With the news in the press and on television today that we should be working towards standing for up to 4 hours a day at work Cardinus director and ergonomics expert Jon Abbott urges caution before employers start enforcing standing time in the office.

“It’s vitally important that the results of these studies are not misinterpreted”. Said Jon. “Simply standing for 2-4 hours per day can be just as problematic as sitting. Employees will be simply be exchanging one static posture for another and will risk moving any discomfort from their back to the legs, knees and ankles. This is especially true for employees who wear heels during the day.

Jon continued with this advice “The key is movement. The true health benefit of Sit-Stand Desks, mentioned in many of the reports today, come from the regular movement between a sitting and standing position, not standing at your desk for long periods of the day”.

There are many things employers and employees can do that cost nothing and do not involve refurnishing the entire office. These include; standing up to take phone calls, even move around the office if this is possible, move printers away from desks so that employees have to get up periodically to retrieve work and encourage staff to take their lunch breaks and actually leave their desk during this period.

Jon finished by commenting “It’s worth remembering that the modern office environment doesn’t always include a set desk for all employees, with staff working on soft seating, in collaborative work spaces, in coffee shops and at home. This needs to be factored in as a lot of the time this encourages a lot of movement quite naturally”.

The best thing businesses can do for their employees is make them aware of the risks and the positive steps they can take for themselves, create a positive and flexible working environment that offers varied work patterns, including time away from workstations.

Finally regularly assessing employees at their workstation means organisations can proactively promote healthy working habits and act if an individual is putting themselves at risk. Take a look at Workstation Safety Plus, the award-winning e-learning and risk assessment programme from Cardinus. Click here for unrestricted access to view the employee e-learning and self-assessment modules. Simply register and view.

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