If you work at a desk, then you’ve likely heard of the disadvantages of prolonged sitting or standing during the workday. While the ideal sit-to-stand ratio and duration vary based on the source, it’s generally accepted that more variation in postures and movement is better for the body. In Humantech’s position statement on Prolonged Static Sitting and Standing at Work, we recommend that people regularly transition between sitting, standing, and walking throughout the workday. Not only does it benefit physical health, but movement has also been linked to improvements in creativity, focus, attention retention, and work culture.
Unfortunately, most desk jobs are not naturally disposed to much variation in movement. It can be difficult to build habits that involve more physical activity because it causes more inconvenience. To combat that, here are a few things you can add to your daily routine to “trick” yourself into integrating more movement and that won’t affect your productivity.
Centralized Office Equipment
Rather than getting everyone a trash can, stapler, and sticky notes, store these types of items in a shared location to encourage more movement around the office. This may add a few seconds to the total task time, but requiring people to get up and stretch their legs to retrieve these items can add some much-needed relief to extended periods of sitting. Be sure to also implement and maintain equipment etiquette to minimize frustration caused by missing or broken tools.
Walking meetings can be highly productive for both your health and your task, but they’re not always the right fit. Typically, a group of three can converse easily while walking without any party being left out, so keep these groups small. Make it a walking meeting when you won’t require a lot of record keeping or equipment, or you’ll be focusing on brainstorming or reviews.
Taking your calls while standing or walking can be a great way to add movement to your day. Headphones with integrated microphones make this convenient and easy to establish as a regular habit.
Drinking more water provides a whole host of benefits, one of which is getting up more often to go to the water cooler or to use the restroom. Set a goal for yourself, such as a number of glasses of water per day, and watch your step count surge.
With technology becoming an ever-greater part of our lives, we can also leverage it to achieve more active workdays. Apps on your smartphone, computer, or smart wearable technology, such as BreakTime, Stand Up!, StandApp, and the Work & Move software by Bakker Elkhuizen, can help remind you to break up your day with mental and physical movement, and to build better habits.