Drake Bennett had a revealing article in Bloomberg Businessweek about your enemy, the chair (“Kill Your Desk Chair” 7/2/12–7/8/12, pp. 63–65).  Recent studies have strongly enhanced what we have known or at least strongly suspected: If you sit in a chair all day, then you are more likely to live a disease-filled, shortened life.

But the flip side isn’t a panacea.  Standing all day has its own challenges.  Ideally, you want to aim for a balance.  Bennett explains:

“The watchword among ergonomists these days is ‘postural rotation’: sit a little, stand a little, then repeat.” (p. 65)

For the concerned office worker with the support of a progressive employer, many solutions abound.  You can take regular exercise breaks or stretch breaks.  You can also use any combination of ergonomically optimized chairs, desks with treadmills, or adjustable standing/sitting workstations.

Granted, some of these solutions are expensive, but not nearly as expensive as the alternatives.  Big money begins to accrue once you start dealing with worker’s compensation claims, employees’ lost time, back surgeries, and legal fees.  In some cases, a $1,500 chair might save you a $60,000 surgery.  Once again, it’s the old ounce-of-prevention approach.

I suppose this is one of those cases where keeping your friends close and your enemies closer definitely applies.  But you’ve got to do more than just keep it close!

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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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