How to Get Vitamin D in the Office

Working long hours indoors can sometimes lead to a situation where workers get little to no exposure to direct sunlight. While avoiding sunburn is great, not getting enough vitamin D can cause real problems.

Around one in five Australian workers are too busy to go outside during the day and get some sunshine, and around one in three eat lunch at their desk. This can lead to a vitamin D deficiency and it may be compromising workers’ bones, muscles, and general health.

vitamin d at workplace

No Sun Is No Fun

Adults who don’t get enough vitamin D are at risk of osteomalacia, a weakness of bones that’s accompanied by pain in the bones and muscles. Vitamin D also plays an important role in protecting us against tuberculosis, HIV, and flu. In fact, vitamin D is essential for the healthy development and functioning of the immune system, so too little of it is very bad news for your health generally.

Tips for a Sunnier Work Life

So, if you find yourself working in an office most days of your life here are ten great tips to help you get enough sun.

  1. Outdoor Meetings

Rather than always having indoor meetings, host one outdoors. A change of scenery may also help boost productivity and creative thinking.

  1. Set up a Workstation in the Sun

Ask your manager if you can take your laptop to an outdoor table and work outside every once in awhile.

  1. Take Long Work Calls Outdoors

If you have a long work call, consider taking it on a bench in the sun.

  1. Eating Alfresco

Rather than eating your lunch at your desk, take a break and eat outdoors. In addition to obtaining greater sun exposure, it gives you a chance to de-stress and maximise your productivity in the afternoon.

  1. Take a Walk

Organise regular lunchtime or afternoon walks with colleagues. It’ll help you to clear your head, regain focus and gain a healthy dose of sunshine. Roll up your sleeves to expose your skin for greater benefits.

  1. 6: Participate in Charity Runs

If your commitments at work mean that you’re not able to free up time for an outside break through the week, consider participating in company-led charity runs or other challenges on the weekend. It will help you to get to know your colleagues and importantly, obtain some weekend sunshine.

  1. Exercise Outdoors before Work

Wake up earlier and go for a brisk morning walk, jog or cycle before work. You’ll be increasing your vitamin D levels whilst starting the day in a healthy and positive way.

  1. Sports-Based Team Building Sessions

Organise a cricket, football, or tennis match with co-workers to promote team building and get a boost of sunshine and vitamin D.

  1. Organise a staff BBQ

A regular lunch time BBQ or sausage sizzle can encourage everyone to step outside and away from their computer screens.

  1. Squeeze in Walking Time

If you park your car further away from the office or walk to and from the train or bus station, you may get some incidental sun exposure and extra exercise. Or if you’re able, try cycling to work.

A happy workplace is a healthy workplace. For more ergonomic workplace solutions, check out our range.

Why Your Workers Need a Standing Desk

Revitalise Your Workplace with Standing Desks

Around 75% of the average Australian’s workday is spent sitting down, usually in lengthy bouts – it’s not unusual for office workers to sit for almost an entire 8-hour shift!

In the last decade, researchers have concluded that, aside from being rather boring, this way of working is a serious health risk. According to a recent paper published in the Medical Journal of Australia, the risks of prolonged sitting are so bad that workspaces without standing desk options may be deemed unsafe in the near future. Your workers’ health and wellbeing are the most essential reasons your office should include standing desks, but there are many others – ranging from boosting productivity to striking a blow for gender equality.

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Bad Health by Stealth

When someone eats four Big Macs or smokes two packs of cigarettes a day, it’s obviously unhealthy. But sitting down seems so harmless, especially if the sitter exercises daily. But the fact is, a little exercise isn’t enough.

Many scientific studies have shown that the risk of heart disease rises with time spent sitting. People who sit for most of the day are around 54% more likely to die of a heart attack. A study of more than 700,000 people found that prolonged sitting also increases risk for diabetes. Cancer risk also goes up, as well as the potential for back, neck, and leg problems.

Sitting too much can also kill your flexibility. When you’re sitting, the electrical activity in your legs more or less shuts down. Over time, this tightens the hamstrings and hips, limiting your range of motion and flexibility. Not only does this affect lifestyle – compounding health problems by making an active life more difficult – it also increases your chance of injury.

Adjustable platform desks and improved work routines – sitting, standing, and active breaks – will alleviate these problems.

Less Sick Days and Medical Claims

Helping your employees develop healthier working habits will directly aid your business too. You’ll end up with less paid sick days and less chance of a medical claim landing at your feet. Studies have shown that such claims drop when offices adopt ergonomic office solutions.

