Being physically active in the workplace must become the norm

Sitting at work for lengthy stretches can pose health risks to staff, it has emerged from a range of studies. Despite this, Dutch workers in particular are very good at sitting, spending no less than 7.4 hours a day in a chair – a European record.

The upshot is that employers find themselves being saddled with a large chunk of healthcare costs, and these costs are rising. This is why office furnisher Royal Ahrend supports organisations in encouraging and facilitating moving around in the workspace. ‘Alternating between sitting and standing while working will be the new standard,’ believes Arnold Struik, Concept & Design Director Ahrend. With the introduction of the new Ahrend Balance sit/stand workplace concept, Ahrend has proved that it is walking the talk.

The benefits of not sitting still

Aside from a reduced risk of premature death and a range of illnesses, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease, increased physical activity also results in greater efficiency and productivity. For example, a meeting that is held with attendants standing is 34% shorter than when they are sitting, according to a study conducted by the University of Missouri. A good employer not only considers the costs, but also looks after the well-being and comfort of his staff.  What this boils down to is prioritising physical activity at work, and when the workspace is furnished in an intelligent manner, this can be a great aid. A great and easy way to start off is to place the coffee corner and the printer a little further away from the office pool or to offer sit/stand workplaces.

‘Sit/stand workplaces are not just the preserve of companies like Google and,’ says Arnold Struik. ‘We have seen demand for a sitting and standing option increase in a variety of sectors as well as from self-employed persons to multinationals. In Scandinavia, for example, a sit/stand workstation has been the standard for some time now. What it involves is a true cultural shift, and in the Netherlands alternating between sitting and standing must become the norm. We help companies to undertake that transition to a more productive and healthier form of work. It is recommended that staff perform a great deal of physical activity and in any event not sit at a desk for longer than five hours in a row. The recently-introduced sit/stand workplace concept, Ahrend Balance, means that it is a simple task to find the correct balance between sitting and standing,’ he says.

An intelligent workspace

With the addition of the sit/stand option to the Ahrend Balance, Ahrend has catered to the growing demand for a healthy and tailored workspace. Our customers are increasingly requesting innovative workspaces that encourage well-being and productivity – ones that simultaneously help to express the identity, culture and dynamism of an organisation.

The Ahrend Balance workstation concept

Ahrend Balance is the most modular and sustainable workplace concept that Ahrend has ever produced. It is a workplace concept that is characterised by a perfect balance between design, ergonomics and functionality. The Ahrend Balance sit/stand has a slender design, an attractive finish and is extremely stable thanks to the patented leg fastenings and guides. 

The intelligent modular design means that Ahrend Balance can be configured in no less than 1.2 million ways. What is unique about this workstation concept is that all options are available in one range, from a single-person high concentration workplace through to a group workplace with benches and panel bases. Thanks to the patented Quick-fix mechanism, the tabletop can simply be clicked into the frames without screws required. Ahrend Balance was designed in accordance with the principles of the circular economy, is completely recyclable and is Cradle to Cradle Silver Certified™.

Ahrend Balance helps staff to adopt an active and healthy work posture. As Struik says, ‘It is childishly simple – sit less, stand up and get active!’