This Facebook comment prompted today’s post:
“3 of us at work used empty paper boxes to raise our keyboards and have been standing for about 6 months now. At first it was a bit tough, but now I can’t imagine sitting all day! HR told me I was responsible for any injuries I sustained (to myself or my computer I guess!), since I was not using one of the ergonomically correct office chairs.”
Dear Department of Human Resources,
It has come to my attention that I am to sign an injury waiver, for any injury sustained while opting to use my standing workstation instead of the ergonomic chair and desk set-up you have provided. This will not be a problem. And, to further inform you, please note I will be taking additional measures to mitigate any standing-related issues by:
1. Using a 1/2 dome* to stretch lower legs through the day for improved lower leg circulation.
2. Continuously shift my frame, utilizing various, slightly different standing alignments to keep muscles actively supporting the venous return system.
3. Sitting when my transitioning muscles fatigue.
4. Taking 1-2 minute movement breaks (i.e. walking short distances through the office) in lieu of using intercoms, every hour.
5. Paying attention to my foot, pelvis, and head alignment as well as keeping my shoulders and jaw relaxed.
Also, I am attaching some language below. Please review and sign before returning to my in-box, now almost empty due to the fact that I seem to just get more done now that my body is active the bulk of the day.
This Department of Human Resources signs off that it has read the following peer-reviewed articles on the affects of sitting:
Katzmarzyk et al. Sitting Time and Mortality from All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2009. Volume 41, 5, pp 998-1005
Leisure Time Spent Sitting in Relation to Total Mortality in a Prospective Cohort of US Adults. J. Epidemiol. (2010) 172 (4): 419-429
Dosemeci, Hayes, Vetter, Hoover, Tucker, Engin, Unsal and Blair. Occupational physical activity, socioeconomic status, and risks of 15 cancer sites in Turkey. Cancer Causes and Control.Volume 4, Number 4, 313-321
Wei Zheng M.D., Ph.D, et al. Occupational physical activity and the incidence of cancer of the breast, corpus uteri, and ovary in Shanghai. Cancer Volume 71, Issue 11, pages 3620–3624, 1 June 1993
Br J Sports Med 2009;43:81-83 Too much sitting: a novel and important predictor of chronic disease risk. N Owen, A Bauman,W Brown
Please initial and sign here to note that these articles have been read: _____________
Please read and sign the statements below:
This HR department understands that there are numerous and decade-spanning research articles showing that sitting all day has been implicated as a risk factor for numerous cancers as well as cardiac disease. ________________ (Initial and Sign)
This HR department understands that exercise taken, even daily, does not lower the risk factor for death, nor does lowering one’s body mass index (BMI). _____________ (Initial and Sign)
This HR department, by requiring our employees to sit and not providing them with the opportunity to stand and take short (1-2 minute) walking breaks every hour, assumes full monetary responsibility for any evidence-supported ailment that arises from my time here at the firm of Sitt & Sittsamore. _______________(Initial and Sign)
Thank you for your time and interest in fairness!
Your healthier-than-last-year employee,
P.S. I would also like to suggest that small meetings, especially for the purpose of problem solving, take part via a short walk.
*Please do not worry about the dome becoming a tripping hazard in the office. I have covered mine with the approved CAUTION: HAZARDOUS tape (bright yellow) and keep it tucked safely underneath my desk (amongst the 40 cords emitting who-know-what onto my body) for safe-keeping.
Author's Note: Please feel free to use this, or a slightly adjusted version of this letter. Tell them "Katy sent me." Or, maybe not. My dad already thinks I need a bodyguard...