More Alert and More Productive

Alternating between sitting and standing while at work doesn’t just improve workers’ health, it also boosts productivity. This has been recognised by some fairly successful businesses. Google offers employees the option of standing desks while Facebook has more than 250 employees using standing desks.

Facebook recruiter Greg Hoy told the Wall Street Journal “I don’t get the 3 o’clock slump anymore, I feel active all day long.”

Many venture capital firms have also adopted standing desks as they’ve found they lead to more ideas and more active sharing and collaboration. There’s a reason for all this – when you sit for long periods, your metabolism slows. One of the effects of this is that less fresh blood and oxygen get to your brain. So, that brain-dead feeling you get at three o’clock every day is your brain going partially offline because it isn’t getting enough of what it needs to function at full capacity. Keeping more active at work also helps prevent post-lunch digestion naps by boosting metabolic activity.

Standing up for Women’s Rights

The design of most fixed height furniture to suit the average male is one of the subtle ways women are disadvantaged in the workplace. Women are, on average, 5 inches shorter than men and this leaves many with desks that don’t suit them well. The best solution to this is introducing adjustable standing desks – half your workforce shouldn’t be uncomfortable at their desks!

Attract and Retain the Best Staff!

The best employees are intelligent, resourceful, and forward-thinking. It’s not surprising that many informed employees have started creating their own standing desk ‘hacks’ since reports about the dangers of sitting began to emerge.

We serve companies throughout Australia for standup desks and many more work related products. For more information about standing desks, talk to Elevar today.

Keeping Your Monitor at Arm’s Length

Monitor arms are an ergonomic office solution that allows you to take control of your computer monitor and move it off the desktop to the correct height all times, rather than being tied down by a static monitor stand.

As the health risks of traditional office work become more widely understood, are being used in more and more workspaces. They integrate beautifully with other ergonomic products like standing desks and they also allow workers to free up more desk space.

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Health Benefits of Monitor Arms

The main goal of all ergonomic solutions is to improve the health of our workforce. With employees working longer hours on average, ergonomic office solutions are more important than ever. Improved staff health and comfort also leads to happier employees and that leads to more productivity. The three main health benefits of dynamic monitor holders are:

Freedom of Movement

Monitor arms give the user freedom; freedom to ensure their monitor can be placed and positioned exactly where they require it. Essentially, they can customise their workspace to ensure they are as comfortable as possible.

Reducing Neck, Back, and Eye Strain

The most common complaints from office workers are neck, back and eye pain, all of which are improved by an ergonomic monitor arm. For best results, a computer monitor should be 38-65 cm from the user’s eyes and the top of the screen should be roughly at eye level. An adjustable monitor arm means this ideal setup can be maintained in any position, whether standing or sitting.

Enhancing Other Ergonomic Equipment

There is only so much that a stand-up desk, ergonomic chair, and posture training can achieve if your employees are still stuck straining their neck, back, and eyes trying to work with an outdated, static monitor holder. A good quality monitor arm is icing on the ergonomic cake.

Productivity Benefits of Monitor Arms

As well as improved staff health and all the related benefits it brings, articulated monitor arms also contribute to productivity in more direct ways:

  • Freeing up space – by having your monitor supported on an arm over your desk, you’ll instantly de-clutter.
  • Multitasking – flexible monitor arms make multitasking much easier. With a dynamic monitor holder, employees can do their computer-based work, push the monitor back for the paperwork, then move it to the side for a meeting – it’s easy, efficient, and can all be done from the one workspace.
  • Easier hot desking – for offices with shared spaces for hot-desking or collaborating, articulated monitor arms improve things greatly. When moving to a new desk, staff can get the monitor where they need it almost instantly. Sharing information across a desk is much easier when the monitor can simply be swivelled around.

Upgrade Your Monitor Arms Today

We serve businesses throughout Australia for monitor arms. Elevar has a great range of articulated monitor arms to suit any budget, get in touch today to find out more.

Choosing the Right Adjustable Desk for Your Office

Your 7-Point Checklist for Choosing a Standing Desk

The dangers of sitting all day have been well established. Everyone knows that sitting at a computer can cause bad posture and back problems, but it’s far worse than that. According to cardiologist Dr Martha Grogan, people who sit 6 or more hours a day are about as likely to have a heart attack as heavy smokers. With sitting having such a dramatic effect on your body, easy to see why standing desks are becoming more and more popular.

