Sitting down after accomplishing an energy-consuming task is considered to be the most energy-efficient activity. This is what previous studies have suggested. People tend to sit down when they are physically or mentally consumed, especially at work. However, a recent study suggests quite opposite to these previously known facts.
An experiment was conducted in a workspace, where workers’ behaviors were observed in a 9-5 job. It was seen that during the day, half of the workforce tended to be seated for longer durations of time. On average, workers stayed seated for 7 minutes before standing up and taking a short break of two minutes. However, as the evening approached, workers tended to stand up more often.
This puts a huge question mark on the previously conducted studies which suggest that people tend to sit down when they are fatigued. People are more mentally and physically exhausted during the end of their day, and yet it was observed that they found comfort in taking short breaks and standing up.
However, this was what the study suggested based on what they saw. No mental or physical fatigues were taken into account during the observations. It is a possibility that people are more consumed in their work and focusing on getting the tasks done when they begin with their day hence, they spend more time sitting down.
Whatever the underlying reasons are regarding workers spending more time sitting or standing towards the end of their day, sitting for prolonged durations of time has a negative effect on health. It could even increase the fatality rate amongst people. Considering these health factors, people still spend more time sitting down during work hours, partially because of peer pressure. Some believe that they might be thought of as unproductive if they stood up during working hours for a break.
With the recent work from home orders in several countries, its seen that the working hours have been prolonged. People are known to be spending more time sitting down in front of their screens as there are fewer distractions. This could not bring good news for their health.
People need to rearrange their work from home set up, motivating them to stand up more often. This could be done by removing necessary things away from an arm’s reach so that every time they need something important, they will have to stand up.
The study, “Temporal dynamics of sitting behavior at work”, was authored by Pam ten Broeke, Merlijn Olthof, Debby G. J. Beckers, Nicola D. Hopkins, Lee E. F. Graves, Sophie E. Carter, Madeleine Cochrane, David Gavin, Abigail S. Morris, Anna Lichtwarck-Aschoff, Sabine A. E. Geurts, Dick H. J. Thijssen, and Erik Bijleveld