Think HBR

Stand up for your health!

Mark Williams
Ethos Health
You are probably sitting down as you read this?
Being seated for long periods is emerging as one of the unhealthiest behaviours of our modern lifestyles. With the population working more hours than ever before, and with the vast majority engaged in sedentary work (e.g. use of computers and operating vehicles) sitting is now embedded in the way that we live and work.
In a recently study, ‘Stand Up Australia Study’ reported that sedentary workers spent 77% of their working day seated. Combine this with sedentary leisure activities such as watching TV, playing games, and social media, the population is spending a high proportion of their waking time seated. Consequently, our workforce is becoming fatter, sicker, less productive, and robbing workers of valuable years from their life.
‘People with sitting jobs have twice the rate of cardiovascular disease as people with standing jobs.’
The most concerning of all is that sitting has now been shown to be an independent risk factor for premature death.
That means that it doesn’t matter if you: are routinely active; go to the gym after work; don’t smoke; or eat your fruit and veg. If you routinely sit for long periods every day, you are still at risk of reducing your life expectancy.
This new evidence suggests that workplaces can significantly impact in re-shaping population health trends through office design, policy, and communication that promotes a change in the way that people behave at work to reduce their hours spent sitting. Paul O’Connor, Comcare CEO, recently commented that PCBU’s, and Senior Executives have “A very important role modelling the culture and behaviour that their business’ desire”. “Senior Executives who model a standing-friendly culture create a sense of permission” that working while standing is supported.
A few simple strategies that you may look to promote:
• Setting an alarm to make sure you get up at least once every hour
• Holding standing meetings, they tend to be shorter
• Getting out for a walk during your scheduled breaks
• Sending documents to a printer that is further away
• Standing during scheduled or informal breaks
• Or…simply explore ways that you can do your working in standing, such as a standing desk!
My challenge to all readers: ‘Stand Up for your Health’ and that or your workforce, and enjoys the returns.
For further information contact Ethos Health on (02) 4962 8700, email or visit
Mark Williams Mark Williams
is a founding partner and Senior Manager at Ethos Health. He has 20 years’ experience as a Physiotherapist, and more than 15 years’ experience consulting to workplaces regarding health & wellness. As a passionate advocate for the health & wellness benefits of working while standing Mark and his team are committed to helping business create a standing at work culture in the most cost effective & sustainable ways.