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Choosing the Right Sit-

  • Adjustable desk?
  • What are economical options for rolling out sit-stand options at the office?
  • How can I ensure return on investment when I invest in stand-up desks?

Who Needs a Standing Desk?

If everyone in your office is tied to a desk all day, then you’ll need to outfit the entire staff with standing desks. But that’s often not the case. Staff members whose jobs involve a lot of time on their mobile phones can be up and about a lot anyway. Likewise, in an open plan office, you could create shared sit-stand workspaces that people can use as needed. Whatever the case, it’s important to consider the needs of your office and your budget before proceeding.

Once you’ve established that, here are 7 important points to consider:

  1. What’s the Height Range?

It will depend on the height and needs of the individual using the desk. If people are sharing the sit-stand desk then it’s best to find a desk with a large range, such as the Elevar E-Series three motor, three leg desk.

  1. Is the Desk Deep Enough?

The depth and shape of the desk surface are very important. It needs to be able to easily fit everything your employees will need to work. Generally 75cm is the recommended depth but more or less may be needed depending on the ‘footprint’ of the equipment, papers, and so on that needs to fit on each desk.

  1. Is the Desk Noisy?

When sit-stand desks are noisy they are often not utilised for fear of disturbing colleagues. That’s why it’s worth investing in a very quiet desk, especially for motorised models.

  1. Is Adjusting the Desk Easy?

There are numerous ways to raise and lower desks, from buttons that need to be pushed simultaneously, simple up and down buttons, and pre-programmed controllers with height displayed on an LCD screen, the latter being the easiest to use, from buttons that need to be pushed simultaneously, simple up and down buttons and pre-programmed controllers with height displayed on an LCD screen, the latter being the easiest to use, the latter two being the quietest, most efficient and easiest to use.

  1. Is it quick?

If a standing desk takes a long time to raise or lower, this will give workers a strong incentive not to use it – and why would you invest in something that won’t get used? Make sure you choose quick models for your office by choosing from our range of fast, simple-to-use adjustable desks.

  1. Can It Handle the Weight?

Every desk has its own weight restrictions, so make sure whichever desk you choose can handle your equipment. Elevar’s desks can support anywhere from 70kg to 150kg, so even the most lightweight will meet most needs.

  1. Can You Program the Desk?

Some desks are easily programmed to different settings, making them easier to use and customise for each employee’s needs. At Elevar, we stock a range of desks with programmable controller App for the businesses in Australia.

4 Myths about Standing Desks Busted!

As scientific understanding of the human body has continued to grow, many surprising facts have been unearthed. One fact, in particular, has been shaking up the world of office work and that is the health consequences of long periods of sitting.

Of course, no one thought sitting for 8 hours a day was getting office workers ready for the Olympics but most people wouldn’t have anticipated that sitting would be dubbed ‘the new smoking’! Surprising or not, the fact that remains that extended bouts of desk-bound labour significantly increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, various forms of cancer, and many other health issues.

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A Simple Solution

Standing desks have come onto the market to solve this problem but their widespread adoption has been held back by some persistent myths. We’ll guide you through the smoke and mirrors to put your mind at ease about investing in this life and productivity enhancing technology.

Myth 1: Standing Desks Encourage Standing All Day

Standing all day actually isn’t the rationale behind stand up desks. In fact, extended periods of standing can cause problems for the lower back, legs, and feet. The healthy way to use a standing desk is to alternate sitting, standing, stretching, and breaks. According to Dr James Irvine, a healthy work day should cycle through 20 minutes of sitting, followed by eight minutes of standing, then two minutes of stretching and moving – ideally with short breaks every 30-60 minutes.

Myth 2: All That Standing Will Increase Employee Fatigue

Sometimes our intuitions simply don’t match with biological reality – because sitting is easier than standing, it seems like standing will be more tiring and sap workers’ energy. But standing intermittently – especially combined with active breaks and stretching – will actually increase energy, concentration, and productivity. Think about it – what makes you feel more energised, sitting in front of the TV for hours or going for a brisk walk?

Myth 3: Standing Desks Are Too Expensive

It’s true that standing and adjustable desks cost more than standard desks. But does that mean they are too expensive? Definitely not! For one thing, they are a superior product. Better products always cost more because you are paying for quality and additional features. Here are three more reasons why the cost of stand up desks shouldn’t turn you off:

  • The health and wellbeing of employees is important and better health will also reduce sick days and increase productivity
  • A more productive workforce will, in turn, boost your business long-term and help you balance your initial investment
  • Out models are capable of being used as a site to stand in most situations.

