Covid-19 Information for Employees, too much sitting
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Too much sitting is bad for you


Working in an office or working at home can often lead to us sitting in front of a computer for long periods of time. Prolonged spells of sitting in in the same position or being “sedentary” has been shown to have a harmful effect on our health. Therefore we should all aim to reduce the negative impact of sitting as much as possible.

Too much sedentary behaviour can put us at a higher risk of long term conditions such as back pain, diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. It can also have a negative impact on our mental health. With many people working from home it is even more important to consider how much we sit during the day and take action to reduce this. For many our office might now be our living room, dinner table, kitchen, spare room or even sofa! The usual office interaction; chats around the kettle or a walk at lunchtime with colleagues isn’t available. Meetings are held via video we don’t need to walk to a meeting room. 

Many have had to make do with what would normally be temporary measures, such as working from a laptop which isn’t ideal for long periods of use. When in office environments regular Display Screen Equipment (DSE) risk assessments and correct set up would be available. As such without the correct set up, discipline or ability change position, musculoskeletal disorders, already one of the main causes of sickness absence could become more prevalent.  Why not work if you need to make a change by calculating your sitting time here


There are measures we can take to reduce the impact of prolonged sitting


  • Take regular breaks – at least once an hour. Stand up, take a short walk, step away from the computer
  • Exercise. When taking longer breaks, ensure exercise is part of this. Take a walk if you can. Are you able to build some form of exercise into your working day?
  • Consider the equipment you use. Do you have an appropriate chair with suitable back support? Can your organisation supply or loan equipment to staff e.g. office monitors, keyboards?
  • Stand for phone calls and if possible, move around the home / office while on the call.
  • Set reminders to stand regularly on your computer e.g. outlook calendar, or smartphone/watch
  • Many workplaces have introduced standing desks which offer a great way to reduce sedentary behaviour. If it’s not possible to access these, some at home improvisation can create a standing work station e.g. place computer on a box for short periods (if safe to do so).
  • Encourage colleagues to reduce sedentary behaviour across your organisation with an awareness campaign.

Much of our time at home can be sedentary as we relax after a day at work e.g. watching TV, reading a book. Therefore it is important to consider how much time throughout the entire day we are sedentary (not including sleeping). The interventions we put in place to reduce sitting while working can be just as effective after our working day has ended. 


Want to find out more? 


NHS advice

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/why-sitting-too-much-is-bad-for-us/ 


Get Britain Standing

http://www.getbritainstanding.org/

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