Over thousands of years, human beings have evolved to run long distances, hunt and forage for food and spend the majority of our time outside. What we’re not designed for is sitting hunched over a desk for hours on end.
And yet that’s exactly what’s happening in our increasingly office-based culture, with 78% of office workers saying they spend too long sat down. That’s why bad posture in the workplace is such a common (and growing) problem.
Why is good posture so important?
Your mum was right: your posture is important. Good posture means that your bones, muscles, joints and ligaments are properly aligned, leading to them being used more efficiently.
Good posture can also help prevent several health problems, including:
- Increased risk of backaches
- Poor digestion
- Increased chances of cardiovascular issues
- Varicose veins
- Changes in your spinal curvature
What causes bad posture?
There are a number of different sitting and standing habits we pick up that lead to bad posture, especially when spending long hours sitting in front of a computer screen at work.
Things you may be doing that lead to bad posture include:
- Slouching in your chair
- Hunching your back
- Rounding your shoulders
- Poking your chin out when sat at a desk
- Cradling your phone between your ear and neck
These positions can sometimes feel more comfortable than actually sitting correctly, but they’re a habit that needs to be broken to avoid health problems down the line.
The type of lifestyles we live can also contribute to the way we hold ourselves. Prolonged periods of inactivity, a lack of exercise and poor ergonomic workstations can all lead to problems with your posture.
Luckily, there are some easy ways in which you can help break these habits and stay standing tall.
How to win the fight against bad posture
It’s never too late to make an effort to start improving your posture. Take these measures now to look forward to a future of better health.
Understand your posture
To improve your posture, you need to know how you currently hold yourself.
Take a look at your posture in the mirror. See where your hands rest and feel where you hold tension (for most people, this is usually in the shoulders).
If your palms face your thighs with your thumbs pointing ahead, your posture is good. If your palms face backwards, you’re probably slouching. To correct this, pull your head back and your shoulders down and back.
Make an effort to sit properly
We often develop bad posture through how we sit. If you sit too far forward on your chair, you put additional pressure on your pubic bone, and if you sit too far back, the pressure mounts on your tailbone.
Find the right balance by keeping your feet flat on the floor, your back straight and centring your weight. You should also think about supporting your lower back to prevent aches and pains if you spend long periods of time sitting.
Try correcting exercises
There are certain exercises you can do to help counteract the damage of bad posture. The best exercises strengthen your core, extend and flex your muscles and encourage better balance. They include:
- Shoulder stretches
Make sure you’re fully supported with the correct furniture
In office environments, there is a natural tendency to lean forward towards your computer, slouch at your desk or keep your legs crossed for long periods, which can lead to increased tension and muscle strain throughout your body. One of the best ways to combat this is to ensure that you are provided with comfortable, ergonomic furniture that supports good posture.
Height adjustable desks are great for encouraging good posture, as you can decide between sitting or standing whilst doing your work, giving muscle groups a rest during the day.
The right kind of chair is also very important. You need to ensure that you’re comfortable and supported and that your chair is ergonomically designed to avoid any health issues.
For more information about health and wellbeing in the office, take a look at the best ways to encourage your staff to start exercising, or take a look at the six seating sins office workers usually fall victim to.
As it turns out, sitting at a desk all day is, well, not that good for us.
Research shows that a lack of physical activity through your day-to-day — known as a “sedentary lifestyle” — is bad news for your health in more ways than one. Sitting for too long each day doesn’t just affect your waistline: it also affects your mood, your memory, and even your sleep.
The problem is that this sedentary lifestyle is only getting more common as office workers pull longer and longer hours to catch up with the demands of a world accelerated by technology.
Even finishing the day with a gym session might not be enough to counteract the detrimental effects of sitting down for 9.5 hours a day, which include:
- Increasing risk of diabetes
- Increase risk of heart disease
- A loss of muscle and bone strength
Luckily for you, we have a few tricks up our sleeves. With our tips, you can inject some more exercise into your every day, without missing out on getting your work done.
We’ll start from the top and move all the way down, so in 10 easy steps, you’ll get a full body workout in a matter of minutes – without even leaving your desk!
10 desk exercises you can do right now
- Neck strengthening
If you’re holding your neck still for long periods of time, chances are it’ll start feeling pretty stiff. To help strengthen your neck, place your palms on your forehead and gently push your head forward, pushing back with your hands. Do this for a few seconds, stop, and repeat. Sure, it looks a little strange, but it feels really good.
