’ll ramp up metabolism, burn more calories, increase muscle tone, improve blood flow and boost oxygen levels to your brain!

@workfitwendy

 

 

 

 

Wendy McCubbin
Sr. Wellness Manager, Ergotron

P.S:  Grr–my apologies, folks, was hoping that I could end the blog there, but I just…can’t…do… it…!! 

Sitting time adds up quickly. Really quickly. Increasing your risk for the chronic illnesses linked to what metabolic researchers call “Sitting Disease.” See just how quickly for yourself—calculate the amount of sitting you do each day using the nifty cool sitting calculator on juststand.org. Disclaimer: Enter at your own risk. This nifty cool calculator also calculates your risk for developing Sitting Disease!

Active people, also beware! “We’ve become so sedentary that 30 minutes a day at the gym may not do enough to counteract the detrimental effects of eight, nine, or 10 hours of sitting” says Genevieve Healy, Ph.D., world-renowned metabolic researcher AND the research keynote for the 3rd Annual JustStand™ Wellness Summit, July 17, 2013.

Because heart health matters…

Ergotron CMO Jane Payfer is getting her Heart Walk spirit on in preparation for the MN American Heart Association Heart Walk May 19 at Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins.

Over 90 Ergotron employees and their families will be hitting the field to support healthier hearts, many citing how cardiovascular disease and stroke has impacted their family and friends.

Ergotron’s commitment to healthier lives extends to supporting health organizations like the American Heart Association to help better understand the true impact just “standing more” has on a person’s current and long-term health.

Introducing healthy movement back into the work routine of an at risk person’s day is one way to ease them into a healthier, active lifestyle. Click here to learn more about Ergotron’s sponsorship of the American Heart Association.

Ergotron will have a booth in the Blue Concourse at Target Field. Stop by to learn more about how standing more throughout your day helps to increase metabolism, blood flow, even caloric burn. We will have some WorkFit units for you to demo, and you can put your name in to win one yourself!

Not heading out for the event? Follow Ergotron (@ergotron) and all the Twin Cities walkers on Twitter with #TCHeartwalk. You can also catch FOX9 News reporter Todd Walker reporting live from the Ergotron booth at 8:30 AM. Or, see the pictures on Ergotron’s Facebook page during and after the event. 

And if you see a yellow juststand.org sticker like the one on Jane’s back above? Don’t hesitate to stop and ask what it is all about. Your life, and your loved ones life, may be better for it! 

 

To sit or to stand; or to sit and stand? Eggs are good. Wait, eggs are bad?

Wendy McCubbin, Sr. Manager, Workspace Wellness @ Ergotron

Ahhh… it’s the question of the day – to sit, or to stand? While there are differing opinions, l love that the conversation continues, helping us in our cause to create awareness on the dangerous, sometimes deadly effects of sedentary work environments and sitting disease!

First, THANK YOU Cornell University, specifically the faculty and staff at CUErgo, for contributing to the sit versus stand conversation last week in your posting, “Sitting and Standing at Work” linking to research led by Professor Alan Hedge, Cornell University, Design & Environmental Analysis, in 2004.

Thanks also to LifeHacker, HackerNews and most recently, TreeHugger for picking up on the posting and drawing more people into the conversation. At times, I’ve enjoyed reading the comments almost as much as the postings!

For those of you who’ve not yet read it, the CUErgo posting identifies the perils of sitting and of standing and concludes that periodic acts of movement is all that’s needed to give our bodies the replenishment they need.

The study they reference dates back to 2004 though, and there is a mounting evidence of more current research identifying the dangers associated with long periods of sitting “to do computer work” and which support the need for sit-stand work environments.

Healthier alternatives to fixed or even height-adjustable workspaces have evolved so much since then!

This is why Ergotron launched the Just Stand Wellness Uprising in 2010, a causal campaign designed to educate workers from around the world about the dangers imposed by our sedentary work environments and that healthy workspace options to avoid sitting disease do exist!

But creating an Uprising is a hell of an undertaking, which is why we’re happy you’ve all contributed to the conversation with your postings… and we look forward to more of it!

Sitting too much IS deadly

As a self-proclaimed sit-stand evangelista, I’m jazzed that you all continue to contribute to the awareness through your postings, drawing more attention to an important issue—sitting too much is deadly.

Research claims that we are spending nearly 77% of our day just sitting, so as CUErgo points out, the peril of sitting “…for more than 1 hour has been shown to induce biochemical changes in lipase activity (an enzyme involved in fat metabolism) and in glucose metabolism that leads to the deposit of fats in adipose tissue rather than these being metabolized by muscle, and extensive sitting also relates to heart disease risks, so people are advocating standing to work because this use more muscle activity (burns about 20% more calories). These changes happen in both fit people who regularly aerobically work out and also unfit and obese people, so regular exercise doesn’t address this.”

“It’s not just how much physical activity you get, but how much time you spend sitting that can affect your risk of death.”

