Tuesday, September 27th, 2011
Office workers are estimated to sit at their desks for up to 80,000 hours over their working life.

Combined with a sedentary lifestyle at home, a lack of movement can lead to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, muscular skeletal disorders and obesity, as well as a reduction in productivity.

The realisation is provoking a mini revolution in workplaces around Australia with the introduction of electric, height-adjustable workstations or desks, which give people the option to alternate between sitting or standing while they work.

Having the option to stand and sit at a desk is healthier for the muscles of the body, makes for a happier office, more productive worker and workplace.

Many people are now adapting to this innovative new way of working - from bankers to radio stars, multinational gas explorers to fingerprinting police, medical researchers, casino staff, stockbrokers and staff at call centres and Centrelink, even architects, engineers and lawyers, are now standing and sitting while they work.

When Macquarie Bank built its impressive new Sydney headquarters at One Shelley Street, it enlisted the world’s best designers and builders. Among many of the benchmark design features were electric height-adjustable workstations which allow workers to sit or stand at the touch of a button, while they work.

In Perth, all three thousand new employees at the Chevron Energy Technology Co will benefit from electric height adjustable desks.

Radio Stations like the ABC and Triple MMM are implementing electric, height-adjustable workstations for their technical and on-air staff.

Finger printing police in Melbourne reduced workplace injuries dramatically with the introduction
of sit/stand desks.

“The old ‘static sitting-only office desk’ has served its time,” says Mitch Farrell from LINAK Australia, who supplies the electric, height-adjustable ‘actuators’ for the workstations or desks.

"Sitting all day is simply unhealthy, especially these days when office workers can spend up to 75% of a day deskbound and up to 80,000 hours at their desks over their working life,” he says.

Research has shown that having the ability to stand or sit while working ticks many boxes on a health and productivity basis. Scandinavians have long recognised the health benefits of a national policy mandating electric height-adjustable workstations (less days lost through muscular skeletal disorders; improved concentration through oxygenation of the blood; slightly more calories burned, reduction in risk factors like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes and so on).

From a ‘bottom line’ perspective, employees who alternate between a sitting and standing work posture (through electric, height-adjustable desks) perform better, whether in long shifts at call centres, in Casino security control centres, or day to day office workers.

Our technology ‘connectiveness’ means less face-to-face contact and more reliance on the computer and telephone. Combined with a sedentary life at home on the couch, or on the computer, it can be a detrimental on many fronts; organisations are realising this and being proactive.

According to Associate Professor David Dunstan, Head of Physical Research at Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, “Being immobile (sitting) for prolonged periods can slow down the body’s regulatory processes including the enzymes needed to break down blood fats and blood glucose. Evidence of workplace sitting suggests a link between cardiovascular events, type 2 diabetes, body mass index (BMI) and premature mortality.”

Conversely, Dunstan says, having the capacity to stand at our desk ‘switches on’ muscles. These muscle contractions burn slightly greater energy and process blood glucose and blood fats more efficiently.
Dunstan’s edict is ‘stand up, sit less, move more’.

A world first research study, conducted by Dr Alicia Thorp at Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute will examine the impact of alternating between a seated and standing work posture on markers of heart health, with the aim to provide initial evidence to then help develop evidence-based guidelines for alternating between sitting and standing in the workplace.

"Presently there’s no official Government policy on guidelines for sitting in the workplace for health; organisations need to be proactive and offer preventative interventions to tackle sedentary behaviour in the workplace because the evidence of adverse health effects is mounting,” Dr Thorp says.

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Founded in Denmark in 1907, LINAK is an international company and world leader in designing and manufacturing electric linear actuator solutions across many industries.

The company provides electric actuator solutions to hospital & healthcare equipment, height adjustable furniture, comfort beds, industrial work applications and switchgear automation.

LINAK’S Australian Head office is in Hallam, Melbourne.

In conjunction with its Danish parent company, the LINAK DESKLINE® division in Australia provides innovative ergonomic adjustability solutions for the office and workplace environment and provides furniture manufacturers with complete flexible electric actuator systems for height adjustable desks, workstations and counters.
Brian James
P: 0410 414 770
W: www.linak.com.au


actuators, sitting and standing at work, electric height adjustable desks



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