Dawn and I attended the recent Workplace Health Symposium in Titanic Belfast, organised by Posturite Ltd. We both have a keen interest in the physical as well as mental aspects of workplace health, and this seemed like an excellent opportunity to learn more.
There were some very informative talks on topics as wide-ranging as sit-stand desks, e-learning products for relevant topics, and the legal obligations on employers towards staff with physical issues. We were able to interact with experts in the field and get tactile with the latest trends in office furniture.
What struck me the most was their constant use of the phrase “active working”. This concept includes not only the latest research on good laptop use and posture but also many methods designed to promote a non-sedentary culture in any office. This may include:
- Frequent breaks
- Regular hydration
- Height adjustable desks
- Intermittent standing
- Walking lunches
- Interpersonal (as opposed to electronic) communication
- Taking the stairs
- Workstation exercises
We Sit 8.9 Hours Each Day
I was completely unaware that there is a workplace campaign to Get Britain Standing. According to their website, we sit for sit for 8.9 hours each day (on average), increasing the likelihood of all kinds of health risk, including depression. The CIPD proposes that active working is the answer to better productivity too.
The Guardian has taken up the cause, claiming that active working is a key to staying healthy and reducing stress in the workplace. There is research to back all this up. Last year, an international group of experts found that:
seated-based work should be regularly broken up with standing-based work, the use of sit–stand desks, or the taking of short active standing breaks.
What fascinates me is the question of how we might apply all this to a coworking space, and to our coworking space in particular.