When it comes to maintaining good health in the workplace, some say workers should stand at their stations. Others say there’s nothing wrong with sitting.
The correct answer seems somewhere in between.
Cornell University ergonomics research yielded the following conclusions after studying the virtues of standing vs. sitting for permanent, temporary or temp-to-hire staffers in office settings:
• Some studies indicate that sitting for more than an hour at a stretch contributes to the buildup of fat and its enabling enzymes, raising the risk of heart disease or kidney problems. But correlation is not causation: People may sit more because they are already unhealthy.
• Standing for long periods of time can be 20 percent more physically demanding than sitting. This can put an unwanted additional load on the circulatory system, perhaps promoting heart disease and varicose veins.
• Standing workstations are often not set up correctly. Computers need to be at eye level to prevent chronic neck strain. Leaning to type can promote development of carpal tunnel syndrome.
• Most people at stand-sit workstations generally spend more time sitting than standing, and the amount of standing markedly declines after a month.
• Workers who perform computer tasks on treadmills or stationary bicycles make a significant number of mistakes. Their typing and mousing ability declines markedly.
• Sit-stand stations, especially those equipped with exercise equipment, obviously require a greater amount of maintenance and energy.
So if a bunch of Cornell scientists can’t reach a conclusion about whether it’s best to sit or stand at work, what’s a typical temporary or temp-to-hire employee or human resource manager to do? Again, the best answer is in the middle: Sit down to do computer work, but take frequent breaks and move about the office to get blood flowing. Moving around your workspace for a few minutes every half-hour should do the trick.
You don’t need a hamster wheel, but you shouldn’t be catatonic, either. Work. Move. Repeat.
But if you need a job, definitely don’t just sit there. Contact your local AtWork staffing agency today.