Standing up for office culture


Office culture is quickly becoming a bigger differentiator when it comes to recruitment and retention of employees versus traditional employee benefits. Whether it’s flexible work hours, limitless snacks, free gym memberships or even a nap room, some companies are going to the extreme to increase employee satisfaction. Yet, despite their willingness to get creative, companies are still missing the mark when it comes to one thing in particular that has a huge influence on employee health and happiness: their working environment.

Results from Ergotron’s JustStand Index show that 68 percent of employees must sit all day for their job, with 61 percent reporting that they dislike or even hate having to do it. Eighty-four percent of respondents indicated that they would prefer the ability to sit and stand at will. The level of dislike for prolonged sitting has reached a level where 17 percent of respondents would prefer to give up a vacation day, 15 percent would rather buy the entire office lunch and more than a third (36 percent) would give up access to social media for an entire month.

Blog 2The ability to get up and move around while still remaining productive can be a win-win scenario for both employees and employers. Mobility and collaboration have become expected perks in today’s corporate world, as younger employees fear being confined to “cube life.” As a result, employees are beginning to demand more flexible work environments. Our research showed that the average respondent spends more than half of the day (12.3 hours) and nearly three quarters of the average work day (5.8 hours) sitting. Using sit-stand workstations to encourage movement can improve culture and health, helping companies attract and retain top talent – all while enhancing productivity.

How Can You Take a Stand?

A quick and easy way to improve workplace culture is to offer sit-stand workstations. These desks are a step in the right direction for creating a work environment that promotes wellness while addressing one of the major reasons cited when discussing employee unrest or unhappiness. In addition to increasing worker satisfaction, studies suggest that sit-stand solutions may provide some health benefits to employees.

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Scientific concept: movement and blood pressure linked



Your doctor says you have high blood pressure (BP) with a reading of 140/90, but what do those numbers really mean? The larger top number, systolic, measures the pressure when the heart squeezes (beats) and blood moves out along the vessels. The smaller bottom number, diastolic, measures when the heart rests between beats and refills with blood. High BP or hypertension is a warning sign that your heart is overworked and at risk of heart attack, stroke, or aneurysm.

The World Health Organization says high blood pressure threatens more than 1 in 5 adults globally. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help prevent high BP. For one, research suggests moving more may help – think of physical activity as an all-around release valve for your heart. Find answers to your frequently asked questions about hypertension here.

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Raise yourself out of your chair to raise your productivity


By now, the term “sitting disease” and the effects of prolonged sitting have been well documented. Yet, despite the increased attention regarding the harmful effects, many employers have not made the connection between extended sitting and the physical health of their employees – and in turn, the overall health of their organization.

According to the results of our just released JustStand® Index, restlessness from prolonged sitting is more disruptive to organizational productivity than visiting social media sites. While many employers are worried about cyberloafing – personal use of a company’s internet access while at work – and its impact on productivity, it’s clear that employees are spending more time moving around (61 percent) than cyberloafing (a combined 39 percent).

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A majority (58 percent) of employees admit to taking two to five breaks a day and another 25 percent are taking more than six breaks per day to relieve the discomfort, restlessness and fatigue caused by prolonged sitting. While taking regular breaks is important, these findings indicate that employees are spending excessive time away from their desks due to the discomfort of prolonged sitting.

What’s more, outside research suggests that when interrupted it can take a worker more than 20 minutes to get back on task. This means that time, productivity and ultimately, money, are all unnecessarily lost each day.

How to help your office MOVE MORE:

As organizations look for ways to improve employee productivity and minimize distractions, we believe it’s critical to examine employees’ time spent seated at their desks and find ways to alleviate their discomfort. One potential solution is changing up the traditional workstation composition. Providing employees with height-adjustable sit-stand workstations gives them much more flexibility while working. They can easily move from sitting to standing and stretch every half hour. These workstations are an excellent and popular wellness benefit – you can check out these testimonials to see the difference sit-stand workstations can make.

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Q&A: Standing desks require training, like a marathon?


Q-A_purpleQ: I’ve seen news reports that say standing at a desk for long stretches can be a health hazard if you don’t build up to it gradually. Do I need to train to use my standing desk, like for a marathon? – Michael M., Graphic Designer

A: In light of recent warnings by the media on the risks of using standing desks for prolonged periods, I’d like to provide my perspective, which is based on years of experience and observation in ergonomics research.

The sad fact is that employees have traditionally had to stand — or sit — for prolonged periods, with no training in proper body mechanics. Early in my own career, I worked in the publishing industry as a photographer, production artist, technical illustrator, and so on. In those roles, I spent a lot of time on my feet. While stools were available, it turned out that sitting didn’t give me the mobility I needed to run back and forth between tasks.

