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Admin Pro Forum

Our chairs are our new enemy—so how do you stay moving at work?

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Question: "Every time I turn around, I read how terrible sitting for long periods is for our health. How are admins coping with this? My job gets me up and around sometimes, but surely not often enough to counteract the evils of my chair!" - Nika, Auto Leasing

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

J Marie February 5, 2018 at 7:04 am

I’m convinced that our new chairs are the reason for my back pains. I’m a Health Unit Coordinator, and I work at a hospital so, I sit at a nursing station, and everyone just grabs a chair. The chair I sit in can be too high or too low, leans too far back or too far forward. It’s ridiculous. And with this flu season being the way that it is, I’m sitting way more because we are so busy.

But when it’s not busy, I’m always moving. I take walks to the cafeteria which is literally on the other side of the hospital in the basement. I also run errands for the nurses and go chitchat with my coworkers by speaking to them in person instead of on the telephone.

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Kathy Juliussen January 26, 2018 at 12:31 pm

We also have standing workstations, and I try to stand as much as possible.

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Sonya H. January 15, 2018 at 9:09 am

Our company provides Ergotron Workfit Sit-Stand workstations
I make it point to stand the first part of the day, then sit the remaining.
This process helps me and I hope you purchase one to assist with your needs as well.

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Carol January 12, 2018 at 12:23 pm

My position is shared between two offices, which means two separate…and different…workstations so my day is about making sure to move. One station is a full size, L-shaped desk where I do a lot of computer work with occasional opportunities to take care of sales at the counter. I have a reminder set in Outlook that comes up every 1 hour to remind me to get up and MOVE.
The other desk is a beautiful custom built wood, U-shaped station…designed when computers came with deep monitors and towers that were kept under the desk. Customized cubbies and shelves keep everything at my fingertips but limit what can be done to modify the station without doing a complete rebuild. The sit/stand desks would make it difficult to reach the shelving above the computer area. So I make a point of getting up from my desk regularly when I take phone calls and work with walk-in business. And instead of twisting and reaching for everything, I get out of my chair to retrieve information binders, files, etc. When my employer centralized the printers, I volunteered to give mine up since I could send my print jobs to the mailroom next to this station, giving me another opportunity to get up and move a few yards to retrieve them when I have to produce a hardcopy.
And I make sure incorporate a good brisk walk or two into my day to gently work muscles and joints if I can’t get away from either desk as much as I want to.

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Jeff Coleman January 12, 2018 at 8:52 am

The sit/stand desk is the way to go. I can swivel it out of the way when I need all my desk space to work. More importantly, my legs and feet are much happier.

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Dawn January 12, 2018 at 8:16 am

I will make it a point to get up at least once an hour if not more to do things such as file, make copies, go to the restroom or anything to get me moving even a little. Instead of holding all these little things for once a day it gets me up and down more often which gets me more steps as well. I may even go talk to someone face-to-face instead of sending the email if I’ve not been very active that day.

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Lesa Redfield January 11, 2018 at 6:52 pm

I just had a Sit/Stand desk installed – love it! it is not like Veridesk my whole work surface goes up and down so I keep all the work area on my desk. Now my legs and feet wont be swollen when I go home. The desk is from Workrite Ergonomics.

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Kay Klosowski January 11, 2018 at 4:33 pm

Our office has been great about making the sit/stand workstations available to those who want them. We have been using the Ergotron Workfit-T and love them! I have found that after getting up and around in the morning, it’s much easier to just start the day standing rather than come in and sit down right away. I typically stand between 1/2 and 2/3 of most days, using an anti-fatigue mat under my feet. It doesn’t work for everyone, but out of the 29 I have ordered for our staff, only one person has asked to get rid of it!

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Adele January 11, 2018 at 4:24 pm

My office used to be very strict about assigning sit-stand stations, requiring an ergonomic assessment booked through HR to recommend that option. Fortunately they have relaxed somewhat and for certain roles they will provide a sit-stand without the assessment. I love the option to stand and work because I find I feel more productive but I have to be careful not to stand all day either. Before I had the sit-stand I used to take the long way to the printer, do a couple of rounds of the floor, or walk to see someone instead of emailing or phoning. I even went so far as to post a sticky note on my monitor that said “WALK” as a prompt.

