Avoid Chair Disease
BACK PAIN, TYPE 2 DIABETES, OBESITY, AND CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE – THESE ARE ALL SIDE EFFECTS OF WHAT RESEARCHERS ARE CALLING “CHAIR DISEASE”.
WHILE WORKSTATION DESIGN HAS COME A LONG WAY SINCE THE ‘80S, WORKERS STILL NEED TO GET UP OUT OF THEIR ERGONOMIC CHAIR AND MOVE AROUND THE OFFICE SPACE TO STAY HEALTHY.
GRAVITY’S DYNAMIC COWORKING FLOOR WAS DESIGNED BY VALMONT, A FITOUT FIRM THAT UNDERSTANDS HOW THE BEST OFFICE ENVIRONMENT CAN POSITIVELY CONTRIBUTE TO THE WELLBEING OF EMPLOYEES. GRAVITITES BENEFIT FROM A VARIETY OF WORKPOINTS IN THEIR OPEN-PLAN OFFICE, INCLUDING STAND-UP DESKS, QUIET BOOTHS, TEAM WORKING HUBS, A CENTRAL BREAKOUT ZONE AND EVEN A BALCONY. THIS VARIETY OF OPTIONS ENABLES STAFF TO WORK FROM WHEREVER THEY FEEL COMFORTABLE, CHOOSING WHATEVER AREA BEST SUITS THE TASK THEY ARE PERFORMING.
The lead author of a new University of Sydney study into computer work and musculoskeletal symptoms, Dr Karin Griffiths, explains:
“I know the amount of money organisations are putting into improved workstations and ergonomics, and it’s not that those changes aren’t important,” said Dr Griffiths, a physiotherapist.
“The problem is nearly everything can be done at the desk now – communication, library research, file retrieval, even meetings. It doesn’t matter how good the chair is, it is not going to address the health problem of what some researchers are calling ‘chair disease’.”
Nicholas Gilson, a lecturer in physical activity and health at the University of Queensland, agrees:
“Workers need environmental opportunities to frequently change posture from sitting to standing and moving in work tasks,” Dr Gilson said.
“This is not only going to benefit musculoskeletal issues, but also risk factors associated with chronic disease and in all likelihood, productivity and job satisfaction.”
If that wasn’t enough to convince you, a new report published in the Medical Journal of Australia is urging businesses to adopt a “standing desk” policy to improve office workers’ posture and overall health. Head researcher Professor Leon Straker from Curtin University’s School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science in WA explains:
“A doctor who is aware that a patient has a prolapsed disc in the spine would require the patient to refrain from lifting heavy objects at work. In the same way, a doctor who is aware that a patient’s cardiovascular condition necessitates remaining active and avoiding excessive sedentary exposure should inform the patient and employer of the need for the patient to regularly move to maintain wellbeing.”
According to the paper, over 75 % of the office workday is spent sitting, usually in unbroken bouts of at least 30 minutes. This excessive sitting can lead to such serious diseases as obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease and may cause premature mortality.
“There is now evidence that both overall sedentary time and the pattern of sedentary exposure are associated with substantial harm,” warns Professor Straker. “Some risk reduction strategies, such as introducing standing meetings, are costless.”
So Gravitites, ditch the internal emails, hold meetings while standing or walking, make use of our balcony for al fresco conferences, have a standing brain storming breakfast in our breakout, and dig into the free fresh fruit provided daily.
A healthy worker is a happy, productive worker.