There has been a lot of coverage in the media recently around a newly published study that says office workers should spend more time at work on their feet. The study focuses on the benefits of standing at work because a clear link has been established between productivity and standing for certain tasks.
Of course, as the study acknowledges, there are lots of other things that can be done in the workplace to help reduce sedentary behaviour. Sit/stand workstations are starting to become more popular in the UK (even we are about to practice what we preach in our office!) to give people more flexibility in their posture. Office design is increasingly reflecting different work styles and providing a range of spaces that encourage movement around the workspace and can include more areas for standing meetings or work.
The key seems to be identifying this as an important design requirement and getting the client organisation to buy-in to this - if wellbeing is at the heart of the workspace design then these features can more naturally emerge.
In addition to passively providing opportunities for employees to work differently can they be actively encouraged and reminded to vary their posture depending on the task they're doing? After all there is still the concern that they can be underused and staff stick to their traditional desks as much as possible! Do they need a nudge and a reminder every now and then? Perhaps technology can lend the most effective helping hand in proactively prompting a change in the way people use space at work. For example, smart glasses could be used to encourage a change in posture if they detect the person wearing them hasn't adapted their posture at the same time as changing from one type of task to another (e.g. from data analysis to looking at emails). Alternatively, provided they are used tactfully, wearable trackers could encourage certain behaviours like standing for meetings.
Labels: ergonomics, flexible working, office design, wellbeing, workspace design