Do you remember musical chairs, the party game we played as youngsters? It sometimes feels like we play it in the workplace too! Attending meetings in various meeting rooms, the impromptu chat with a colleague or manager, eating lunch in the kitchen, or out at a food service location, or having a meeting in a café – all include sitting down on a chair, not the same one but still a chair.
Intentionally playing musical chairs is a good practice in moving your body. If we sit down for too long it can cause problems in the long term, especially if the work is sedentary.
Research (Safe Work NSW) shows that Australian workers spend around 76% of their time at work sitting, that’s around 5 hours a day. Times that by 5 days, that’s a lot of sitting around, not to mention the time sitting in a car or on public transport getting to and from work.
On top of feeling stiff from not moving as often, there is a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes (type 2), and musculoskeletal disorders from prolonged sitting. Sitting for a long time even for 30 minutes can place pressure on your spine and ligaments, and reduce the blood flow which also leads to poor concentration.
Most businesses will have roles that are sedentary, so what measures can you implement to help move your workers around? Try these suggestions to reduce inactive behaviour in the workplace.
- Encourage your workers to take micro-breaks, these are 1-2 minute stand-up, move-around breaks. Include a stretch when getting up.
- Review the role’s tasks to minimise sitting time and to change the posture and muscle usage.
- Book in an Ergonomics Assessment to ensure your worker’s workstation equipment is positioned safely and your worker knows how to use it without injury. During the assessment, the ergonomics expert can recommend strategies for using the existing equipment to save the business from unexpected equipment costs.
- Initiate a stretching class say for 10 minutes where everyone stands up and stretches, or in your next meeting ask all participants to stand for the meeting, or hold the meeting as a ‘walk and talk’.
- Recommend your workers to eat lunch away from their desks, remove rubbish bins from their work areas to encourage getting up, and suggest they go for a walk for some fresh air.
- Hold a wellness day where health experts can provide tips and advice on best practices such as Workplace Ergonomics presentations and training sessions.
Another suggestion is to subscribe to our Workplace Ergonomics video collection which provides quick tips on how to safely use and position equipment, mini exercises and more. It’s free to subscribe and provides insight into how an Ergonomics Assessment is valuable to your business.
Incorporating a few more healthier practices into your overall wellness policy, your workers will appreciate a healthier body, mind, and workplace.