New research shows what many people in the call center industry have known for years: That sitting in an office chair for nine hours a day, five days a week, is bad for your health.
According to an article
this week on Bloomberg (News
).com, a group of researchers have concluded that sitting for long periods of time is "a public-health risk."
Interestingly, the research reveals that exercise doesn't off-set the effects of sitting for long periods of time.
'People need to understand that the qualitative mechanisms of sitting are completely different from walking or exercising,' University of Missouri microbiologist Marc Hamilton is quoted as saying in the article. 'Sitting too much is not the same as exercising too little. They do completely different things to the body.'
According to the research, the bad type of cholesterol, LDL, builds more rapidly in the blood stream and stays there longer when people sit for long periods of time, as opposed to standing. That's because when you sit, the muscles in your "core" or abdomen are relaxed and thus don't release enough of a special enzyme. The research reveals that this lack of activity results in the drop of the special enzyme by 90 to 95 percent, "leaving fat to camp out in the bloodstream."
"Within a couple hours of sitting, healthy cholesterol plummets by 20 percent," the article states.
And this isn't the only recent research to show that sitting is unhealthy. A recent article
in the New York Times refers to research finding that those who stood all day doing -- nothing other than standing -- burned hundreds of calories more than a group of individuals sitting all day. For both men and women in this study, standing burned multiple calories, but did not ignite hunger. The research found that if you want to lose weight, you don't necessarily have to go for a long run: "Just get rid of your chair."
One industry where workers are very prone to poor health due to long periods of sitting is the call center industry. As such, it is important for call center workers to take frequent breaks where they can stretch and walk around. Having ergonomic call center furniture can also go a long way toward preventing work-related injuries.
One alternative to having agents sit all day is to equip them with sit-to-stand workstations. These workstations rise up and down so that the agent has the option to either sit or stand while they work.
Call center furniture manufacturer Interior Concepts
offers sit-to-stand workstations where the work surface and the computer monitor rise to a "standing height" to accommodate "95 percent of the population."
"Incorporating sit-to-stand workstations in the call center will provide flexible ergonomic solutions that give employees numerous options for comfortable working positions," a white paper from the call center furniture manufacturer states. "Ergonomic workstations can have a positive impact on the health, morale, and productivity of employees."
The white paper notes that "with the correct tools, standing is as simple as sitting. The easiest way to create workstations that transition from standing to sitting is to use a keyboard tray and monitor arm with enough adjustment to be used while in a sitting or standing position."
To download a free copy of the informative white paper, "Call Center Ergonomics - I Can't Stand to Sit," click here
For more information on Interior Concepts' sit-to-stand workstations click here
Patrick Barnard is a senior Web editor for TMCnet, covering call and contact center technologies. He also compiles and regularly contributes to TMCnet e-Newsletters in the areas of robotics, IT, M2M, OCS and customer interaction solutions. To read more of Patrick's articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Patrick Barnard