With all those miles we’re putting on our bikes, it’s important to think about our bodies when they’re off the bike, too. For many of us, while we may long to be on our bike all day, in reality we’re at a desk, slogging away at a computer. Spending endless hours at the computer is taking its toll on our health, but there are some simple ways to combat the ails of working life.
We sat down with Linda Watts, ergonomic expert and president of the Sorella Forte competitive riding club to find out more. Linda works for Fully, a furniture company based in Portland that believes movement is good.
Why do you think sit-stand desks have become such a trend?
The science is clear and you feel the health benefits right away. Long periods of sitting directly increase our risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers. By encouraging us to move more throughout the day, sit-stand desks lower these risks, keep us out of the chiropractor’s office and boost workplace productivity. This is the easiest entry to workplace wellness, whether you work from home or at a corporate office. And as cyclists, we intuitively understand that we shouldn’t leave our bodies at the door with our bikes!
Why is an ergonomically friendly workstation important for people?
A body and mind in motion tends to stay in motion, surfacing our best ideas and our best work.
Okay, so most of us have heard about sit-stand work stations by now, but what are the other trends in workplace ergonomics we may not be as familiar with?
Active sitting is the other big part of the sit-stand desk equation. Having the right chair for a sit-stand workstation does a body wonders. When we sit, gravity tends to overtake our bodies and the “afternoon slouch” gets the better of us. Having a well-fitted chair helps combat this slouch by protecting our spines, improving our circulation, and reminding us to move again. No more mom telling you to “sit still.” Move, fidget, change body positions. There is no wrong way to be in an ergonomic chair, except for too long!
When standing at your sit/stand desk, an anti-fatigue mat can help alleviate leg and back muscle fatigue. My favorite is the Topo mat by Ergo Driven.
How does an ergonomically friendly workstation dovetail with cycling or an active lifestyle?
What we do from 9-5 is the biggest chunk of our active lifestyle. All of my best ideas occur on my bike from a clear mind, the fresh air in my lungs, and the blood and fluids pumping through my body that encourage my brain synapses to fire. I never want that euphoria to end. Walking from my bike to my Jarvis sit-stand desk, I can avoid the hard shift from all movement to zero movement, and skip all the stiffness, soreness and stress by moving through it.
What are some of the coolest workstation developments happening right now?
At Fully, it’s about embodiment of the mind/body connection. You will naturally become more aware to be more present while you work. And we’ll continue to design products that encourage your body to move in more natural positions.
We test everything we release on our site, so our customers can feel confident that it’s the best product for its function and value. At the same time, we also want to make accessories that we want for ourselves.
We’ve got some cool ones:
- A power grommet to make charging your devices convenient.
- A desk lamp that has temperature and intensity control, and a USB charging plug-in on the base.
- Wire tamers that are stronger and more accessible than any other on the market.
- Monitor arms and laptop trays that help you work in the ideal ergonomic position.
- And of course, our favorite height-adjustable seat for your height-adjustable desk. The chair that started our entire company, the Capisco.
Beyond just the physical awareness, we will soon be releasing a product that helps diffuse noise and offers personal privacy around your workstation. Like many offices these days, we have an open floor plan with hardwood floors and tall ceilings. And at full capacity it can get a bit unruly. So our goal is to allow you to be your best self at work, and we feel these products will provide that much more focus.
What does someone say to the HR department to convince then to make the switch to a more ergonomically friendly workstation set up?
Less sick days, lower health bills, more productive staff, and easiest entry to wellness at work. Companies hip to their employees’ well being attract and keep great people. And people should scope out workspaces before they commit to moving their lives there.
What else should we know?
Fully is a collection of movement junkies from bike builders, sprinters, hikers, yogis, skateboarders, climbers, meditators, tango and hip hop dancers that agree on one simple thing: the human body was meant to move, all day long. Our office is a play-gym of products under development; the stuff we love working at most, we bring to market. We even keep a little diary of our life-at-work adventures (you can read it here)