February 2017 Newsletter:

Sit-Stand Workstations: Are they really the answer?

In recent years, catch-phrases like, “sitting is the new smoking” and, “too much sitting is killing you” have been a major topic of conversation with our clients. While these headlines are sensationalist, there is also a certain truth to them: maintaining any posture for 8-hours a day without breaks can lead to discomfort and injury. As a response to this, adjustable sit-stand workstations were created, and since then have been at the top of everyone’s ergonomic wish list.

Despite the popularity of sit-stand workstations, some corporations have reported that after one year, only 20% of these stations are still being used, and after three years, less than 3%. This is a problem, as it means that these workstations do not produce postural variation over the long-term, and as such may not be a great investment.

The team at PROergonomics is certainly an advocate for reducing long periods of uninterrupted sitting and acknowledge that, in some cases (i.e. specific injuries and accommodations), a sit stand workstation may be key to a successful return to work plan. However, we also believe that there are plenty of other ways to introduce movement into a workday without spending money on an expensive toy that maybe cast aside in a year. Some simple strategies you can try include are:

  • Walking meetings
  • Stand up when talking on the phone
  • Move your printer to another room
  • Put anything you use every hour or two across the room
  • Drink more water (Getting water will get you out of your chair, as will the more frequent bathroom breaks)

Movement and postural variation is important to maintaining a healthy workforce; it restores blood flow to the tissue and takes care of the slouched posture that creeps in throughout the day. It takes time and effort to form habits that create movement, however. Some of these can be created through workplace policies: walking meetings are a good example of this. Others are small decisions made throughout the day, like choosing to stand when talking on the phone. Educating yourself and your workers can make a big difference.

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