How Much Time Should Employees Spend Sitting?

sitting down

New UK research shows employers the recommendations on how long staff should spending sitting down in the workplace. A study by Active Working CIC published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine states people should try to spend around two hours a day standing up during working hours.

Data quoted within the research paper suggests that on average office workers spend up to 75 per cent of the day sitting, with more than half of that lasting 30mins or more. This sedentary behaviour is common in a vast array of jobs, with many workers spending their days tied to a computer screen. Even common tasks like getting up to get documents from filing cabinets are being eradicated as employees can do more without having to leave their workstations.

The health impacts of leading a sedentary lifestyle are well-publicised, with the onset of conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease increasing due to lack of movement.

What counts towards the “standing” goal?

Though the experts recommend standing for two hours a day, this doesn’t necessarily mean it all has to occur at once. These periods of standing or walking can include anything from getting up to visit to WC, to taking a walk at lunchtime or even simply getting a drink from the water cooler. Anything that breaks up long stretches of time spent sat in a chair counts towards the goal.

However, two hours of standing is actually only the first step. In fact, the researchers long-term recommendations include a goal of four hours of standing in a working day, or around half of the time employees spend at work.

How to encourage standing at work

Workplaces can encourage periods of standing in the workplace by helping employees to understand the benefits of getting out of the chair. Technology is enabling even phone-based employees to be more mobile with cordless handsets and headsets that allow staff to move around more easily. There are also sit-to-stand desk solutions which enable workers to increase the height of their desk to a standing height while working.

Other businesses may choose to encourage active living with health, wellbeing and exercise groups at breaks or lunchtimes, getting staff on-the-go at available opportunities.

Improving the health and wellbeing of your staff all adds up to happier, healthier, more productive employees who take less time off sick – and that’s just good for business.

Stress May Cause Weight Gain, Study Suggests

A study of women has shown that stress can slow metabolism and lead to weight gain. Fifty-eight women were surveyed as part of the research by Ohio State University.

The study asked the women about their stress levels on the previous day, before giving them a meal of 930 calories and 60 grams of fat. Researchers then measured how long it took for the women to burn off the calories.

The results showed that women who’d been party to stressful events during the previous day struggled to burn off as many calories as the stress-free women. In fact, stress-free women burned 104 more calories than those who had one or more stressful events occur in the previous 24 hours.

This indicates that stress could add up to increases in weight of around 11 pounds every year.

In addition, stressed women had higher levels of insulin, which also contributes to fat storage.

Stress can cause a whole host of problems, both mental and physical – and this study suggests that there is a connection between stress and weight gain. Being overweight can increase the likelihood of developing a range of illness and disease including cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Although it is impossible to avoid everything that may cause stress, especially at work, it is imperative that employers look for ways to tackle stress within the workforce. Stress is a real cause of absenteeism in the workplace, and this can have a real impact on your business’ bottom line.

OHBM can help you to cultivate a healthier, more productive workforce. Talk to the team today.