On 23rd February 2018, The Telegraph online ran the story below. It is extracted from a recently published article in Ergonomics Journal which is a quality publication, with the research done at the highly respected Curtin University in Australia. I recommend you read it, and would also value your comments as to the ladies working position in the photograph attached to the article. I can see 3 obvious issues, so please don’t be subtle!


The Telegraph article describes how 20 people were asked to stand still for two hours and then asked to comment on their pain / discomfort levels, and their mental ability was tested. It then goes to link the inevitable increase pain and reduction in mental ability (fatigue) due to standing still for 2 hours to the fact that sit stand desks create pain. Has anybody else spotted the problem?

There is no doubt in this article or from any other source that I can see that sedentary living is killing us. How we overcome this though is still in debate, and in my view is that there has to be multiple solutions to fit many different lifestyles.

What might be more debatable is the idea of standing to work for two hours. The best rule of thumb that I’ve seen is from Prof Alan Hedges who is a professor of ergonomics from the Cornell University, USA who recommends that for every 30 minutes of work, 20 minutes are seated, eight minutes are conducted standing and 2 minutes walking. Clearly, this is a guide and definitely not a strict regime! This sensible guideline acknowledges that prolonged standing and sitting are not healthy and that sit stand working should be a dynamic fluid event that changes frequently during the day. Frankly, the idea that you should stand for two hours and then not get some musculoskeletal symptoms or fatigue somewhat perplexes me.

I would welcome the idea that we get the active working agenda back on an even keel and talk about multiple solutions to enable office workers to become healthier and more active, and not jump on every bandwagon article that appears. Sit stand working, standing meetings, using the stairs instead of the lift and a myriad of more imaginative concepts need to be employed to combat the sedentary epidemic that is upon us.

If anybody would like to discuss this further, or ask how they can apply sensible strategies for active working for the benefit of their employees, and indeed to improve productivity, please do not hesitate to contact me.