Prefer to sit or stand at your desk? Like it cluttered or uncluttered? There are no right answers – the key is variety, and a space where you feel you belong
How to sit
Once upon a time, filing meant filing: you got up, went to a cabinet across the office and physically slotted the documents into their allotted space. These days, such jobs are more likely to be done by the click of a mouse.
It is just one of many examples of how technology is making work more sedentary, possibly storing up a huge health toll. “Fundamentally, it is a problem when human bodies are sitting still for long periods of time. That’s not what we’ve evolved for,” says physiotherapist Leon Straker of Curtin University in Perth, Australia.
Make your work work better for you – from dealing with pesky colleagues to taking the perfect break and doing less for more money
Studies show a consistent link between long periods spent sitting and poor health later on, even early death. According to Straker’s data, about half our total sitting time is at work.
The solution may not be as simple as just standing up. In 2017, Straker and his colleagues found a correlation between prolonged periods of standing at work, for example at a standing desk, and musculoskeletal problems such as lower-back pain.
“It’s a problem when we sit still for long periods – we didn’t evolve for it”
“You can do too much sitting, but you can do too little,” says Straker. “You need a good variety, not just of sitting and standing, but also moving around.” We should all vary our tasks as much as we can and remember to take frequent breaks. But managers …