Among the various workplace stresses that could kill someone, an act as innocent as sitting might secretly be making it to the fore. According to a study by Dr. Hamilton, the author of “Too Little Exercise and Too Much Sitting: Inactivity Physiology and the Need for New Recommendations on Sedentary Behavior” , sitting in a place for too long can cause various health complications. Sitting for long periods with little moving around might sound like the definition of a hard working employee but on the contrary, it is the most unproductive and unhealthy. Recent epidemiologic evidence suggests that sitting time has deleterious cardiovascular and metabolic effects that are independent of whether adults meet physical activity guidelines. Humans were never really designed to sit for so long and still be efficient.
According to the cumulative conclusion of the individual studies conducted by Dr. Hamilton, there is a correlation between long stretches of sedentary behavior and prevalent health problems such as weight gain, cardiovascular & gastro disorders, and diseases such as diabetes . But there's no need to jump off your chairs immediately as the study takes into account various variables like sitting postures, condition of the chair, and the duration. As a bottom line, merely sitting does not kill you, but it may put you at risk of drawing various health complications.
Reasons for Poor Sitting Postures
Most office tasks today involve sitting in front of a monitor. Sitting is in itself a harmless act and offers rest to the body by distributing the weight majorly to the buttocks, thighs & back. As such, these body parts should be displaced at a natural position. When you sit in an upright position, your monitor should be at your chest level. A height adjustable table or chair can help you set the perfect view. Your upper spine should be arched backward while your lower spine should arch forward. Many office chairs, however, do not support this position and have only a plain back to rest. We sit exactly contrary, with a hunched back. This is when sitting becomes a harmful position - when you are not doing it right. It is important to have an ergonomic chair which is curved at the right places to support your body.
Study states that frequent bodily motion is crucial. Even if you have an ergonomically qualified comfortable office chair, you still have to get off it every once in a while. Your muscles and joints are naturally made for movement. Unless you give them enough, your body is at risk. Nature has however, equipped man with auto reflexes that save us from turning into a tree. For example, many employees involuntarily move constantly in their places by shaking their thighs out of anxiety, moving their feet due to restlessness, stretching out arms even if it is for yawning and so on. But a conscious effort must be made to air out your seat by at least standing in place after every 20 minutes, ideally. Walking will be applauded. On the other hand, beware of the ‘Ultra comfortable chairs’ such as the bean bags or the passenger recliners which may serve any other purpose such as resting or relaxing but office work.
How Sitting Right Can Aid in Employee Productivity
An average corporate Indian spends around 43 hours a week at office. Out of which, they sit for at least 5 hours each day. As such, spending maximum time at the workplace makes it necessary to set a healthy work ambiance.
An uncomfortable sitting chair can often lead to frustration, loss in productivity and hindrances in completing even simple tasks. A chair which does not support your spine at the right places might lead to lower back pain and stiff knees. ‘Height adjustment’ is a feature which enables you to view your monitor and type on your keyboard at the appropriate angles suitable to your height. HNI India - World’s 2nd largest office chair manufacturer, provides ergonomic chairs for office spaces since 1944. The office chairs from ‘HNI India’ are ergonomically designed for utmost comfort and adaptability, especially considering the Indian body types. Such ergonomic furniture reduces pain and injury at the workplace, assisting employees to work with ease. Perfectly comfortable workers are less distracted and less fatigued which is why they are more productive than their counterparts. According to a research, these same workers have up to a 17.8 percent increase in productivity. To sum it up in a single line, sitting in poor postures for a prolonged time with limited movement and without breaks can impact our health and reduce our productivity.
Educating Employees On the Effective Usage of Chairs
Employee education and training are critical not just in chair selection, but also in the effective use of chair features, as well as in the utilization of height adjustable work surfaces. Apart from the chair, mobility is the key. Offices should enforce collaborative work environments to encourage maximum movement. By offering employees high quality & ergonomically superior office chairs, and by training those employees to use the chairs effectively, employers can reduce a significant portion of the risk out of the work environment.