Contrary to a common misconception, sitting does not prevent a healthy work experience—inactivity does. As humans, we are made to move. While it may not feel as natural to move about the office right now, it remains critically important to well-being. And, your workspace can help.
Integrating movement throughout the workday helps optimize people’s performance and reduces health consequences associated with the inactivity of prolonged sitting or standing in place. When organizations provide workplaces that promote movement, it can help people stay effective and lessen the negative impacts of traditionally sedentary workstyles.
Using the Affordances framework, active work environments consider three layers of movement:
Posture involves training your body to sit, stand, walk, and lie in positions with the least strain on supporting muscles and ligaments. Focusing on good posture improves performance, helps you better handle stressful situations, and brings significant physical and mental well-being benefits.
Changing from a seated to standing position, or vice versa, creates a significant shift in how and what parts of the body bear weight. Periodically changing position improves blood circulation, reduces swelling and stiffness, and may improve musculoskeletal comfort—specifically in the lower back and feet.
Walking to different physical locations—various workspaces and even respite areas—provides quick opportunities for exercise and changes in perspective. Changing locations throughout the day stimulates cognition for increased focus and better performance, creates serendipitous connection and interaction, and reduces potential for musculoskeletal disorders associated with long-term static posture—sitting or standing.
Providing spaces that encourage people to change posture, position, and location reinforces an organizational focus on employee well-being. Educating employees on possibilities and empowering leaders to support movement as a social norm will help create a culture of movement in your workplace.