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A case for standing desks in the workplace

Supplier: Ergomotion
18 June, 2015

Standing desks are more than just a craze, and they're spilling beyond the deep-pocketed offices of world-known companies like Google and Facebook.

People are becoming smarter, more aware, and more preventative when it comes to their health, which in itself, is brilliant to see. However where they stumble is with the cost justification of a standing desk culture in the workplace.

The difference between 'price' and 'cost'

Price aversion is natural; we're all guilty of denying a purchase based on price alone, both personally and professionally. However, price and cost are two different things, and the difference becomes apparent when you think of it like this: price is what a company would pay for equipment, furniture and software upfront, and cost, is the ongoing payment attributed to losses and other operating expenses.

So can your business justify the costs associated with workplace injuries and days missed, and look beyond the upfront price?

Common sedentary injuries

A lot of pressure is put on your body when you're sitting, slumping, and slouching for up to 17 hours in a day. "17 hours?!" you might think. "It can't be that much!"

Calculate it. On average, you spend around seven hours in bed, let's say an hour or two during your work commute, plus seven or eight hours sitting at your desk. Combine all that with two or three hours of sitting in front of the TV to relax at night, and we've brought your grand total to 17 hours (and possibly more) of sedentary behaviour.

Common workplace injuries, due to a sedentary lifestyle, include things like: tight hip flexors, a stiff spine, aching hamstrings and calves, tight shoulders and a sore neck. But why? To put it simply, reduced muscular demand - in that sedentary position - leads to increased joint loading and stress due to de-conditioning.

Standing desk justifications

Okay, so you know the facts, and you're obviously keen to stand up for your health… but how do you convince the boss?

The cost of workplace injuries is substantial. Did you know that lower back pain is the most prevalent workplace injury in Australia? It affects employees of all ages, and in all sectors, so no one is exempt. Back pain costs Australian businesses a whopping $4.8 billion per year and 25 per cent of back pain sufferers aged between 18 and 55 take ten or more days off per year. Think about what that is costing you in terms of lost productivity.

Productivity

Standing desks (moreover, the ability to switch from standing to sitting within mere seconds) are attributed as one of the greatest advantages when it comes to improving workplace productivity.

In fact, some journalists who tested out standing desks reported that, when standing, they felt a sense of perseverance or urgency, that allowed them to refocus and complete tasks more efficiently.

Concentration

Avoid that dreaded three o'clock slump and remove ‘food coma’ from your vocabulary: shifting between sitting and standing increases blood flow and improves energy and concentration.

You even start to segment tasks: "I'll sit once I've finished this blog post" – the reward is sitting, but the condition is that you won't do so until you finish your current task. You then make a decision to get the job done with fewer distractions.

Staff welfare

Beyond the legal obligations to which you have to comply (Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S), compensation, annual leave, etc.), a quality company requires quality staff. Retain and recruit the highest quality of staff by offering generous benefits and true compassion.

All of these actions create a positive and fruitful work environment, and improve the welfare of not only staff, but of the managerial team, too. You'll see an improvement in workplace absences, and your team will be not only happier, but healthier, too.

So stand up for your health and consider the benefits of a sit-stand work environment.