No one suggested I get training on how to work standing up. In fact, now that I think about it, I wasn’t given training on standing before becoming a waitress, factory worker, or amusement park mascot either – and I spent most of one pregnancy hoofing it as a department store clerk. I didn’t suffer from all that standing, but I would certainly have benefited from training, during an employee safety orientation, say.

In contrast, when I had jobs that kept me sedentary, I was miserable with back pain. It was so bad for so long that I considered applying for disability if I couldn’t stay at my job. Can you guess if anyone trained me on the safe way to sit? Afraid not. I had to find the answers on my own, a process that led me into a career as a researcher in human factors and ergonomics.

As a responsible desk manufacturer, Ergotron is at the forefront of scientific research on workplace wellness. In future blog posts we will detail our guidelines for establishing a work routine that helps mitigate the risks of either sitting or standing for long periods.

carrie s_a-hrCarrie Schmitz
Ergotron Senior Manager,
Human Factors and Ergonomics Research,



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

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Q&A: How much should I stand?   



“Obviously there should be a slow ramp up from 100% sitting to a ratio between sitting and standing. What is the optimal ratio? How long should the ramp up be (days, weeks, months)?” ~ Maurico C. 



Great question, Maurico, and an important one. No one has come up with the hard and fast rule yet, but many of the world’s leading researchers are weighing into the debate. From our perspective, part of this answer depends on how comfortable you are making changes and how hunched and crunched from prolonged sitting you are right now.

Good rule of thumb?

Change postures every 30 minutes. This seems to be an optimal length of time to stand before your body becomes too static, or to sit before your body overloads. This doesn’t work for everyone and some of it depends on the approach you are taking to standing and moving more in the first place. A first step might be to set some goals. If you did the calculations, you may discover you are sitting more than 14 hours during your day. It is an unrealistic goal to cut that number in half in the first week. It is more realistic to start sitting one hour less per day. This gives you some choice about where you begin and helps you achieve success over time as well.

Break up that sedentary slump.

Focus on the most sedentary times of your day. If you are tuning into your internal radio station, more than likely you’ve been hearing some grumbling from that hour of the show…Man, my back feels stiff right now…or…wait a minute, where did that pain come from?  If you haven’t been hearing anything, turn the volume up. Your body will tell you how much it can handle. Do you feel achy or fatigued? Is there any pain? Is it telling you that you feel good, maybe even energized and focused when standing? These are your clues about when to change your position.

You may experience some discomfort at the beginning when switching to sit-stand computing. Maybe after 10 minutes of standing, maybe after an hour. The key is to listen to the message and change postures when you hear it. You will hear it, whether seated or standing. Your body is that good.

One person’s experience – yours may be similar.

In the beginning, I could only stand for about 15 minute increments. I began to notice when I started feeling uncomfortable sitting, and then I would stand for a while. I did this for about a month. As I began to stand for longer periods, I started to do the same thing when I was standing. Were my legs feeling fatigued? Was I shifting around more? Feeling distracted? That was my sign it was time to sit for a while.”  ~ Rose J.

It will be different for everybody, and every body. Of course, consult a doctor if you have other health issues, too. It is important to take a safe approach to any physical change you make.

How long is it going to take to “feel” right?

It might happen as quick as a week, or it might take a few months. We have seen it vary a hundred different ways. The important thing is to maintain healthy posture and follow these sit-stand tips to help make the transition. Don’t give up if you don’t feel terrific right from the start. Over time you will.

In other words, be creative. Decide which activities you prefer doing sitting versus standing. Talking on the phone? Stand up. Write out a proposal? Sit down. Proof reading? Stand up. Filing? Stand up. You decide.

One note for anyone creating a standing only desk set up…be sure to build in rest periods, either by adding a tall stool to your workstation so you can sit periodically, or by exploring other chances to sit and rest, like in meetings or at lunch.

It is a balance that we are trying to reach. A balance personal to our workflow and how our body responds.

Thanks for the question, Mauricio! Anyone else? What’s on your mind?

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Which direction are you headed?



Welcome to the MoveMore blog!

Which direction will you go? This way, that way, or somewhere else? One way leads to sedentary behavior, a silent killer, but the other way leads to physical activity, a life-giver. Exercise and N.E.A.T (non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise) offer a parallel path to health. We need both.

Moving more throughout your whole day, sometimes vigorously, sometimes lightly, is what will help you stay on the positive road to better health.

We have a vision of where the Wellness Uprising is heading, based on our continuing support of scientific research in the classroom and the cubicle. So we’ll be responding to your questions, offering up perspectives on the latest research into reducing sedentary behavior, illustrating some of the science behind the importance of sit-stand movement, and poking some fun at our fundamental human resistance to change.

Plus, this blog will introduce a new way for you to connect with like-minded seekers. After all, we’re on the road together, and it’s an active bunch to travel with.

You are here. It doesn’t matter where you entered. It doesn’t matter how you begin. Just jump in with us!

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