Recently I had the privilege of attending a presentation and panel discussion at the Humanscale showroom in New York City. Susan S. Szenasy, editor of Metropolis Magazine, moderated the event, Active Everywhere: Harnessing Technology & Design for a Healthier Workspace. She gave an insightful look into the day to day inactivity of a person’s typical work day in an office and its ramifications. A majority of people working today spend eight hours a day sitting at a desk. Bethany Sadler, PhD, and architecture and design researcher, explained that physical activity needs to be engineered back into our lives. America’s sedentary lifestyle not only can lead to obesity, diabetes and heart disease, but can add to skeletal problems and lack of productivity in the work place.
- One solution that is a growing trend is the adjustable desk. A number of furniture manufacturers, such as Humanscale, offer this option. Their new desk, Float, can easily adjust from a sitting to standing position effortlessly without interrupting workflow. Humanscale believes “that balanced movement is the key to wellness at work”.
- Another exciting technology is Humanscale’s OfficeIQ, created by Jake Sigal, founder of Detroit-based tech start-up Tome. It combines the use of integrated sensors and software to monitor workplace activity. He explained that after a certain amount of time while sitting at a desk, there is a ping that lets you know it is time to stand up. With products like Fitbit, which tracks activity and fitness routines, OfficeIQ offers real-time feedback on calories burned and activity levels in a typical day at the office.
Interior Designers today have the responsibility of educating their clients on the benefits of investing in sit/stand desks. It is time for designers and furniture manufacturers to jump on the bandwagon for a more active office lifestyle. “The active workspace is not a fad but a necessity”.