Those of us long enough in the tooth will remember that the old `British Telecom’ used to train people to stand up when using the telephone. So, instead of remaining slouched at your desk, thus making it more difficult to breathe and get oxygen into your brain to enable you to think more clearly, stand and free up your diaphragm.
I tend to relate this history when I’m training others in the art of using the telephone. Interestingly, the British Heart Foundation has just brought out a new campaign highlighting just this point:
The On Your Feet – Britain campaign will be run in partnership with the British Heart Foundation with events taking place on 24 April 2015. It aims to get workers to swap between two and four hours they would have spent sitting down for time spent standing up.
Research has already linked sitting for long periods to numerous health problems, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The ONS has reported that, in 2013, 131 million working days were lost because of sickness absence, which equates to 4.4 days per worker.
Active Working Summit
An office that promotes active working improves employee productivity, according to speakers at the Active Working Summit 2015.
Active workplaces, which are already popular in Scandinavian countries, discourage employees from being sedentary throughout the working day. This can include providing sit-stand desks, holding standing or walking meetings and designing the layout of the office so employees need to walk around regularly.
Gavin Bradley, director and founder of Get Standing Britain and event organiser, said: “There are certain tasks you’re much more productive doing standing.
“If you have to put some creative input, intense thought or numbers into the task, you’re often better sitting. But there are so many of our rudimentary tasks, like our phones calls and checking our inboxes, that are done significantly more, not just quickly, but efficiently, effectively and confidently standing.”
Attendees heard case studies from organisations who are creating a more active workplace. Companies who already use sit-stand desks include technology firm King Digital, professional services firm Redington and housing association Amicus Horizon.
Since Amicus Horizon introduced three sit-stand desks in their office, there has been a 10 per cent increase in the amount of calls workers take and a 2 per cent increase in first-call resolutions.
“Productivity has gone up, although it’s very early days, and well-being has gone up,” said John Barr, director of customer experience at the housing association.
“Anecdotally, people will say they feel, in terms of time spent doing tasks, between a 5 and 20 per cent increase in productivity,” said Bradley.
Hayley Kirton, CIPD People Management, 12 January 2015
So – on your feet!