Stand And Deliver: Is Sitting Really The New Smoking?


A research study conducted in Australia identified that the office workers included in their study sat for over 70% of their working day. And this isn’t just the case down under; studies in the UK and other countries have reported similar results.
The subject of health effects associated with prolonged sitting isn’t a new conversation. In fact, the ‘father’ of Occupational Medicine, Bernardino Ramazzini, first highlighted the issue over 300 years ago. However, it’s now been brought to the limelight over the past few years, with ‘Sitting vs. Standing’ appearing in search terms on Google for the first time in 2010. Just three years later, ‘Is sitting the new smoking?’ began trending. Then came the articles and industry reports promoting standing desks and sit-to-stand workstations as the solution to the health effects associated with sitting for long periods.

The problem
In 2015, Canadian researchers identified that the effects of sitting and other sedentary behaviours increased the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer, even for those who exercised regularly outside of office hours.
However, standing may not be the quick fix we’re looking for. Researchers have also identified a range of other serious consequences from prolonged standing, including back pain, varicose veins, increased stroke risk and problems during pregnancy.

The solution
So if both standing and sitting are equally problematic, and the effects can’t be rectified by exercise, what is the answer? Instead of promoting one over the other, leading ergonomic and health experts are saying that the best approach is for people to do both. Their advice is to regularly shift between sitting and standing, combined with walking.

The Fora solution
At Fora, we’re constantly looking for solutions to our residents’ problems. We designed our work spaces with health, wellbeing and productivity in mind, so at each of our spaces you’ll find sit-to-stand workstations and standing desks, as well as more traditional options.
We’ve even added standing meeting rooms, not just to aid with sitting-related problems, but also to help with productivity. Research has shown that standing or walking meetings are often shorter and more effective than sitting meetings, and researchers at Stanford University have even discovered that people are more creative when walking. These ‘scrum’ meeting rooms enable our residents to run their projects and teams more effectively, as they cater to agile sprint meeting habits.
If you’d like to learn more about our different meeting room options, come and visit us at our Clerkenwell office to experience them for yourself.