- Head rolling
Loosen up your neck and increase blood flow to that big old brain of yours with a head roll. Tuck your chin into your chest, then slowly rotate your head around your shoulders until you’re back to the starting point. Then, go back the other way. If you put headphones on, it’ll just look like you’re really into the music.
- Shrug your shoulders
Don’t know the answer to something you’ve been asked? Take the opportunity for a few shoulders shrugs. Lift your shoulders to your ears and hold for a few seconds before dropping to help strengthen the muscles in your back which improves posture, reducing back pain. Don’t do this too often, though; otherwise, people may think you really don’t have an opinion.
- Make your shoulder blades touch
If you sit at your desk with your arms out in front of you, it’s likely that the sensation of your shoulder blades touching is pretty alien. Nevertheless, it’s important to do this to help open up your chest and relax the muscles across your upper back. If you yawn while you do it, no one will bat an eyelid.
- Press your hands together
Work on those pectorals and triceps with this easy exercise. Press your palms together in front of your chest and press them against one another. Hold for a few seconds. You should feel some tension in your arms, shoulders and chest.
- Pull your hands apart
Starting in the same position as in exercise number 5, turn one hand the other way around so one thumb points to the ceiling and one to the floor. Hook your hands together by your fingers and pull for a few seconds. This helps strengthen your biceps without having to get the dumbbells out.
- Tense your abs
It probably won’t give you a washboard stomach, but tensing your abs every now and again can help improve your core strength. That means your posture is better supported: goodbye, back pain! You can take this up a gear by gripping the edge of your desk and swivelling in your chair left and right with your feet off the ground.
- Pinch your glutes
You might be sat on them all day, but that doesn’t mean that your buttocks are getting all the exercise they need. Tense and hold your glutes for 5-10 seconds, release, and repeat. You can sync it up to whatever music you’re listening to at the time to keep up a steady rhythm.
- Compress those thighs
Without regular pressure put on them, your thighs can quickly weaken. Give them a quick booster by pushing your knees together. Hold them for a few seconds and release. If you have slim thighs, put a book between your legs and press against that instead. You should feel the benefit in your groin and around your hips.
- Raise your legs
One of the great things about a desk is that you can give your legs some exercise without anyone noticing. Put your feet together and slowly raise your legs until they’re at a 90-degree angle to your body. Hold for a few seconds, then slowly lower them again. Do this a few times until you can feel the burn in your calves.
Doing a little exercise at your desk a few times a day is an easy way to look after your body while you’re at work. Remember to pair it with regular, more active exercise after work to keep your heart healthy, your blood flowing, and your brain supplied with the oxygen it needs to do a fantastic job.
Still feeling some stiffness in your neck or back? Check out our range of chairs designed to improve comfort and productivity.
Anyone that’s ever had a job interview knows about the importance of body language; that even the tiniest changes to your posture and facial expression matter.
But maybe that interview was months or even years ago. How often do you think about your body language when you’re sat at your desk? You might find it easier to work when you’re reclining in your seat, but others may simply see someone who isn’t engaged in their work trying to catch forty winks.
The truth is that even beyond the interview, your body language still speaks volumes about you – and people take notice.
It’s time to take back control.
6 common ways people sit
Experts at DBI Furniture Solutions identified some of the most common ways that people sit at their desks and offer some small tweaks you can make to improve how others perceive you in the office.
Position 1: Homo erectus
- Straight back
- Both feet firmly on the floor
- Chin up
Communicates: Confidence, self-righteousness
This seating stance is ideal for good posture and projecting confidence, so if this is your default seating position, you’re among the lucky few.
Though sitting this way primes you to feel professional and composed, it can also project an air of superiority to others, who might feel like you’re unapproachable as a result.
Try: relaxing your posture every now and again; allow yourself to lean back in your chair when you’re thinking. That way, you’ll communicate to others that you’re non-judgemental and available for discussion. You’ll also increase blood flow around your body to reduce fatigue and boost your productivity.
Position 2: The screen sniffer
- Leaning far forward
- Chest directly over keyboard
- Elbows tucked into the side
Communicates: Fastidiousness, unavailability
Those adopting the screen-sniffer pose are often sticklers for detail. While this attention to the small print is certainly desirable in many administrative or accounting positions, this forward-leaning pose can indicate you’re too focused on your work to talk (either that or you’re seriously visually impaired).
Plus, it’s really bad for you: for every inch of forwarding head posture, you increase the weight of the head on the spine by an additional 10 pounds. Nobody wants to be a hunchback.
Try: installing a monitor arm. Monitor arms allow you to move your screen further forward, preventing you from leaning over your desk to read your emails.