Clearly, the physiological and biochemical reactions defined by CUErgo as a peril to sitting might be contributors to the shocking discovery published in 2009 by Dr. Alpa Patel and the American Cancer Society who, after observing over 123,000 individuals between 1993 and 2006, found a link between “More Time Spent Sitting to Higher Risk of Death.”

In their research, Dr. Patel and the American Cancer Society determined “it’s not just how much physical activity you get, but how much time you spend sitting that can affect your risk of death.” In it, researchers concluded that time spent sitting was independently associated with total mortality, regardless of physical activity level.

Are the theories summarized in the posting by CUErgo wrong?  Not entirely.

While CUErgo seems to question the health benefits of standing, it is interesting to note that Professor Hedge summarized, “There is good evidence to indicate that adjustable furniture that can support sit-stand working may be beneficial to the health and performance of office workers.”

And this summarization is shared by medical experts, ergonomists, and researchers from around the world who provide an important holistic view of the very real dangers of sitting disease and who advocate the need to do away with the sedentary work routines we’ve been forced to work within.

Research has established that the act of standing increases blood flow, metabolic rates and caloric burn while improving focus, energy and productivity and will reduce the stiffness, discomfort and aches commonly associated with computing and long periods of sitting. There is even mounting evidence that increased energy and focus associated with sit-stand options impact productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness in a significant way.

We need never be sentenced to our office chair again!

We agree, CUErgo, standing all day can be unhealthy!  That’s why we advocate a healthy blend of sitting and standing and to give individuals the option to sit and stand whenever, and for as long as, they choose—in doses that are comfortable for them.  But indeed, they need the option.

Unlike the electronic height-adjustable workstations you observed in the 2004 research, what’s exciting for businesses and consumers today is access to a growing list of affordable, height-adjustable, wellness enhancing products that are as easy to adjust from a seated to a standing position as, well, simply standing is. Today’s knowledge worker need never be sentenced to their office chair again.

The interesting thing about the 2004 study is that it claimed the 33 people they observed were “self-assessed with musculoskeletal discomfort.” In the 2011 JourneyWell Take A Stand project, 16 of the participants claimed no health issues prior to access to a sit-stand workstation. After the units were removed? Nearly ALL claimed some level of discomfort when forced to return to their sit-only, sedentary work routine!

It says to me that the average office worker may be completely unaware of how uncomfortable they are and even more unaware of how dangerous long periods of sitting can be.

So the perils may instead lie in not adopting sit-stand workstation options. And with prices ranging from only $400 to $1000, consumers are no longer shut off from being able to afford it!  The beauty is: the sophistication of the technology enabling easy sit-stand adjustability has advanced significantly from the electronic desks of the Cornell Study.

Here’s an invitation Cornell!

Our invitation to Cornell remains the same as one that other leading researchers around the globe have already accepted—let Ergotron be a part of your next sit-stand research!

There is so much more to learn and definitely so much to gain.  Plus, our lives are depending on it.

On a final note, I wouldn’t be completely fulfilling my duties as a sit-stand evangelista if I didn’t attempt to contribute to the conversation and the collaboration we’ve established this week, so of all the research that currently exists, here’s my top ten.

Pssst LifeHacker, you made it … twice!

WorkFit Wendy’s Top Ten “Take a Stand” references

  1. Leisure Time Spent Sitting in Relation to Total Mortality in a Prospective Cohort of US Adults  Journal of Epidemiology (April 2010)
  2. Sitting Time & Mortality from All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease & Cancer Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (2009) Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute
  3. Your Body’s Biggest Enemy The dangers of living a sedentary life: Learn how to ward off the nasty effects of a new epidemic called Sitting Disease (September 2011)
  4. Excessive Sitting Linked to Premature Death in Women USAToday (August 2011)
  5. Calories Burned By Standing Up eHow Health (okay, okay, no date given, but it seems really current, does that count?)
  6. The Many Benefits of Standing at Your Desk Harvard Business Review (August 2010)
  7. Prolonged Sitting Causes Disease, Standing Fights it LifeHacker (11/19/07)
  8. The “Sitting Is Killing You” Infographic Shows Just How Bad Prolonged Sitting Is  LifeHacker (05/11/11)
  9. Physical Inactivity Linked to Increased Risk for Chronic Disease University of Missouri (August 2011)

…. and my absolute favorite? Drumrolllllllllllllllll, please….

10.  Study: Standing and Sitting at Work Improves Health, Happiness of Workers PR Newswire (08/01/11)

 

The Stretch: doing what comes naturally?

Jane Payfer, Chief Marketing Officer @ Ergotron

jpayfer-1Some of you know I’m a new Grandma.  While working, I try to stay focused on work things, but every now and again, a Grandma moment creeps in.

One happened yesterday.

The marketing team was working on a pretty big launch initiative coming up later this summer, and I just had to share an observation from our new grandson.

When he’s in the process of waking up,  he stretches.  A lot. Full body stretch. Back is arched. Little arms are reaching, reaching reaching−pushing out farther than normal.  His head moves from side to side, almost in a total 180 degree motion.  It’s WORK, this stretch.  It takes effort.

