All rise for a healthy, creative, productive office

Fitness, wellbeing and encouraging collaboration and creativity in the office are some of the top priorities for businesses nowadays.

With a generation of workers who value these aspects of an office already in the workplace (the Millennials) and another one on the way (Generation Z), businesses should consider incorporating at least some of these elements into their office design.

One piece of modern office furniture has recently received attention because it helps to address one of these issues; the fact that sitting down all day can have serious implications on our health. It also helps that it’s actually quite a neat bit of creative office tech. We are, of course, talking about the sit/stand desk phenomenon.

Series P

Image: Series P from Kinnarps

Stand up and be counted

We can proudly say that we joined the sit/stand revolution when we provided Creditsafe with a selection of Kinnarps’ Series P desks. They wanted an exciting environment that people looked forward to working in and, since the sales environment involved a lot of standing, we suggested that they use the Swedish office furniture company’s height adjustable, sit/stand desks.

You can read more in our own Creditsafe Case Study and also in Kinnarps’ Case Study for the company. They not only put together a video of the desks in action, which you can see below, but also created an entire website that extols the virtues of the sit/stand desk.

Standing the test of time

It may surprise you to hear that standing up while you work isn’t a new concept. In fact, sitting down to work only became a trend more recently. Leonardo da Vinci, Napoleon, Charles Dickens and Winston Churchill all understood the benefits of standing to work.

The list of physical and mental conditions that have potential links with sitting for long periods includes heart disease, obesity, metabolic disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, stroke, depression, and anxiety to name a few. A leading endocrinologist at the renowned Mayo Clinic explains that while we are designed to stand, walk, run and climb, modern technology has left us anchored to our chairs.

A 2012 study, published in the BMJ, even suggested that if you reduced the amount of time spent sitting to less than three hours a day, your life expectancy could be increased by two years!

Public Health England (PHE) also recently published their first expert guidelines that encourage office workers to stand up for at least part of their working day.

Image: Sit/Stand desks at Creditsafe

Get up Britain!

Kinnarps has been selling sit/stand desks for over 20 years, and height-adjustable desks have been a feature of Scandinavian offices for decades. So why isn’t everyone taking the same route as Creditsafe and adding sit/stand desks to their workplace?

Kinnarps conducted some research to see why the UK has been so slow on the uptake of standing-while-you-work. Having questioned 132 senior UK opinion formers, they found that 98% of respondents said they could see the attraction of introducing sit/stand working. The vast majority of them also offered other means of supporting the health and wellbeing of their staff, including free fruit, private healthcare and cycle-to-work schemes. Despite this, only 10 interviewees out of the 132 reported that they had access to a sit/stand desk, compared to 90% of all desk workers in Scandinavia.

One of the main concerns (73%) seems to have been cost, but with prices for the technology becoming more affordable, hopefully we’ll see more businesses taking a stand when it comes to this healthier office design trend.

Don’t be left standing (or sitting)

The office of the future is certainly looking like it might be a healthier place if more businesses take the same approach as Vallecito Elementary in California. It became the world’s first elementary school with standing desks for every student.

We’ve even reached the point where people are discussing with the New York Times what you should wear while working at a standing desk!

Even if your office isn’t ready for a sit/stand desk, there are any number of other ways that adapting your office design can encourage collaboration and spark some creativity. If you want to discuss some, don’t just sit there, get in touch with us.

Written by Helen Bartlett, Design Manager

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