It's no secret that as a whole, people are sleeping less along with dealing with high levels of stress. Today's work environment is much different than what it was 50 years ago. Today's work environment has steadily shifted from one that required lots of movement to one that is sedentarily based.
With this shift brings a decrease in daily activity which has played a role in the rise of obesity and chronic illnesses.
With this in mind, companies are increasingly looking for solutions to improve their employees vitality. One of the more popular trends catching on are standing desks. But, as a recent New York Times column published in November mentioned, standing desk are overrated.
Dr. David Rempel, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, states: "Well-meaning safety professionals and some office furniture manufacturers are pushing sit-stand workstations as a way of improving cardiovascular health--but there is no scientific evidence to support this recommendation."
As Dr. Rempel wrote in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine published in July:
"While there is some evidence that the use of sit-stand workstations may prevent some musculoskeletal discomfort and improve productivity, there is little evidence that more standing at work will improve cardiovascular health. The basis for recommending more standing to improve cardiovascular health for sedentary workers follows from a misinterpretation of epidemiologic and physiologic studies."
Standing desks don't replace activity
The messaging surrounding standing desks serving as a viable healthy solution can lead some individuals to think of it as a replacement for actual activity. Standing desks can serve as a small piece of a wellness initiative, but it's far from being an antidote to improving total wellbeing and productivity.
With that said, here is one simple way to integrate more movement into your companies' DNA.
Provide incentives and rewards
A simple way to bolster your participation and excitement around wellness is to raise the stakes by offering rewards around your activities. Reward people for the steps they take on a daily basis. With various fitness trackers (including ones on smartphones) available, keeping up with daily activity levels has never been easier.
For example, encourage your employees to get 10,000 daily steps and offer various rewards based off of that. A few options to ensure you cater to everyone could be to offer a paid day off after accumulating a certain amount of steps, massages, and other types of activities that provide self-care relief.
Also of note is to look into starting various groups centered around specific activities to not only bolster participation, but also camaraderie among employees.
Sitting isn't the new smoking. Nor are standing desks the answer to our sedentary issues. But nevertheless, having the option of standing desks in the workplace is valuable. However, with everything said, nothing trumps simply walking away and resting your mind and eyes from your computer screen several times a day.