Position 3: The recliner
- Leaning far back
- Heels on the floor
- Shoulders hunched forward
Communicates: An easygoing nature, laziness
Slouching back in your chair and keeping at arm’s length from your keyboard shows you as relaxed, which can make you approachable. Unfortunately, this is also the pose that was made famous by Homer Simpson, so it’s become synonymous with laziness, which puts you in the firing line when there are grumblings about productivity.
Avoid the recliner pose to keep your reputation as a hard worker intact and help you engage more with the task at hand.
Try: moving your monitor further away using a monitor arm so that the screen is difficult to read from where you normally find yourself reclining. You can also increase the height of your chair to make stretching out your legs less comfortable to dissuade yourself from doing so.
Position 4: The criss-cross
- One leg crossed over the other
- Elbows out in front of torso
- Arched back
Crossing our legs comes pretty naturally, but doing so too often can communicate that you’re insecure because you’re making yourself seem smaller.
Not only can this make others more cautious when they speak to you, but it can make them doubt your confidence in the decisions you make. Come on, Carol, we know you mean business.
Try: raising your chair or lowering your desk. Giving yourself less leg room restricts your ability to put one leg over the other; instead, you’ll plant both feet on the ground.
Position 5: The chin prop
- Sat slumped to one side
- Chin or cheek rested on fist
- Head propped up by elbow
Nothing says “I love my job” more than needing to physically prop up your head at your desk.
Adopting the chin prop tells people that you’re dissatisfied, and forces your body into the kind of slumped position that can leave you feeling sapped of energy and muttering that you’re bored.
Try: reordering your desk so that your monitor is positioned directly ahead of you, or bring your keyboard forward so there’s less room for you to prop your elbow.
Position 6: The chaise longue
- Legs splayed to the side
- Torso arched
- One arm on desk for support
Research suggests that splaying one’s legs out to the side is an unconscious sign of flirtatiousness, so try to avoid this pose wherever you can.
Not only can it miscommunicate your intentions, but it looks unprofessional, too, so you may find your co-workers take you less seriously if you sit like this on a regular basis.
Try: swapping your chair for one with armrests to stop you from unconsciously propping yourself back into the chaise longue pose.
The more you know
Understanding how your posture can affect you and those around you, the easier it is to start implementing changes to counter them. Small tweaks to your posture can transform how you’re perceived by your colleagues, helping set you up for success.
Looking for some comfortable chairs for your office? Take a look at DBI – the furniture solutions expert.
The brain. The body. How often we mentally, verbally and symbolically draw a distinction between these two things which are, ipso facto, two parts of the unique, unified you. Sit/stand desks are almost exclusively associated with beneficial effects on the body and, though these do lead to beneficial mental effects as well, the results of a new study appear to show a much more direct, organic and potentially-groundbreaking link. Ready to improve your neurocognition? Let’s take the journey together.
The most recent edition of respected scientific publication The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health contained the results of a year-long study carried out at a high school in Texas, USA. Led by Ranjana Mehta, a team of researchers followed a group of 27 young people through a year at school, administering neurocognitive tests at the beginning and end. In the interim, the students underwent a transition to ‘standing-biased’ classrooms, having never experienced such a thing prior to the study.
Five cognitive tests (evaluating decision-making, reasoning, memory, modification of cognitive strategy and cognitive flexibility) were given before and after the 27 students had been exposed to sit/stand desk options. Results of the tests, which were inspired by observational data and combined with data from a portable brain-imaging machine, indicated that using a sit/stand desk:
Caused or contributed to a general improvement in participants’ test scores of between 7-14%. It appears highly unlikely that education received during the year could have caused such a leap as scores from these standard tests are usually fixed around the age of 12
Increased activity in the left prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with working memory and high-level problem-solving/decision-making
Is worthy of further, more detailed studies with a seated control group and including average grades and standardised test scores
Concluding, the authors of the study said: “These findings provide the first preliminary evidence on the neurocognitive benefits of standing desks, which to date have focused largely on energy expenditure. If the results are backed up in further studies, it could mean that a simple furniture swap to standing desks could lead to a rise in outstanding students.”
We have embraced the sit/stand desk concept since it emerged and can now offer a wide selection of designs to suit any office space. Start browsing the collection HERE and call us to get a fast, competitive quote!
The height-adjustable desk is thankfully becoming a more common sight in the modern office environment as the problems caused by extended periods of sitting at a computer become more obvious and understood. We supply an eclectic range of sit/stand desks, as they are commonly known, and here we offer some tips for ensuring their optimum performance.
