Get Your Office Moving
BY: MICHAEL HUGHES
INDUSTRIAL ENGINEER – VOLUME 46 NUMBER 3
Sit-stand desks are hot, but true ergonomics involves more than alternating between two positions.
Sitting is killing us, said the latest headlines. But standing all day makes our feet and knees hurt, said our bodies. This invention has been discovered by ergonomics for years: it’s unhealthy to sit all day. And an adjustable-height furniture idea has been discovered to overcome this situation.
Mayo Clinic refereed journals and the furniture industry for reports about how sedentary lifestyles contribute to problems with certain ills, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, etc. Mortality rate is 64 percent higher for those who sit more than 23 hours a week, caused from heart disease and studies show that regular exercise does not reverse the negative effect.
Alan Hedge, Cornell ergonomics professor, also said standing all day forces the heart to work harder to pump blood and makes it more likely that you develop varicose veins, back discomfort, and foot problems. Ergonomists say one vital key to good health is to vary posture and movement, balancing sitting with standing and moving. They also suggest to take one minute break every 20 minutes and followed by five-minute break every hour. It will increase productivity and alertness by 15 percent, Hedge said. Adjustable furniture becomes cost-competitive with the fixed-height furniture and encourages them to be remarkably known in market, such as Ergotron, Ergodesktop, and Stir. Various types of ergonomic equipment can cost from $500 to $3,890 per equipment.
The vital aspect is not the equipment, but the worker. Hedge confessed that he never has raised his desk to the standing position. He also varying his posture when he is working, and it’s not affecting his work one iota. Not only those who sit have to pay attention, but those who stand too. They need to wear the right footwear to support them while standing. So we need to pay attention for both position, and keep them to stay balanced.
There’s just no perfect solution, the problem is we were never designed to sit in front of a computer eight hours a day. And that’s what we’re doing.