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Workplace


Sitting is the new smoking – that’s been the eye-catching headline in everything from specialist design publications to the national broadsheets over the past year or so. But do you really need to change all your office furniture? And if you do make changes, what should you look for? Ashley Hayward offers some advice


The lowdown on sit-stand A


cross Sweden, Norway and Finland, over 80% of office workers use sit-stand desks and


offering employees a height adjustable work station is now mandatory in Denmark. However, sit-stand working is still in its infancy in the UK, with only 2% of workers having access to variable-height workstations. Given the huge amount of news coverage devoted to the subject of sedentary lifestyles in the last couple of years, ‘sit-stand’ and ‘active working’ have become buzz terms in UK workplace design. The ‘On Your Feet Britain’ campaign has raised awareness of the health perils risked by the many Brits who spend an average of 8.5 hours a day sitting, whether at their desk or slumped in front of the telly. Inevitably, savvy employers will be asking themselves if they can afford to ignore the problem. If you are taking the time to read this,


you are probably already well aware that sitting down all day can reduce


54 FACILITIES


n 90% increase in death due to cardiovascular events


n 49% increase in death due to any cause.


So when you consider that, according to ONS figures, back problems alone cost UK employers more than 15 million workdays in 2013, sitting down adds up to a very expensive problem. The obvious solution is to introduce sit-stand desks to the workplace, as they not only help to get people up on their feet for at least part of the working day, but also help companies to meet their DDA and DSE


productivity, increase stress levels, lead to obesity and cause back pain and RSI. Even more disturbingly, perusal of recent research tells us that, compared to the shortest time spent sedentary, the longest time spent sitting was associated with a: n 112% increase in risk of diabetes n 147% increase in cardiovascular events


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