Dynamic working is working alternately, which means people regularly alternate sitting with standing or moving.
The Netherlands is Europe’s champion of protracted sitting, up to a good 10 hours a day on average! Protracted sitting has harmful consequences for your health. It’s associated with an increased risk of developing insuline resistance (Type 2 Diabetes) and cardiovascular diseases. Research shows that just by standing up every 20 minutes to walk to the toilet, the printer or even fetching a coffee – the sugar level in your blood is reduced by 30 percent. This makes it possible to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
As well as the health advantages of regularly interrupting sitting, your vertebrae also benefit from it. A standing position is the most natural position for your body. This is also the case for the lower part of the spinal column (lumbar vertebrae), which return into the natural lordosis (curvature in the lower back).
It’s not only our body that suffers from all the sitting we do. While you are sitting, your brain works slower because your blood is not being pumped around well and oxygen-rich blood is exactly what the brain needs. Regular movement increases intake of oxygen and better blood circulation, the leg muscles ensure better transport of blood from the legs to the upper body. Thanks to this improved transport, the brain is better provided with oxygen-rich blood, enabling it to function better. Employees are therefore more creative, more productive and feel fitter and more energised at the end of the day.
To stimulate dynamic working, it’s important to make employees aware of the risks of protracted sitting and give them the tools to deal with it. Implementation of Dynamic working supported by management will be adopted earlier and better by employees. Dynamic working is a new method of working and employees need to get used to it. A phased implementation of sit-stand workstations is a frequently applied method. The early adapters and workers with back complaints are most likely to request a sit-stand workstation so let them have one. They will encourage other employees to use a sit-stand workstation as well. This is the ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’ effect. If everyone in the organisation has a sit-stand workstation, it is a definite waste of investment if 30% or more do not use it. So focus on the workers who are really going to apply them.
Exactly what’s just been reviewed: Sit-stand workstations. The name says it all, a workstation that can be adjusted from sitting height to standing height. To stimulate Dynamic and healthy working, a sit-stand workstation is practically a must. Employees can, irrespective of their work activities, raise the workstation to standing height to take a break from sitting. Providing good sit-stand workstations is important, so that employees don’t have to get involved with cables, colleagues, environment or other factors that can be a negative. The general preference is to provide electrically adjustable desks as experience shows that people often find it too much trouble to swing up their entire desk by hand. This costs more time and effort. The effect is that people either don’t use it or spend too long sitting or standing rather than switching every half an hour.
It is also important to provide other facilities spread out in the workplace. Thus waste bins, coffee machines and printers can be placed in a single location so that employees have to get up and move if they want a coffee, or they need to throw something away or fetch a print. In this way you stimulate movement unconsciously and you simply create a dynamic environment in which the norm is to move a lot.
An employer is thus better off investing in dynamic working and a healthy office. A healthy employee is a more productive employee. If you would like to read more about other aspects of healthy working, read this blog with 10 tips for a healthy office.