From a starting salary and a company’s mission to colleagues, vacation time, and other perks, there are any number of benefits that attract workers to potential new employers.
But a “movement mindset” — meaning no more sitting all day — could soon be a major goal for employees when it comes to advancing their careers, according to Betsey Banker, a wellness market manager for Ergotron, a technology furniture manufacturer in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The sedentary work environments people have grown accustomed to aren’t doing them any good, said Banker in an article for EBN, the Employee Benefits Network. Not only is sitting at a computer for as long as 12 hours a day stifling the human body — it’s affecting people’s brains.
“It’s time for employers to do something about it,” she said.
She believes more in-person connections, meetings, or “face time,” is critical, especially as millennials and Generation Z take over. These young people simply want a more mobile, personable work experience over what so many of us have now — an isolated, locked-down desk from which we shoot someone an email or instant message across the room instead of getting up to talk one-on-one.
Here’s why it’s important, according to Banker:
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We’ll be more productive. Standing meetings tend to keep people more focused and on task, and the meetings themselves move more quickly.
“For those who sit at a desk day in and day out — which, according to our research, about 68 percent of workers do — it can be a feat to remain focused and productive. More than half of those employees admit to taking two to five breaks a day, and another 25 percent take more than six breaks per day to relieve the discomfort and restlessness caused by prolonged sitting,” she said.
Considering it can take up to 20 minutes to re-focus once interrupted, this could significantly improve worker productivity across the board. “Face time” also builds a better workplace culture and social relationships.
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It’s better for our health. Standing up also increases blood flow and heart rate, burns more calories, and improves insulin effectiveness, she added. And those who use sit-stand workstations report better moods and reduced stress.
“It’s a vicious cycle where work is negatively affecting health, and poor health is negatively impacting engagement and productivity,” said Banker. “Not to mention, the benefits span long- and short-term, with impacts on employee absenteeism and presenteeism, as well as health and health care costs.”
Companies that embrace the movement mindset, she believes, may soon find they have a competitive edge to retain and attract top talent and improve their bottom line. Employees, meanwhile, will be thrilled to have the chance to be active and engaged.