Office Ergonomics Revisited

Ergonomics has always been an issue in offices.  Companies are responsible for providing a safe work environment for their employees and ergonomically correct work spaces are part of that safe environment.  It's important to realize that ergonomics encompasses more than just a good office chair.  Proper height and tilt of a monitor, elimination of glare, distance of the keyboard from the user, keyboard position and angle, clearance under the desk, headsets for frequent phone use, and even the type of stapler you use are all factors in an ergonomically correct space.  And, of course, we all know that we need wrist rests for the keyboard and mouse.

According to Ergonomics Plus, Inc., about 70 % of the American workforce now sits on the job. This type of work style can result in a variety of adverse conditions such as eye strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, and musculoskeletal disorders. 

 A study by Peter Katzmarzyk at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA found that people who sat for most of the day were 54% more likely to die of heart attacks than those who didn't.  They call it "sitting disease." ("Kill Your Desk Chair - and Start Standing," Bloomberg Businessweek June 28, 2012).  "So," you ask, "does that mean I should stand all day?"  No.  Standing all day can be just as hard on the body because it puts more strain on the heart and can increase the likelihood of atherosclerosis and varicose veins.You need to sit a little, stand a little, and repeat throughout the day.

In the 2015 crop of new office furniture items, we have an assortment of sit-stand products available by a variety of manufacturers.  Some are designed to convert a traditional desk to a stand up desk, others will allow you to sit or stand as you desire.  Some sit on top of your existing desk, some are wall mounted and some are mobile units.  One brand that I would like to showcase today is the Victor High Rise Collection.  

DC050  - a great accessory to the DC100 or DC200!

DC050 - a great accessory to the DC100 or DC200!

The Victor High Rise Collection consists of four different models that provide multiple options for sit-stand usage.  The DC300 is the most versatile as it allows you to sit or stand, while the other models are designed to convert only to a stand up desk.  The surface is raised up to 15.5" to allow for ergonomic placement of the keyboard, mouse or papers while you stand.  It has gas struts to allow height adjustment of both the desk and the monitor with just a push of a lever.  It's also tapered in the back, so it fits any desk - even corners.  And when you get tired of standing, you can push the surface down to desktop level so you can sit for a while.  It is made of wood construction with laminate coating and has a heavy steel base to prevent tipping.

I like the styling of the High Rise Collection better than the other brands that I've seen.  The black color is attractive and matches to just about any office decor and the overall shape and curvature of the units is pleasing to the eye. I also like the fact that these units are independent.  The others I've seen are arms that have to attach to your existing desk, whereas the Victor units are designed to stand on top of your desk, so they can easily be moved when necessary.

Top 10 Reasons You Should Stand at Work:

1)  Add 2 years to your life - That's right!  Research shows that sitting more than 3 hours per day cuts your life expectancy by 2 years. Peter Katzmarzyk, Pennington Biomedical Research Center

2)  Burn 42 more calories per hour.  Dr. John Buckley, University of Chester

3)  Reduce your risk of dying of a heart attack by 46%.  Peter Katzmarzyk, Pennington Biomedical Research Center 

4)  Lower your risk of cancer - Studies have linked sitting to a greater risk for colon, breast and endometrial cancers due to increased insulin production from idle muscles.  Charles E. Matthews, National Cancer Institute Investigator

5)  Reduce your back and neck pain - People who sit more are at greater risk for herniated lumbar disks, as well as strained cervical vertebrae in the neck, leading to permanent imbalances.  Jay Dicharry, Director of the REP Biomechanics Lab in Bend, Oregon

6)  Get 18% more work done - A study found that an employer who provided employees with good ergonomic furniture and training in how to use it realized about $367 per day more income per employee ( a 17% productivity gain) than did a control group.  Tom Albin, Office Ergonomics Research Committee, Inc.

7)  Be a better co-worker - The average American spends 55% of waking time in sedentary behaviors.  People who stand have a smaller barrier to engage with others in the workplace, thus improving their social and professional relationships.  2008 Vanderbilt University study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology

8)  Sleep better - Sitting for long periods of time slows blood circulation, which causes fluid to pool in the legs.  This can ultimately cause restlessness and lead to loss of sleep.  James Levine, Director of Obesity Solutions at Mayo Clinic

9)  Lower healthcare costs - A HealthPartners study saw overall health increase with its participants who stood at work, leading to lower projected health care costs in the long run of a business.  JourneyWell, a HealthPartners wellness solution

10) Feel healthier at the end of the day - According to a 2011 study, 75% of people felt healthier overall after standing at work.  2011 HealthPartners study 

I wish I had a sit-stand desk when I started working an office job.  I might have avoided the back and neck problems I developed. Now I make a point to get up and walk around during the day just so I don't end up sitting all day. (I wonder if I could convince my boss to get me a DC300.....????)

I have worked in the office supply industry for many years and have the highest regard for Victor and its products. Victor is a quality brand that's been around for almost 100 years.  It started out as the Victor Adding Machine Company and over the years its product line expanded to include calculators and desktop accessories.  I'm glad to see them come out with this line - I think it's a great addition.  See the entire High Rise line here.