Bad boy Brits refuse to take a stand at work

By Kitty Knowles 2 February 2017

Even if it kills us.

We Brits can be a sickly lot. We’re known for stodgy foods and pub culture, and our washed-out weather doesn’t do us any favours.

But neither does our bad boy attitude.

Take a stand!

Right now, I’m looking particularly at the fact that we refuse to take a stand at work.

I don’t mean metaphorically (we’re a nation of loud-mouths). I mean literally. We literally don’t want to stand at our desks while working.

Look on Amazon and you’ll find thousands of folding plinths and stands, especially designed for this purpose. Numerous studies sing the benefits for body and mind.

But for one reason or another, in the UK, it’s just not catching on.

Stubborn Brits

In Britain there is a “significant public resistance” towards standing in the office, a new study published today in BMC Public Health has found.

This is despite growing evidence that it can reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain cancers, say the King’s College London authors.

In 2015 new guidelines recommended that we stand or do light activity for two to four hours per workday – for example, by using height-adjustable ‘sit-stand’ desks.

But an analysis of public comments posted online (beneath articles from the likes of the Guardian, Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Telegraph, Independent and Daily Mirror), suggests we simply aren’t ready for change.

We don’t want to stand – even if it kills us.

Why the hell not?

Are we lazy? Are we scared of looking like weirdos? Is standing at your desk simply not cool?

The experts say that there are actually three big reasons we don’t want to be upstanding at work.

  1. Many simply question whether the advice can actually work in the real world. It’s too impractical we squeal, our bosses won’t like it. Those experts really didn’t understand the realities of my office.
  2. Others believe the whole idea of ‘public health’ is untrustworthy. There must be an alternative agenda. Some fat cat is plotting to make his millions from sit-stand desks, we scaremonger.
  3. Finally so-called ‘citizen scientists’, have been sharing their own contradictory knowledge of sitting and standing. A man stood once and got tired. How have the experts got it so wrong?!

Dr Benjamin Gardner, lead author from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London, acknowledged that the results may not be reflective of the whole country. However “they provide a valuable glimpse” into the attitudes employers and public health officials face today, he said.

“Public opinion is inextricably linked to the success of public health campaigns,” added Gardner.

And today, public opinion is not good.

Already the authors are trying to find new ways they can support employers to implement a standing culture, and, in doing so better, Britain’s health.

One possible practice includes encouraging everyone to stand in meetings. Something I’m going to get everyone at The Memo to try.

We Brits may be sickly, stubborn, and scared. But if we want to live longer healthier lives, it’s time to take a stand.

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