Even if you exercise regularly, long periods of sitting increases the risk of health issues in both the short and long term, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression and early death.
The good news is that the early findings from a BeUpstanding National Implementation Trial, funded through the National Health and Medical Research Centre (NHMRC), shows promising outcomes for both workplaces and workers. The program supports strategies that help workers sit less and move more because desk-based workers sit for 75 per cent of the workday.
The findings show many workplaces are now taking a more holistic approach and are improving the design of work, work systems and the physical work environment, with workers encouraged to sit less and move more by:
- Design of the work - job rotation, regular breaks, standing meetings.
- Design of the physical work environment - procuring sit-stand workstations and standing height desks in meeting and lunchrooms. Having a central point for printers and rubbish bins.
- Design of work systems - flexible work hours/policy, active breaks and embedding these changes into their health and safety management system.
The findings show that initially, many workplaces implemented lower order, less effective controls when managing sedentary work, such as reminders on their devices to change posture. However, as their programs progressed, many workplaces gained further management commitment and moved to higher order controls such as redesign of their work tasks and physical work environment.
Some workplaces are now introducing a more comprehensive health and wellbeing program, of which BeUpstanding is one intervention.
Results for workers and workplaces include:
- reduced sitting times and an increase in movement at work
- improvements in physical health, mental health and energy scores
- decrease in musculoskeletal pain score
- fewer sick days
- increase in the positive perceptions of control and support over their work day
- fewer or less severe symptoms that indicate stress
- increased productivity
- improved workplace culture.
Do you want to make a difference in your workplace? There is still time to be part of the NHMRC study where your workplace champion can get free coaching from expert health coaches to help take your work team through the 3-month program. The BeUpstanding team is especially encouraging call centres and small businesses to take advantage of this opportunity which will end mid-2021.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to get started.