Office workers are being encouraged to stand at their desk rather than sit to better manage their weight.
Dr John Buckley from the department of clinical sciences and nutrition at the University of Chester found that using this method for three hours a day will burn off an extra 144 calories – which equates to more than 30,000 calories over the course of a year.
This means that without having to change their job or leisure time activities, individuals can be healthier. Not only should this help employees to achieve a better work-life balance, but employers using serviced offices should also benefit from better motivated staff.
Dr Buckley stated: “This is the perfect way for any office-bound worker to achieve the typical New Year’s resolution of wanting to lose half a stone without changing anything else. It’s little changes in behaviour such as this, or standing at your desk, that can add up to make quite a big difference to your health.”
He added the sedentary lifestyle experienced by office workers is the primary reason for their unhealthiness and so altering this behaviour is one way that individuals can look to reverse this trend.
Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Jefferson, Sir Winston Churchill and Donald Rumsfeld are among the famous advocates of standing desks. Dr Buckley hopes that more people will recognise the value attached to standing up at a desk, as he thinks that humans are designed to always be on the move.
The expert is part of a special advisory group to England’s Chief Medical Officer and workplace design, transport and the built environment are among the issues they are looking into.
Energy levels have long been seen as key to fostering good employee engagement. According to a recent blog posting on HRZone.co.uk, people will struggle to make a full contribution in their working life unless they are in the right frame of mind and have enough energy.
Office workers may be able to improve their overall health by getting up from their desks and standing, it has been claimed.
Writing for the Herald-Tribune, J. Bryan Lowder suggested that to some extent, standing up can counteract the negative impacts of a chair-bound working life.
He said there is a “growing body of evidence” that a sedentary job visits a host of perils upon the body.
“One notable effect is a decrease in the production and circulation of lipoprotein lipase, a molecule that helps determine how fats are processed,” Mr Lowder noted.
“Active muscle tissues are partly responsible for producing lipoprotein lipase as well as for the general burning of calories; a variety of muscle groups that are engaged when you’re standing become inactive once you sit down.”
He claimed that office workers can partly counteract this effect by standing up and moving around every 20 minutes or so.
“Some workers have taken these findings to mean that traditional chairs should be abandoned in favour of standing desks,” Mr Lowder commented.
However, he explained that standing up for long periods of time carries its own potential health problems.
For instance, employees may suffer from wear and tear on their ankles and knees, Mr Lowder claimed.
Employers have a responsibility to encourage workers to look after their health in the workplace – staff members must not be asked to work in such a way that causes them harm or severe discomfort.
Business leaders are also incentivised to do so in the sense that healthy, fit workers are likely to be more productive and contribute most to the bottom line.