Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Chris Bowlby reports at BBC that medical research has been building up for a while now, suggesting constant sitting is harming our health — potentially causing cardiovascular problems or vulnerability to diabetes. Advocates of sit-stand desks say more standing would benefit not only health, but also workers' energy and creativity. Some big organizations and companies are beginning to look seriously at reducing “prolonged sitting” among office workers. "It's becoming more well known that long periods of sedentary behavior has an adverse effect on health," says GE engineer Jonathan McGregor, "so we're looking at bringing in standing desks." The whole concept of sitting as the norm in workplaces is a recent innovation, points out Jeremy Myerson, professor of design at the Royal College of Art. "If you look at the late 19th Century," he says, Victorian clerks could stand at their desks and "moved around a lot more". "It's possible to look back at the industrial office of the past 100 years or so as some kind of weird aberration in a 1,000-year continuum of work where we've always moved around." What changed things in the 20th Century was "Taylorism" — time and motion studies applied to office work. "It's much easier to supervise and control people when they're sitting down," says Myerson. What might finally change things is if the evidence becomes overwhelming, the health costs rise, and stopping employees from sitting too much becomes part of an employer's legal duty of care "If what we are creating are environments where people are not going to be terribly healthy and are suffering from diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes," says Prof Alexi Marmot, a specialist on workplace design, "it's highly unlikely the organization benefits in any way."
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