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Can sit-stand desks and active office furniture improve workplace wellbeing?

Active working has become increasingly popular in workplaces worldwide. This is not just a trend; it is a necessary response to the dangers of prolonged sitting. In a 2018 study, the World Health Organisation found that an alarming 37% of adults in high-income Western countries (including the UK and USA) do not do enough physical activity. Long hours spent sitting down (at work, at home and commuting) increase the risk of health conditions including type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer and musculoskeletal disorders. Even doing regular exercise, such as going to the gym after work, does not completely counteract the negative side effects of sitting too much.

The human body is designed to keep moving. This is possible even with a desk job thanks to the growing range of modern office furniture on the market designed to encourage physical activity while working. This includes sit-stand desks, active sitting chairs, stand-up meeting tables and standing desk mats.

What are the benefits of a sit and stand desk?

Movement is key to a healthier workday. Workplace furniture that gives staff the ability to change their working position and switch between sitting and standing throughout the day helps to reduce musculoskeletal complaints by exercising core muscles, improving posture and reducing the strain placed on the back and shoulders by sitting.

A sit stand workstation is an effective way to keep your body moving and avoid the aches, pains and health complaints associated with being in the same position all day. A study led by researchers from the Universities of Leicester and Loughborough and published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) showed that, over the course of a year, using an adjustable sit stand desk reduced sitting time among NHS workers with a predominantly sedentary job by over 80 minutes each day. These 80 minutes can make a significant difference. According to the BBC, research from the University of Chester showed that standing increases your heartrate and burns an additional 50 calories an hour compared to sitting.

The most popular type of rising desk is an electric standing desk, which allows the user to control the height of the desktop at the push of a button. This gives the user gets a simple-to-use solution that can be adapted quickly to change their working position between standing, sitting on a regular office chair or using a leaning stool for a standing desk. We recommend combining your height-adjustable workstation with a standing desk mat to provide comfort and support underfoot when you work standing up.

Is it best to use an active sitting chair with a sit-stand office desk?

One of the benefits of an electric desk is that you can easily change from standing to sitting and vice versa. However, after standing up for a while your body will inevitably begin to tire. A standing desk stool is designed to promote active sitting. That is to say, it keeps your body moving while you sit by encouraging the same natural shifts in posture that occur when standing or walking. This movement improves posture, reduces stress on the body and strengthens back and core muscles, helping to alleviate back pain. Choosing this type of chair gives you an all-round solution for an active workday.

What other active workplace solutions furniture is on offer?

Stand up meeting tables are another effective way to introduce greater levels of activity into your office. Plus, standing get-togethers are generally shorter and more focused than sit down meetings. Our range features the acclaimed Modulus standing meeting table. Shortlisted for Product of the Year at the 2019 European Office Products Awards (EOPA), this sit stand conference table makes it easy to switch between sitting and standing meetings, boosting both productivity and fitness in all parts of the office. By choosing modern office furniture designed with active working in mind, you can turn your whole office into a healthier and more productive workspace. You can also look out for innovative ideas to make your business interiors more fun such as desk bikes, treadmills and balance boards.

Why should businesses care about workplace wellness?

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), musculoskeletal disorders, such as back and neck pain, were one of the leading causes of absenteeism due to work-related ill health in the UK in 2018-19, accounting for 29% of days working lost: a total of 6.9 million days. Improvements to the physical working environment, such as the introduction of flexible and active workspaces, can help to reduce the prevalence of musculoskeletal problems in office workers and increase productivity.

There is also evidence to suggest that companies that place an emphasis on employee wellbeing and mental health outperform those that consider it less important, according Soma Analytics’ Mental Health and Wellbeing: FTSE 100 Report 2018.

Who are we?

This website is designed to raise public awareness of the health risks of a sedentary lifestyle and provide suggestions on how to choose commercial office furniture that will support employee health and wellbeing by encouraging a more active workday. It is also an office furniture shop with a focus on sit-stand furniture where you can find an extensive range of electric height adjustable desks as well as wobble stools, matting for standing desks, stand up meeting tables and more.

We work in partnership with ukactive, an independent not-for-profit organisation comprised of over 3,500 members and partners from across the UK active lifestyle sector that aims to promote active lifestyles. Their aim is "to get more people, more active, more often" and fits perfectly with our own aim to make every workplace happier, healthier and more active.