And then he opens his eyes, and he’s a happy boy.  The sleep does him good−but his stretching seems really good, too.

When did we stop stretching when we wake up?

From “I’m a little tea pot short and stout” to “bend and stretch, reach for the stars,” we remind little children to stretch. As adults, stretching becomes part of the work-out routine, or is embodied in our yoga or Pilate’s work-out. 

When we work out. If we work out.

When did stretching switch from being something our bodies naturally and instinctually do, to something we have to stop and think about doing? Mayo Clinic experts report that it’s essential for us to stretch. Why is doing what’s good for us, so hard?

I purposefully had a BIG stretch this morning, when I first woke up.  Seems to be a happier day already. Hmmm…

It seems the beauty of stretching is that we can stretch without having to work out, and feel better for it. Stretch in the morning. At our desks throughout the day. In the car. In the grocery line.  At Target. Where else?

I like that.

Defining the debate

JRPI read a post recently from Brian Tankersly on Multiple Monitors. He was interested to see that the “multi-monitor thing is going much more mainstream.”

Just to note, there’s plenty of research that proves dual displays equate to more productivity. One Fortune 500 account’s call center experienced 45% gain in productivity with dual monitors.  Think on that a moment. Folks out there, from gamers to CPAs, acknowledge they get more done, or have more fun, with multiple monitors.  And we can even help prove the ROI with our Payback Calculator. So why isn’t the business community talking about it?

I think I know.

I’ve heard department heads tell me, after they’ve seen our products, that they’ll get in trouble, because all of their employees will want one. 

Get in trouble for investing less than $500/employee for a product that will pay for itself in as few as two weeks?

Get in trouble for increasing employee productivity?

Get in trouble for improving employee morale and providing workplace wellness?

Yup, I think that’s it.  Am I right? Or is there more to the story. Is it safer to stay with the status quo or to actually empower a workforce to get more things done, and actually feel good when they are done?

Branding in the age of seven trikillion impressions a day

JRP

Do you love your job? I love mine, and I’ve found that not a lot of people make that claim. Typically those that do, don’t say it haphazardly. As a round-up-to-one hundred, empty nester, I’m quickly approaching the retirement phase of life, and I can’t quite envision myself there, because, as previously mentioned, I truly do love my job. I can’t imagine “shelving it” just at that time when I’m feeling I’m at the zenith of my personal, and professional productivity and creativity.

And, to further exacerbate the situation, the major problem I face as the marketing team lead for Ergotron ( the title is VP – do titles matter?- that’s another whole blog) is that almost every time I watch t.v. or a movie, or peruse a magazine or newspaper, I see or come in contact with someone or some situation that could be improved through our human centered designed products. Sunday Morning on CBS is on right now. In a recent episode, they showed some researcher who had dual monitors on his desk, but they’re not positioned correctly; he leans forward to see the screen, hunched and crunched. It makes me wince – actually, it makes me crazy. Here someone was showcased getting national attention for their work on a life-saving research project, and the showcased work behavior is counterproductive to his own health and wellness. Which means there’s more work for us to be done, which means we’re really only getting started. Retirement around the corner? Not so fast. . .

HHH with Jane Rodmyre 0372When I was in high school, I went on a student government trip to Washington, D.C. We met Hubert Humphrey, who, at that time, had been Mayor of Minneapolis, Senator from Minnesota, and Vice-President of the United States. He spent over an hour with us, a motley crew of 14 students and two teachers from West St. Paul. predicting the impact television would have in our lives. The premise was that if a picture was worth a thousand words, how much more powerful, for the good, could a minute of television be. . .if the television content was developed correctly. This was the Vietnam era. The time when a picture captured a naked little girl, running away from a napalm bomb blast. It was a powerful image. And a haunting picture. She was nine. I was sixteen. His words, like that picture, have stuck with me ever since.

HHH with SCHS Students, 0372

My boss frequently reminds me we can’t market like “Coke.” We’re not building a power brand. Ergotron’s go to market model is predominantly B2B. Even though we have many “consumer” products, we use the digital intersection of Mac, and PC computer and display market makers, to get our products into both commercial and consumer users’ hands. We’ve recently started working with a physical comedian here in Minneapolis, David Harris, to put a face to our company as “Tester Guy“. Tester Guy’s persona fits our company to a “t”. We are incredibly serious about the products we develop. We have safety tests, quality tests, environmental tests, tip tests, push, pull, prod and nudge tests at Ergotron, before we release a product to the world. Tester Guy puts a little light hearted fun into our own testing process, and then the functionality of the product takes him off into a fantasy world – a world that actually creates a touch point for the fun we have, doing what we do, trying to make the world a better place, at Ergotron.

While we haven’t gotten as many “eyeballs” on our video as we like, yet, we’re just launching the Dare2Dual program behind it on August 1st. I’ll let you know if its a successful attempt to build our brand. I hope Hubert was right. And that this 1 minute 40 seconds really tells a story, for good.