How to move more at work

The work day starts at 8 AM and once it comes to an end, office employees have spent the day sitting in an upright position – with the exception of few coffee or bathroom breaks and a trip to the cafeteria for lunch.

Most of us recognize this scenario. We actually spend up to 60-70% of our time either sitting or lying down and the lack of physical activity during the day shows as back problems, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Even 30-60 minutes of daily exercise do not cancel out the negative effects of too much sedentary work.

The good news is that trends are moving towards new ways of working and activity-based interior design, where organizations create a more attractive workplace by supporting flexibility and movement throughout the work day.

Join the trend and get a few tips on how to cut down on the time spent doing sedentary work and incorporate more physical activity in the workplace.


Elevate the desk
Most employees have a height adjustable desk, however, they forget to use it properly. The recommendation is to spend at least 15 minutes every hour standing – this increases the metabolism and decreases back pains.

Is it hard to get started? Begin with five minutes every hour to allow your body to adjust to the new working position. Remember to remind each other to elevate your desks, for instance by putting a reminder in your calendar.


Stand up during meetings
The benefits of standing up are also increased by having meetings at a high table or by a storage unit. Apart from benefitting employees’ health, standing up also saves time and allows more creativity than long sedentary meetings.


Walk and talk
If you are not using whiteboards or IT equipment for a meeting, you can implement moving meetings. What about using the hallway in the office building, walking up and down the stairs, or taking a walk outside?

Especially in the afternoon, this approach can have a stimulating and motivating effect when you get fresh air and a change of scenery.

Research from Stanford University has shown that people are up to 60% more creative when they do walk and talks rather than a seated meeting. Further research has demonstrated that people’s mood is bettered with merely 5 minutes of movement.


Incorporate movement into the day
Small changes in habits can also increase movement during the day. Instead of sending an email or calling a co-worker, you should go to the person and talk face-to-face. Or you can leave the coffee pot or water bottle in the kitchen to provide the incentive to get up every time you want a refill.

You can also move printers and other everyday things into another room, so you have to walk a little bit further every time. While waiting for the printout, you can encourage each other to stretch your backs. It may sound like commonplace, but few changes go a long way…


Decorate flexibly
Finally, you can also create an interior design that better supports employees’ flexibility and movement. Rather than have fixed seating, you can include free seating, where employees get their computer from a storage unit and take a seat wherever is most suitable. Danfoss in Hamburg have done this with a successful outcome.

You can also decorate project environments in the middle of the room for new collaboration installations, create quiet zones with soft seating and visual screen enclosure, or touch down areas, where employees can have quick meetings standing up or check their emails.