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How to Adopt Sit-to-Stand Working in Your Office

Posted on Apr 28, 2016, by Michael Eckert

The average office worker spends 5 hours and 41 minutes sitting at their desk each day – and that doesn’t include time spent sitting in front of the television or computer at home in the evening. 

Sit-to-stand working is becoming increasingly popular as we become increasingly aware of the health risks of a sedentary lifestyle. But how do you introduce sit-to-stand working in your office?

Today I’m looking at five steps to help your workplace adopt sit-to-stand working, and reap the health and productivity benefits it offers.

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1) Get Buy-In from the Top

Getting buy-in from upper management is one of the most important factors that can make your office’s adoption of sit-to-stand working successful. They will need to be committed to making the initial financial investment to cover the purchase of sit-to stand desks.

Additionally, upper management need to be seen as early adopters, as this will serve as an example to the rest of your employees and portray sit-to-stand working as not just acceptable, but as a desirable way to work.

2) Address Common Concerns

Modern workplaces are designed and built around seated working. With so much of our workday designed to be spent sitting down, there are bound to be a few concerns for you to address before sit-to-stand working becomes integrated in your workplace:

  • Productivity: you can’t type as efficiently while standing
  • Health: standing up will cause health problems in employees’ feet and legs
  • Equality: disabled or unwell employees won’t be able to use sit-to-stand desks

While it’s important to acknowledge these concerns, you need to emphasize that sit-to-stand working is a matter of personal choice. For example, an employee may decide to stand while making phone calls, or responding to emails, and sit down when writing reports or putting together presentations. The goal isn’t to change from only sitting to only standing, but to vary your position throughout the day, standing for 10-20 minutes each hour.

3) Let Employees Make Their Own Choices

Getting buy-in from your employees is key to successful adoption of sit-to-stand working in your workplace. Therefore, it’s vital that you don’t make standing working a necessity – for example scheduling set hours for standing work.

For sit-to-stand working to be most successful, your employees will need to experiment and find out how it best fits in with their day and daily workloads.

4) Start Slowly

When you’ve got your employees on board, and your sit-to-stand desks in place, it’s tempting to jump in and try and stand for a whole day..

But if your body is used to spending almost six hours a day sitting down at work, standing will be extremely tiring and uncomfortable. You should add standing into your work day gradually and regularly – for example, aiming to stand for ten minutes every hour.

5) Make it a Habit

When you first start, standing up to work will feel like hard work, because your body isn’t used to the position. Sitting will seem like the ‘comfortable’ option – what you’re used to and what you feel more productive doing.

On average, it takes 66 days to form a new habit (contrary to the often-quoted 21-day statistic). So it’s vital that employees make a sustained commitment to trying sit-to-stand working, over the course of a few weeks and months – not just for a couple of days before discounting it.

This will give you an opportunity to experience the real benefits of sit-to-stand working, from both a health and productivity perspective.

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Michael Eckert

Written by Michael Eckert