Myth 4: Standing Won’t Help Me Get More Movement

It’s true that simply standing still is not all that much better than sitting, but standing naturally encourages movement. Some things will come naturally, like shifting your weight or swaying to the music in your headphones. Standing will also make it easier to incorporate movement into your day. Sitting slumped in a chair and getting up and going for a brief work can feel like more of an effort. But if you’ve been shifting between sitting, standing, and stretching all day, it will seem much easier.

Invest in Your Team’s Health Today

Elevar provides a fantastic range of adjustable stand-up desks for the businesses throughout Australia including Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Cairns, Adelaide etc. Get in touch today and join the standing revolution.

Elevar impresses International Suppliers

We were lucky enough to have a visit from our partners overseas who help up manufacture the quality desks that Elevar bring to Australia.

Elevar Group Shot

Left to right: Murray Davidson, Frank Merrild, Tara Flynn, Tang Wei Liang

The conversations held were a real eye opener as to what was being done for the well being of staff and workers in Europe, Asia, and the US. There’s no doubt about the health benefits of standing in the workplace and it won’t be long before a desk system like Elevar will become standard fare for the workplace, which is already being seen in countries in Europe.

Even in Australia we are seeing an increase in requirement of sit to stand workpoints increase from 5-10% saturation to 25-50% in the last 12 months. Employers are recognizing the increase in productivity as well as the kudos they attain by caring for their staff.

Elevar Desks. Raising the Standard because you deserve it.

 

Elevar Desks get the AFRDI Blue Tick

After rigorous and meticulous testing, our range of Elevar Linear Actuator desks has attained AFRDI certification for strength and durability.

WHO ARE AFRDI?

The Australasian Furnishing Research and Development Institute Ltd (trading as Furntech) started in 1994 and is an independent not-for-profit technical organisation providing standards, testing, product certification and research for buyers and sellers of furniture.

Internationally recognized and working closely with state and federal government, office for fair trade, and the ACCC, the AFRDI purpose of testing and certification is to ensure that products are not only safe, but that they will last, thus contributing to sustainability, and minimising use of the earth’s resources.

By purchasing furniture items tested by AFRDI you can be sure that: furntech-afrdi-logo

  • Products are fit-for-purpose;
  • You have bought a quality product; and
  • You are contributing towards meeting duty of care requirements by specifying certified product (after testing, manufacturers guarantee to maintain original quality for typically 3 years).

Our range of Elevar Linear Actuator Desks in straight, 90° and 120° frames are all now certified with the AFRDI Blue Tick, giving our valued users the piece of mind that they have purchased a quality product that will last.

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The Original “Sitting is the New Smoking” Article.

On my first day in the world of adjustable spaces I was told “Sitting is the New Smoking”. I was aghast! I’d been sitting since I was a baby! Why didn’t my mother warn me! 

There is no denying that standing is good for you but where did this extreme statement come from? See below for the article that started it all from the Technology, Education, and Design Conference in Long Beach, California 2013. We know now that a balance between sitting and standing is the best way to go and I’ll be presenting different opinions in future blogs. 

For now though, keep reading to see from where Sitting = Smoking originated.

 

LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA – At the TED conference Tuesday (2013), after Michigan’s governor lamented mass layoffs and before Bono praised poverty eradication progress, business writer Nilofer Merchant raised her own crucial issue: the quiet crisis of sore butts.

We’re sitting around too much at the office and particularly in meetings, says Merchant, a corporate director and former Autodesk executive. In classic TED fashion, Merchant found time in her short talk for a generous helping of statistics: People spend 9.3 hours per day on their derrieres, eclipsing even the 7.7 hours they spend sleeping. Their sedentary lifestyles contribute 10 percent of the risk of breast and colon cancer, 6 percent of the risk of heart disease, and 7 percent of the risk of type 2 diabetes.

The (ahem) bottom line is that sitting is a (usually) silent killer.

Beware of Chair

“Sitting is so incredibly prevalent that we don’t even question how much we’re doing it ,” Merchant told the TED audience. “And because everyone else is doing it, it doesn’t even occur to us that it’s not OK.”

“In that way, sitting has become the smoking of our generation.”

