Q&A: How do I remember to stand more?



Q: How do I remind myself to stand more at work? I made a New Year’s resolution to sit less and move more during the day, but I keep forgetting. I have good intentions but a poor memory. – Dianna

A: Glad you asked! Global studies show that, on average, we sit 7.7 hours a day, and some results estimate people sit up to an astounding 15 hours a day. In our modern sedentary culture, sitting is a necessary evil, and while sometimes you just have to bite the bullet, here are three easy ways to keep your resolve to move more at work.

1 – Strengthen your motivation.
By now, you know that sitting down all day is killing you, but maybe you haven’t seen all the cold hard facts that may help propel you up and off that chair. Ergotron has been a leader in supporting scientific research in this area. A growing body of evidence suggests an obvious remedy: Standing!

Next, calculate your daily sitting time. Once you know where you’re starting from, it’s easier to adjust your mindset and become more motivated to get going. Then once you see some improvement, those benefits will crank up your resolve. It’s a healthy feedback loop!

2 – Put in place a plan of action.
Take a look at your daily calendar and ask: How can I stand more today? What small change can I make to remain active? It might take some time and effort, but pretty soon using the stairs instead of the elevator will become automatic and won’t even require a decision on your part. It will feel like second nature to stand up during long conference calls, or to conduct walking meetings, or to walk over to the bathroom that’s farthest away from your desk.

3 – Get up, stand Up
Standing up for part of your workday is an easy way to stay active. You naturally fidget, move and sway when you’re standing. Throw on some headphones, enjoy your favorite tunes, and you might even find yourself dancing. If you’re feeling brave, try to convince your boss to invest in a sit-stand desk for you. Or, take matters into your own hands by fashioning a DIY standing desk.

Remember, standing all day may not be healthy or practical – people naturally want to sit at times to rest or when intensely concentrating.

How do you keep moving during the workday? Tell us in the comments!

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Q&A: Comfy standing meetings



Question: Our company has meetings for five to 100 people, and just got high-top tables so that you can stand. An employee expressed concerns about not feeling comfortable standing for 90 minutes straight. I figured you’d have some kind of guidelines. I’d like to provide these to our leadership staff.

Jessica D.

Answer: Terrific question! We have a few ideas. One place to start would be to consider having seating for only about one-half of the staff, up in front of the room. This is useful for anyone who may have any medical issues, hearing issues, wants to sit, or just likes to be near the action. Our experience finds that all the seats don’t tend to fill up, so this even gives the standers a chance to sit if they tire over the 90 minutes. Here are a few other ideas:

· Consider some kind of stand-up tables, grouped along the side or in back, or in the space behind the chairs. This gives people the chance to lean against something if they need a little rest, just as staff around the edges of the room will lean against the walls as needed. Chairs are a perfect alternate to tables along the edges of the room, as people are sometimes more likely to sit if the chair is close by versus having to walk in front of everyone to get there.

· Maybe you might want to break it up a little. At a 45 minute break, invite everyone who wants to change postures to switch: the sitters are probably getting tired at this point too.

· As your staff gets used to the idea of standing meetings they will develop a preference for sitting or standing the whole meeting. It may take time to build the muscle endurance, so perhaps weaning them off the chairs for several meetings will help you in this effort. Ramp-up time will vary, depending on overall fitness and whether the staff is already standing during the workday. How to best accommodate the smaller portion that want choice will be clearer over time.

· Place a large display cart at the front of the room and mid-way to effectively deliver your messages to the whole group, whether seated or standing.

There is no doubt that giving people permission to decide for themselves is really important in this process. Have other ideas to share?

Michelle Judd
Director of Global Communications at Ergotron

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Quick-start your treadmill workstyle


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Treadmill desks have been around for over a decade, and still hold allure for the fitness-minded who want to combine work with more consistent movement throughout the day. And while the workstation concept has endured over the years, there are some important considerations to keep in mind when creating an active workstyle around the treadmill desk, whether as your primary desk or just once in a while during your work day. Here are five simple steps to help you go “the extra mile” at work, safely:

1. Exercise caution at all times. To avoid possible injury, if using a computer at a treadmill, set up your computer first before pushing the “start” button. If this is your first time walking on a treadmill, familiarize yourself with it by reading the instruction manual first. Remember, this is a moving floor so keep your wits about you at all times. Check beforehand to see if there’s a contact person in case the treadmill malfunctions. Be prepared in case of a power outage or emergency drill.

2. Choose a walking speed. Start slow at around 1 to 1.5 miles per hour then later ratchet it up to a speed that’s right for your body. Note: it would be difficult to work while walking at a speed over 2 miles per hour, and you should never set the speed at over 3 miles per hour. You’ll want to vary the speed, depending on the type of work you’re doing: While listening to a teleseminar, you could mute your phone and walk at a vigorous speed. When reviewing a proposal, you’d probably want to slow down so it’s easier to concentrate.