Recent research that revealed the many health problems caused by sitting down for too long, particularly with little other movements, caused an instant call for people to stand more. This increased focus has ironically led to some people now standing up for too long – a practice that has its own accompanying health risks such as increased risk of varicose veins and atherosclerosis. As with many things in life, balance is the key.
Users of sit/stand desks should adjust their posture approximately every 30-45 minutes and in not less than one hour. Avoid extended periods of standing or sitting. What is the best posture? The next posture
Ensure that the desk is adjusted correctly. People have a tendency to set the desk too high, forcing a posture of elevated shoulders and increasing fatigue levels and injury risk. A safe working level is at or just below the height of the elbows at 90 degrees when the shoulders are relaxed and the upper arms resting by the sides
Sit back completely, allowing your chair to support you. If you have one, position your computer keyboard to around 2” above the lap and keep the elbows close to the body as you work
If budget permits, choosing a sit/stand desk with electrical adjustment is preferable to avoid cranking by hand
Be proactive – don’t wait for discomfort or pain to strike before optimising your workstation setup. Get it right first time and avoid stress later on
Please enjoy browsing our select range of sit/stand desks. For more tips on optimal usage, call our technical team now or chat to us online.
Our latest space planning and office furniture supply/installation project was recently completed, leaving specialist insurance company Integro Doodson with a contemporary workspace of superior functionality and professional aesthetic appearance. With a skilled, dedicated and forward-thinking team from DBI working on the project, everything went without a hitch and the new office is already having beneficial effects on the company’s numerous staff members.
Integro Doodson, a Manchester-based company, has been established since 1984. Since that time, a programme of constant reinvestment and optimisation has allowed it to grow and evolve – Integro Doodson now provide specialist insurance services to large corporate entities and a number of individuals, many of whom are high-profile (and highly-paid!) stars of the sport and entertainment worlds.
As an insurance group operating globally, Integro Doodson represent the UK as one of its leading independent brokers. Recent successes internationally have meant that the company’s old premises have simply become too small to comfortably accommodate the staff, which currently totals over 130 individuals. To reflect the growing prestige, importance and influence of Integro Doodson, it was obvious to decision-makers that office furniture of the very highest quality and expert space-planning services were essential to properly kit out the new, larger office facilities.
The new office furniture supplied by us to Integro Doodson included products from:
Senator Office Furniture
Senator furniture really needs no introduction – as one of the most well-recognised brands in the field and with a comprehensive portfolio of products designed to suit a multitude of applications, Senator are a force to be reckoned with. In the open-plan areas of the new Integro Doodson office, we installed Senator Freeway bench desking to improve the comfort, health and productivity of the company’s busy staff, whose many diverse roles will be ably facilitated by the innovative desking system.
Sven Christiansen Furniture
The boardroom always calls for something extra-special in terms of furnishings and this project was no exception. Several pieces of executive office furniture, designed to bespoke specification, were supplied to create just the right atmosphere – professional, intelligent, focused – for this space, which is the very hub of the company’s operations.
The Sven Christiansen brand, often shortened familiarly to Sven, has been making waves in the furniture sector since it was established in 1974 as a cabinet maker. From this specialised beginning, the company grew and diversified quickly to become what it is now – one of the UK’s most respected manufacturers of office furniture. Hand-finished at the Sven factory in the West Midlands, products made by the company today still reflect that original dedication to fine craftsmanship.
We will keep in close contact with Integro Doodson to ensure that everything is functioning to optimum levels, providing fast and effective solutions if required due to the ever-changing needs of the company’s large staff.
Planning on refurbishing your office space to bring it in line with modern standards and reflect the quality of your business? Contact our team now and let us do all the hard work for you.
Long periods of physical inactivity can lead to an increased risk of serious illness and even premature death, warns the report, before suggesting that standing desks should be used in conjunction with more traditional seated arrangements.
Several health experts conducted the research that backs up the report, which was commissioned by Public Health England in partnership with Active Working CIC. This latter organisation is an actively-campaigning group of people whose slogan and aim is to ‘Get Britain Standing’. The authors of the report calculated that the average UK resident spends around 60% of their waking time in a seated position, rising to a worrying 75% of office workers.
Popularity of sit stand desking is increasing as office furniture designers respond to the growing need for alternatives.
This is the ultimate solution, allowing its user to work comfortably from a sitting or standing position as they wish. Clamping quickly, easily and securely to any standard fixed-height work surface, the versatile QuickStand can be used for either new or existing workstations. Expertly-engineered cable management systems combine innovative function with a clean aesthetic, creating one of Humanscale’s most impressive pieces of office furniture so far.
