Putting the fit into fit out!

If you’re reading this in your office, chances are you’re probably sat at a desk. If you’re lucky, you may be relaxing in a break-out area or cafeteria. The generations who are working together today are becoming more and more office-bound. Research by modern office furniture manufacturers, Steelcase, found that people are spending more time working than anything else, including sleeping. Add to that the fact that the World Health Organisation predicts that 2.3 billion people will be classed as overweight by 2015, and making sure that employees are active and fit while in the workplace is becoming more important than ever.

Steelcase  Ology  Steelcase Ology

Ology; the adjustable desk

(images courtesy of Steelcase)

Businesses have started to recognise that their office interior design can reflect this need for fitness and exercise in the workplace. One solution is a standing desk. A lot of companies are experimenting with the concept of giving their staff the option to stretch their legs. One of the downsides is having an office with desks that are stuck at one level or the other, so if you want to stand for a while you may need to wait in line. One potential solution are adjustable desks, like Ology. They can be used as conventional desks when staff are seated and then raised when they want to stand. Another recent, high profile example was Steelcase’s Walkstation, which integrates a treadmill and desk to really keep you moving on the job! The Walkstation recently got some press coverage when Victoria Beckham tested it out at Condé Nast College in London!

Steelcase Walkstation Steelcase Walkstation

Walkstation; the treadmill desk

(images courtesy of Steelcase)

At our own ShowOffice we’re lucky enough to have a gym that some of our more energetic members of staff use regularly. We realise that this isn’t a realistic option for all offices, but something as simple as re-configuring the layout of an open plan office can encourage more movement amongst staff members. Or there’s always the option of a bit of ‘deskercising’! We particularly like the ‘Silent Seat Squeeze’ to tone up your glutes and the ‘Split Squat Jumps’ for when you’ve got something worth celebrating!

There are even some specific office-based exercise products emerging like the Cubii, a workout machine that sits under your desk and even links via Bluetooth to an app that lets you keep track of your daily activity! How long might it be before we start to see devices like this incorporated into modern office furniture? Perhaps it could even charge the devices that you use, like these exercise desks at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam?

rock office walkway office

(images courtesy of DesignTaxi & FastCo)

Futuristic office interior designs are already reflecting this need for keeping fit in the workplace. This office concept attempted to solve the issue of sitting down all day by creating a space that resembled a gigantic rock. Staff could access areas by climbing up the structure and then sit, stand or even lie down while they work. Something a little more realistic is this office by two National College of Art & Design students. Movement around the space is encouraged by offering multiple workstations that anyone can use and which instantly recognise you, unlocking as you approach, like the keyless system that some cars have. A walkway around the office also allows people to have walking meetings with colleagues.

While we accept that some of the more extreme examples here aren’t likely to come into effect anytime soon, the importance of keeping staff active in the workplace is a current issue for many businesses. Adapting your office interior design is one way that you can start to encourage fitness in the workplace. In the meantime try some Silent Seat Squeezes, just don’t be too obvious about it!

Written by Ceri Bowden, Senior Designer

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