3. Break up walk time with rest time. Walk for about 15 minutes, then take a short break (get off the platform and stretch), before continuing for another 15 minutes. Even if you’d like to walk for longer segments, resist the temptation to overdo and possibly injure yourself. If using a laptop, consider undocking periodically and working elsewhere at a seated workstation. Keep in mind that standing all day is not healthy. Switching between seated and standing positions is ideal.

4. Be respectful of co-workers. While walking on a treadmill, you will be towering over everyone, and your voice will carry differently when on the phone. The treadmill may be noisy — the faster you walk, the louder it is. In addition to sounds from the machine, your footfalls also make noise. Show consideration for those around you by being aware of your activity.

5. Create a ramp up plan. Slowly acclimate yourself to standing and walking more than you have been doing — the important thing is to switch things up. If this is your primary workstation, it may take some time to develop a routine that’s healthful and productive. If you’re using a “time-share” treadmill, schedule in times to walk and work in the office so when that weekly conference call rolls around you’ve got a reservation.

Stay tuned for more posts about treadmill workstyles, including tips for advanced and full-time treadmill users committed to reducing sedentary time in the office.

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White House requests $700k for standing desks



America: Stand Beside Her and Guide Her
If the recent White House requisition for standing desks proves anything, it’s that the quest for a healthier lifestyle is not divided along partisan lines. Prominent public figures known to use standing desks include Donald Rumsfeld, Winston Churchill, Oliver Wendell Homes, Jr., and Benjamin Franklin. Notable writers who stood include Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf and Oscar Hammerstein II.

Predictably, the US government support of sit-stand desks has come in the form of modeling best practices rather than by mandate by law. Our safety standards for office workers tend to be conservative when compared to the European Union, which considers height adjustable standing desks an ergonomic necessity.

The Thousand Dollar Toilet Seat
It should come as no surprise that some citizens are crying out that the expense is too great and the money better spent on other necessities. An outlay of $700,000 over 5 years does sound excessive; even when broken down over 60 months it comes to $11,666.666, which apart from anything else is not an auspicious series of digits.

How will government workers benefit from this expenditure? Is the standing desk just another symptom of government running off with our collective check book? Are we figuratively flushing good money after bad? I don’t think so. Several independent researchers have found that an effective sit-stand desk such as Ergotron’s WorkFit line can reduce sedentary time by 50% per day among average knowledge workers. Given the documented harmful effects of sitting too much, this translates as a reduced risk for muscular skeletal and cardio metabolic risks for employees.

Fig. 1 Harmful effects of sitting

Disclaimer: Ergotron devices are not intended to cure, treat, mitigate or prevent any disease.

Let Freedom Ring
While reducing risks associated with sedentary time promotes health and wellbeing, there is a less concrete benefit that was first verified in the land of our forefathers: Great Britain. The Whitehall study was originally designed to prove that people in higher levels of management were more stressed than those they managed. As it turns out, the lower you are on the company ladder, the more stress you’re liable to experience.

What accounts for fewer health concerns among executives? One explanation is autonomy. People who have no choice in the tasks they do, and when they do them, suffer from a lack of decision latitude that can severely limit their performance and productivity.

On the other hand, people in offices who were given sit-stand desks were able to exercise some control over the way they worked with the simple choice to change postures at will. It came as some surprise to researchers that something as simple as this could elevate mood, energy and concentration!

Crown Thy Good With Brotherhood
With evidence-based data showing adjustable standing desks can help mitigate sitting-related diseases AND enhance performance and productivity, the American government, indeed any government, is exactly the place where you want this investment made. Can’t you just picture it? A sit-stand attachment on the President’s desk in the Oval Office? History in the making…

carrie s_a-hr
Carrie Schmitz, Sr. Manager of Ergonomic & Wellness Research at Ergotron (@giveafig)

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Healthy workplace? ADA recognizes you!



Does your company, non-profit, or community organization inspire and champion a culture of wellness? If yes, the American Diabetes Association wants to know about it!

The ADA will recognize your organization’s efforts to engage employees or members in healthy living with its new workplace Health Champion Designation. Think of it as a wellness “seal of approval,” awarded for meeting certain criteria in nutrition, weight management, physical activity, and wellbeing.

The Health Champion Designation application is now open and will remain open until October 31, 2015.

Learn more

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Save an intern. Get a standing desk.


It looks like the secret is out: standing desks make you healthier, happier, and more productive. Sounds pretty great, right? The only problem is if you don’t have one.

While there are many ways to“hack” your regular desk into a standing one, none are better than this guy’s attempt. Watch how he thought way outside the box to fashion his very own standing desk.
Watch this video for a laugh, then read our blog posts for ideas and inspiration to activate your life. We want to make it as easy as possible for you to MoveMore during the day, so go ahead and get started!


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