|At an office furniture trade show held Monday in Chicago, companies showed off new solutions to a dangerous health problem afflicting office workers. As more workers become sedentary and spend their nine-to-five workday sitting down, experts have warned that “sitting is the new smoking.”
Not only do studies confirm that sitting workers have a higher risk of diseases and deadly heart conditions, but it’s also associated with a shorter average lifespan. And according to a new report by the Chicago Tribune, standing desks and so-called “smart desk” technology are an increasingly profitable industry across the country.
At Monday’s trade show a company called Stir revealed one of these so-called smart desks, which collects data about a worker’s posture and reminds them how often to stand. The standing smart desk costs between $2,990 and $4,190, which has limited its adoption rate.
Martin Keen of Focal Upright had a simpler, low-tech solution to the health problem — a one-legged stool designed to help workers remain in a standing position while shifting their weight to the floor. The simple $100 Mogo stool has a cushion that looks like a bicycle seat, and the company has already sold more than 7,500 so far.
One study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that workers who used standing desks for an hour a day reduced their upper back and neck pain by 54%. They also experienced an improvement in mood.
Experts say that neck pain troubles 45% of U.S. workers, and that up to 80% of the country will suffer from back problems in their lifetime. This summer, more companies and workers are investing in standing desks to improve health outcomes, lower insurance costs, and cut down on chronic back and neck pain around the office.
Jason McCann is the CEO of Varidesk, which also made a presentation at the convention. McCann said he originally designed his product to help an employee with back problems, and since then he’s sold his products in all 50 states.