A compact, convenient height-adjustable table that features a unique and extremely reliable counterbalance mechanism, Float is designed to make everything easier, safer and more comfortable for the user. With one hand, you can easily adjust the height to what best suits your own ergonomics before enjoying the desk and its distinct lack of obstructive, uncomfortable crossbeam.
We introduced this brand new range from market-leading Senator Group in a news article back in January. By flawlessly incorporating several disparate elements into a single sit/stand desking unit, the Chemistry collection is described as a ‘future proof solution’ to modern office design challenges. The ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to office furniture design is thrown out of the window by Senator, who choose instead to focus on making office ergonomics a personal, individual matter.
Whatever kind of office space you want to create, DBI Furniture Solutions are with you all the way. We are an independent company and so have the freedom and buying power to work with all of the major modern office furniture manufacturers to deliver the perfect bespoke combination of components. Call us today to find out more about how sit stand desks can positively change the way employees work while improving their long-term health.
Modern design can no longer treat carefully-implemented office ergonomics as an option. Awareness of the many health implications suffered by people as a result of their jobs continues to rise and those companies who fail to provide adequate ergonomic care for their employees lose out in a number of ways.
Here we look at three ways in which optimised office ergonomics can improve the health of both your employees and your business.
Health & Wellbeing
Numerous studies have all shown the same thing – sitting down for too long is bad for you, particularly when the chair you’re sitting on is poorly-designed for the individual.
Back and neck pain are among the most frequent health problems reported by office employees, with stress and depression naturally following.
Contemporary office furniture is designed to minimise the health risks of working in an office by personalising the experience for each user.
Adjustable flexibility is key and this ethos extends across everything from desking and chairs to dedicated task lighting. Every employee should have access to the best office furniture possible and many items have an extremely reasonable price tag attached so you don’t have to break the bank to improve the health and morale of your employees for good.
Productivity & Reputation
As employee comfort increases, productivity goes up right along with it.
This is true only up to a certain point – make the office too comfortable and you might send everyone to sleep!
Chairs should be firm and supportive, creating good posture and reducing exertion by restricting motions and extending reach.
Height-adjustable sit/stand desks are the perfect complement to ergonomic office chairs and further enhance productivity.
Happy employees are more optimistic, directly affecting the planning and execution of their work. As work improves, so too does the reputation of your company.
Legality and Liability
Employers have the responsibility to provide a safe working environment for their employees and an extensive amount of older office furniture is really no longer fit for purpose.
As knowledge of the health problems directly caused by poor office ergonomics increases, we could very soon see the amount of employer liability cases sharply rise.
Contact our team now and we will guide you step-by-step through our range of modern office furniture and supply you with details of our unique, highly-successful bespoke space planning service.
If you want to stay as healthy as possible – then stand up. This is the advice being given to office workers, drivers and other employees who spend extended periods of time sitting down at work which, according to recent research, significantly increases the risk of developing diabetes and cancer.
The study was carried out by Kansas State University and, led by Professor Richard Rosenkranz, looked into the sitting habits of more than 63,000 men aged between 45 and 65 in New South Wales, Australia. Though only men were studied in this particular research, the findings are also likely to apply to women.
Comparing men who remained seated for less than four hours, four to six hours, six to eight hours and over eight hours, the study looked into related health problems. Findings included:
Those who sat for in excess of four hours a day were ‘significantly more likely’ to report having one of a number of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes or cancer
The chance of such a condition being reported increased as participants indicated a higher amount of time spent sitting
Results were consistent across factors including age, height, weight and level of physical activity
Professor Rosenkranz said: “We saw a steady stair-step increase in risk of chronic diseases the more participants sat.. the group sitting more than eight hours clearly had the highest risk.” He then warned that: “A lot of office jobs that require long periods of sitting may be hazardous to your health because of inactivity and the low levels of energy expenditure.”
This study adds to the large body of research that shows how sitting for extended periods can have dramatic negative effects on human health and wellbeing. Other studies have shown that:
Compared to someone who watches no television, someone who watches six hours a day can cut their lifespan by five years
People who sit for long periods have higher cholesterol and blood sugar along with a corresponding larger waist size
Less than 50% of adults meet the physical activity recommendations of the World Health Organisation
Stand-up desks, a select range which will soon be available from our website, offer an ideal solution to the health problems caused by extended periods of sitting inactive. To find out more about this essential enhancement to office ergonomics, contact us now for exclusive information.