Sitting vs Standing In The Workplace: Which is better? Part 2

Two weeks ago we took a look at sitting at your job and what too much sitting can do to you. If you missed it, you can read about sitting disease here. This week, we’re looking at excessive standing at your job.

Standing at your Job

Knee PainNot everyone is lucky enough to have the option to sit if they want to. Cashiers often struggle with long periods of time on their feet, standing in one spot. Many employers see this as a necessity for their employees, but they don’t provide adequate equipment to mitigate issues that can arise from standing too much. Sitting for a long period of time can be detrimental to your health (and even hurt!), and so can standing, most especially if you’re confined to a small area or need to stand in a single spot.

There’s a reason we switched from standing all the time in the workplace to sitting, as well. Remember that this isn’t the 1800s anymore and getting a chance to sit here and there can help you in your short term personal comfort and long term health.

Long periods of standing may increase your risk of developing:

  • Varicose veins
  • Slouching
  • Joint compression (Excess pressure on hips, knees, and other joints)
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Cardiovascular disorders
  • Back & foot pain

It is said that you should spend no more than 20 minutes sitting and no more than 8 minutes standing.

Mitigating Standing Issues

Unfortunately, workplace regulations in the US don’t acknowledge the detrimental effects of standing for long periods of time at this moment. Aside from getting a new job, if you don’t have the option to sit, there are a few things you can do to try to help reduce stress on your feet, back, and body.

  • Petition your employer to invest in some anti-fatigue mats. These can definitely save your feet a bit of wear and tear, especially on concrete flooring.
  • Invest in some good footwear. If you do a lot of standing, you probably already know the difference between cheap footwear and expensive ones. You want to make sure you purchase shoes with support to your arches that are both comfortable and useable for long periods of standing.
  • Move around more. If you can get moving at all, you’ll find that the strain on your feet and body to be a lot less. People who travel during their work (say, from one end of a store to another) constantly may find they have less soreness at the end of the day.
  • Stretch often. Stretching is beneficial regardless of what you’re doing. Stopping to stretch can help get you moving again as well as help blood flow and to ease muscle tension. Here is a list of some short workplace stretches you can do to help get you through the day.
  • Take a moving break. It’s suggested to take a 2 minute moving break at least twice an hour to keep you active. If you can get up and move about a little, do it! Your body will thank you.