When one imagines workplace injuries, it’s easy to imagine the majority of them taking place in occupations that require intensive physical labor or interaction with harmful chemicals.
And while this is true to an extent — injuries stemming from slips, trips and falls result in 95 million missed days of work annually — the real cause behind many workplace injuries isn’t quite as visible as we think.
In fact, research shows that sitting at a desk for the entirety of the eight-hour workday is taking its toll on our bodies. Sitting all day, especially with poor posture, is closely linked to musculoskeletal strain and injury, which is coincidentally the No. 1 type of workers’ compensation injury in the country.
Few Americans are safe from these injuries. An astonishing 86% of U.S. workers have sedentary office jobs, where they sit for as many as 40 hours a week.
As a result, a growing number of desk workers are making the switch to a standing desk. Much like its name implies, standing desks are set much higher off the ground, requiring one to stand upright in order to reach his or her keyboard.
“Everyone I’ve seen who has one – they’re ranting and raving about them,” said Dr. Frank Lombardozzi of Kempsville Chiropractic in Virginia Beach, VA.
According to the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, scientists now advise office workers to stand for at least two hours a day, eventually working up to four hours of standing per day. Doing so offers far-reaching health benefits, from fewer aches and pains to renewed focus, alertness and productivity.
“Now I’m ready to attack my day and take on any challenge,” John Ure, 33, an attorney and tax consultant for Norfolk firm Wall, Einhorn and Chernitzer, told the Virginian-Pilot. Ure said he stands at his desk for most of the workday. “I don’t get drowsy. I don’t have to waste time refocusing myself.”
Even if one doesn’t have a particular ailment that requires a standing desk, many people are turning to them to burn more calories at work or get a natural boost of energy in lieu of coffee. Sharon Fanto, 48, vice president of Cox Media in Chesapeake, said she stands at work because she doesn’t have time to exercise outside of work.
“It’s something that you don’t know the benefit until you do it,” she said.