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sheila January 11, 2018 at 4:19 pm

I have a fitness tracker that buzzes every hour and tells me to MOVE! I use the opportunity to fill up my water bottle and go to the washroom. Plus I stay out of the elevator and walk at lunch to help counteract the sitting.

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Eileen Delaney January 11, 2018 at 4:15 pm

I set a daily recurring Outlook calendar invite for an hour after I start each day that simply says “Get Up!”. It goes off, then I snooze hourly until the end of my day. This is the only way I’ve found to get up regulary, and I move around for a minimum of 4 minutes, which I’ve heard is the minimum necessary.

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Brenda Norton January 11, 2018 at 4:09 pm

I make myself get up at least once an hour and move up and down a hallway. Sometimes I walk in place when making copies, calls, etc. I have a boss who understands that moving is good for the body and a Fitbit that reminds me to move. I also go for a long walk almost every night with my dog which helps release some of the tension in my body and mind.

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AAinDMV January 11, 2018 at 4:07 pm

I always need a beverage at my desk, so I’m often going to the water fountain, which then makes me go to the restroom several times a day! When I feel I’ve been sitting for too long, I take a walk around the building. Sometimes, I’ll visit a co-worker on the other side of the building to engage in a brief chat. On days that I really need to get away from the desk & chair, I will walk take my lunch break at one of the restaurants across the street. These small things will get me out of my chair. If your chair is truly evil, i.e. not ergonomic and causing pain, check to see if a more supportive chair is available. If you’re not able to get out of the chair, at least being in a better one will help.

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Michelle January 11, 2018 at 4:07 pm

If I need to speak to someone in the building I try and walk to see them rather than pick up the phone or IM.

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Lisa Roberts January 11, 2018 at 4:07 pm

Most of our team partners now have stand/sit stations so they have the option of getting up when they want to and standing for periods of time and we encourage this. Some people do not want them so we do not make it mandatory, but if requested, we purchase them one. We do not have the Veridesk models as those were pricier than some other options that are just as viable and took up less desk space as well. We have 2 different variations depending on a cubicle desk system or a management office. They are easy to install as well.

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Kimberly Erickson January 11, 2018 at 4:05 pm

I have the same problem, not enough “excuses” to get up and move around. One thing I have tried to do more of is to just stand up and stretch. I’ve added a few squats and side lunges to my time up out of the chair. My goal is to do this at least once per hour even if it’s just for a couple of minutes. It gets my blood flowing again and I feel better after just that little bit of movement.

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Diana Hall January 11, 2018 at 4:04 pm

We use “Veridesks” – these raise and lower. I have a tall chair and a short chair, causing me to never sit in the same place very long. BUT what I do most often is come up to my desk, stand at the computer for emails and short spurts and run off to do the next thing. I sit IF I am working on a project, writing a full memo, etc. Being particularly lazy I thought I would hate this idea, but find it much easier than sitting down and jumping up again.

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AAinDMV January 11, 2018 at 4:11 pm

I looked into a Veridesk for my workspace as I also find it easier to just stop & go than sit & jump up again. Unfortunately, the keyboard and mouse combination I have – the ergo keyboard and trackball mouse – are too large together and won’t fit on the Veridesk tray.

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Debbi Williams January 25, 2018 at 6:55 pm

You should look around to different brands than the Varidesk. There are a lot of options out there that include larger trays, smaller trays, various “desk” size, etc. I bought several for our office with each one being different dimension for each individual taste and all were $200 or under. I don’t know how I lived without it

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Jennifer Childers January 11, 2018 at 4:03 pm

I put a standing desk converter on my desk. I alternate sitting and standing each hour or stand half the day and sit half the day. Of course, I use a padded mat while I’m standing.

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