Sitting seems like a harmless activity that doesn’t seem to pose any health risks.
But when you sit at your work desk for prolonged periods of time, your health takes a turn for the worst.
In a research study from 2017 that examined the sitting behavior of under 450 Iranian office workers, 53.5% reported neck pain, with similar results for lower back pain (53.2%) and shoulder pain (51.6%). Others felt pain in their knees. Almost half the number of employees expressed discomfort with their workstations, and because they spent an average of over 6 hours in an 8-hour shift sitting down, that resulted in 73.6% of them feeling exhausted during the workday.
However, they suffered from more than just muscle pains. Some had hypertension or high blood pressure, while a larger percentage suffered from hyperlipidemia, a condition of elevated levels of lipids also known as high blood cholesterol. It’s no surprised the workers also reported job dissatisfaction.
Active workstations, such as standing desks and desk bikes, integrate physical activity during the shift and address the issues above, although office goers experience more than just musculoskeletal problems and inactivity.
For example, eye strain comes from staring at screens all day and improperly aligned computer monitors. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome becomes a huge risk for computer workers. Lastly, exhaustion and a sedentary lifestyle at the office may translate into home life, with the possibility of impacting mental health.
Employers need to understand that a comfy chair doesn’t eliminate all those health risks. While a combination of factors determine employee health and happiness, workstation design should never be overlooked.