 

When it comes to finding a solution, Merchant isn’t farting around. She swears by the practice of holding “walk and talk” meetings and has been methodically switching her own business discussions out of fluorescent-lit conference rooms and cafés and into long walks, an idea that came to her when a colleague asked her to talk business while the colleague walked a dog. Merchant clocks 20-30 miles of walks per week and has held hundreds of strolling meetings.

“This changed my life,” she said in her talk. “You’ll be surprised at how fresh air drives fresh thinking.”

It’s no wonder Merchant’s talk went over as well as it did; she’s tapped into a hot topic in technology workplaces and other American offices. Responding to medical concerns about sitting, office equipment makers have created a dazzling variety of standing desks, which have in turn been embraced with particular enthusiasm by hackers and DIY builders.

The old idea of the “walk and talk” meeting, meanwhile, has gained new currency amid recent reports that Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is fond of the practice, as was Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Twitter co-creator Jack Dorsey.

Of course, if the walk-and-talk meeting and standing desk are the carrots of butt liberation, guilt-inducing admonitions like Merchant’s are the stick. And if she can sell her message to an auditorium full of people who paid several thousand dollars each to sit on their tushes morning to night taking in speeches for an entire week, then she can probably convince anyone.

Sitting Smoking facts

The Health Benefits of Standing Versus Sitting.

There’s not doubt that there are health benefits in standing at your desk. But is there such a thing as overdoing it? Read on…

 

It seems the world is finally coming to terms with the fact that humans evolved to stand, not to sit — well, health researchers, savvy office workers and many commuters, at least.

The evidence is mounting to show that spending too much sitting at work, during your commute and for leisure increases your risk of diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease and early death.

This isn’t a new revelation. Bernardino Ramazzini first described the ill effects of too much sitting at work in the 1700s and advised people to break up sitting and stimulate blood flow.

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Bernardino Ramazzini. The original Workplace Health and Safety Officer

But technological advances and ergonomic experts have made sitting more comfortable and more enticing. Australian adults now sit for an average of nearly nine hours a day. This is longer than the time that most people spend sleeping.

So, is it time to buy a standing desk? Let’s examine the evidence.

Many people know when they’ve been sitting too long because their back or neck gets sore. These are effects many can relate to because we can actually feel them.

But it’s what you can’t feel or see that you may need to be concerned about. Canadian researcher Dr Peter Katzmarzyk, for instance, found that those who sat almost all of the time had nearly a one-third higher risk of early death than those who stood almost all of the time.

University College London researcher Dr Emmanuel Stamatakis found similar results among women in the United Kingdom: those whose work involved mostly standing/walking about had a 32% lower risk of early death than those who worked in sitting jobs.

For the average adult, standing burns more calories and involves more muscular contraction than sitting.One study reported 2.5 times higher average muscular activity of the thigh when standing compared to sitting. This is important for improving blood sugar profiles and vascular health, reducing the risk of early death.

But it’s important to note prolonged standing can also have adverse health effects. Compared to sitting, when we stand, our hearts and circulatory systems work harder to maintain blood flow to the brain, because they are countering the effects of gravity. Standing still for long periods of time can lead to swelling, heaviness or cramping of the legs.

Enforced standing has actually been used as an interrogation technique (though former US secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld couldn’t understand why it was only for four hours — he stood for eight to ten hours a day).

If standing still for too long is potentially risky, what should you do?

To obtain the health benefits of standing and reduce the potential adverse effects, the best option is to alternate between sitting and standing. Our message is to stand up, sit less and move more.

Alternating between sitting and standing will increase muscular contractions, stimulating blood flow and resulting in more calories burnt and healthier blood sugar levels. Recent findings from our lab show that alternating between 30 minutes of sitting and standing can improve blood sugar levels after a meal.

Now, if you’re leaning towards getting a standing desk but are concerned about your concentration and productivity, there’s some good news. Research shows task performance such as typing, reading and performing cognitive tests is largely unaffected by standing desks.

jefferson churchill woolf hemingway

 

Thomas Jefferson, Winston Churchill, Virginia Woolf, and Ernest Hemingway fought off the urge to sit with the aid of standing desks. It might be time for you to do the same, and alternate between sitting and standing.

Bethany Howard is a PhD Candidate and Research Assistant, Physical Activity Laboratory at Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute. Neville Owen is Program Head: Behavioural and Generational Change; Head, Behavioural Epidemiology Laboratory at Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute.