What Every Executive Should Know About Designing a Productive Workplace

For a CEO/President, one of the responsibilities that comes up from time to time is the office layout and design. If you are expanding, rehabbing, moving to a new location, or building a new building, a process is undertaken to figure out what is needed. It can involve the whole thing or just one part, like new desks or new chairs. Executives engage architects, designers, and furniture dealers to help in this process as very few are experts on this since this is not the main line of work. It is making products or providing services, not buying furniture.

Decisions, however, have to be made. The design used to often be tied to the corporate culture and the corporate hierarchy. The size of the office, location, view, and furniture often reflected the status in the hierarchy. Today, instead of a top down everybody tote the corporate culture and conform, hierarchies have become inverted.

Ideas need to flow up and down the organization, and not be centralized at the top. The key is to provide and create environments that nurture and encourage employee engagement. Instead of simply having a cubicle as the work zone, companies have multiple areas including lounge, working cafeterias and coffee canteens, quiet zones, hobby areas, outdoor areas, and even areas where people can work on personal things while at work. The goal is to let the individual determine what will make them the most happy and motivated, while at the same time have more interaction and brainstorming in open collaborative environments.

The active office, with motion chairs like swopper, muvman, 3-dee, and oyo, support the open and collaborative work settings as well as address the other key challenge of health and wellness in the workplace.

Muvman is the best compliment to height adjustable worktables, and it also only weighs 13 pounds so you can easily take it with you to perch on in a collaborative area with colleagues. Swopper is the most active office chair in the world, and encourages movement all day long, which keeps you energized. 3-dee also keeps you active and provides a backrest for those used to a more traditional chair. Oyo is such a fun saddle-style chair that is perfect to have in lounge areas where people engage each other.

The active office, combined with the new more varied workplace, is the best way to achieve a productive and healthy workplace. This is a key advantage when competing for, attracting, and retaining key talent. Being aware of these options and trends will help leaders of companies achieve their overall corporate mission.

Chas hepler

CEO, President Via Seating

 

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How to Burn Extra Calories in the Office

Welcome to 2016! We’re more than a week into the new year already… How are those resolutions looking? For many of us, the New Year means a new opportunity to set goals, typically aimed at living a better life in one way or another. We can also really stress ourselves out this time of year – maybe we set ourselves up for disappointment before we’ve even begun by having unrealistic expectations.

Did you vow to hit the gym every day, or to never eat another carb? Instead of these monumental challenges we put on ourselves, what if we just vowed to make slight changes in our everyday lives? Changes that may be easier to stick to and have a greater impact if we keep them up throughout the year (instead of just this week).

We’ve put together some ideas for burning extra calories while you work, so maybe sticking to that healthier lifestyle won’t be as hard as it sounds.

how to lose weight in the office

Walk around the office – 100 calories
It’s easy and convenient to pick up the phone and dial a co-worker’s extension, but it may be worthwhile to walk to them, even if they’re on the other side of the office. It may not seem like much, but it will all add up. By the end of the day, you may have walked a mile or two, burning at least 100 calories.
Jumping jacks – 50 calories
How many times a day do you get up, simply to use the restroom or re-fill your water bottle? Each time you leave your desk, try doing 30 jumping jacks before you sit back down. If you get up twice an hour, you will have done almost 500 jumping jacks by the end of the day, burning almost 50 calories!
Stand at your desk – 200 calories
Did you know you can burn up to 50 more calories an hour standing instead of sitting? Even if you stood at your desk for half a work day, that’s up to 200 calories!
Swop! – 200 calories
The rest of that time you’re sitting at your desk? Try bouncing on a swopper motion chair! swopper has many health benefits, from relieving back tension to engaging your core, and it’s also a great way to burn calories. If you actively bounce and sway while you’re working at your desk, you can burn a few hundred extra calories every day!
As you can see, by making some small adjustments in your everyday life, you can make big changes over time, burning over 500 extra calories a day! While you’re on a roll, any other resolutions (like saying no to that birthday cake that always seems to be in the office, or training for that 5K in the spring) are just an added bonus to what you’ve already accomplished! Here’s to a wonderful year!

Aleta Simmons

 

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5 New Years Resolutions to Make for a Healthier Workplace

It’s that time of the year!  The time where many make their New Year’s resolutions and hope and pray they can stick to them.  I think many times people set unrealistic or hard to obtain goals.

Here are five super simple and super healthy resolutions to maintain throughout the year, and they’re easy because you can do them right in your own office during your work day!

  1. Keep the disinfectant handy – this time of year especially we are all battling the viruses and germs that can overtake an office.  It’s very easy to wipe down the items that harbor these nasty germs i.e. keyboards, desks, mouse and phones.  Do it often!!
    Swopper-Muvman-3Dee-chairs
  2. Be comfortable – Sitting in awkward positions and staring at a monitor at the wrong height are just a couple issues that workers tend to ignore until they start to feel the pain.  Make sure your work space is working for you.  Use a great chair like swopper, muvman or 3Dee to encourage you to move throughout the day.  Check your mouse and keyboard positioning to make sure you’re using them properly.  Remember: if you’re feeling pain, it’s your body’s way of telling you to change something.
  3. Get the snacks and candy off the desk – Feeling peckish?  It’s always easy to find plenty of unhealthy snacks in an office.  Keep fruits or nuts around and walk out of your way to avoid the candy machine and sodas.
  4. Water, water, water – You should be drinking lots of water during the day.  The 3 o’clock lull could be due to dehydration.
  5. Move – the most important of them all.  Don’t get stuck sitting for hours on end.  Easier said than done, so even if you have to set an alarm to prompt you…do it!!  Walk at lunch, walk to the co-worker vs email, stretch at your desk.  If you have a height adjustable desk…USE IT!!  Remember the water mentioned above?  How about getting that from a source furthest from your desk….

Now – go to work and stay healthy while you’re there.  Happy New Year!!

~ Sandra Bowie

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How Your Posture Affects Your First Impression

Research has shown that 60 to 90 percent of our communication with others is nonverbal, which means our body language and posture is very important to making a strong first impression. Think about it! If you meet a new business associate and they stand slumped over and have a weak handshake, what do you think first: that they are a strong, trustworthy partner to do business with, or that they lack confidence and drive?

posture first impression

Presenting yourself in every situation with a strong stance, firm handshake and attentive eyes will help you create a lasting first impression that business associates, friends and even strangers will remember.

So what is proper posture and how can you work to perfect it?

proper posture while sitting

Good posture includes standing or sitting with your back straight, shoulders back, head up and chin lifted. A good way to check and readjust your posture is to move your arms straight over your head, with palms together. Split your arms behind your head and slowly bring them to your sides. This will get your spine, neck and shoulders into proper position.

It’s very easy to slip into poor posture when sitting in a stationary office chair. You can combat poor sitting posture by using a motion chair like swopper. Swopper constantly engages your core and forces your spine into optimal position. Over time your core muscles strengthen and you will find sitting with great posture is second nature.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/joelogon/324259281

Learn more about posture and the benefits of motion seating on our website, or start shopping for your swopper motion chair right now. With the right tools, you can improve your posture and make a great first impression.

~ Jenn Lytle

 

 

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5 Ways to Strengthen Your Core Muscles

Nothing is more frustrating than putting in the hours at the gym, eating healthy and still feeling like your body refuses to work with you. Sometimes the solution may be as simple as using the proper technique in all your exercises. If you’ve spent any time around a trainer, you’ve probably heard them talk about engaging your core.

Ideally, working your core muscles should be a part of everyday life. If you’re doing all that lifting without these important muscles engaged, not only do you run the risk of serious injury, but you probably aren’t getting the most out of your workout!

How to strengthen your core

Five Ways To Strengthen Your Core:

1) Make sure you’re engaging correctly!

This may sound like a silly first step, but if you aren’t properly engaging those core muscles, you’re not getting the workout you think you are. It’s easy and almost more intuitive to just suck in your tummy when someone tells you to use your core, but that’s almost the complete opposite of actually working those muscles. Make sure your stomach muscles are tight, as if bracing or steadying the rest of your body (hint: you should be able to breathe while doing this)!

2) Test your balance!
How often do you find yourself standing in one place? In line at the grocery store or bank, waiting to pick up a child from school, or maybe standing at your work desk? Tighten your core and balance on one foot any time you are standing stationary. Start with one leg bent slightly at the knee; see how high you can hold it and maintain balance. You can also keep that raised leg moving by straightening it in front of you and then bending it again. Got that mastered? Try it with your eyes closed! Also, don’t forget to alternate legs!

3) Throw on some boxing gloves!
This one may require some extra equipment and a friend, but it’s worth it! Practice some kickboxing moves either with a heavy bag or having a friend hold some body pads. Your core should be firmly engaged with every swing and every kick for maximum power!

4) Walk the plank!
Any idea why so many people hate planking? It works! A proper plank position will not only engage your core muscles but also put those shoulders and glutes to the test. Get down in a push-up position and hold for as long as you can. Stay focused on keeping your body aligned the whole time. If you want more of a challenge, switch it up with side planks, or place your feet on a towel and slide them in towards your navel and back out.

5) Keep moving at work with the swopper FIT app for your iPhone!
This app is perfect for reminding you to move even while sitting at your desk. The app walks you through an array of movements that you can do on your swopper motion chair without interrupting your work day. Keep your co-workers wondering what you’re up to as you bounce along on your swopper with your earbuds in and swopper FIT app running!

Having a stronger core has many benefits, which may include relief of lower back pain due to improper posture and lifting techniques. If you’re short like me, improved posture might just make you feel an inch or two taller! So tighten those muscles, get moving, and enjoy a happier, healthier lifestyle!

~ Aleta Simmons

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3 Tips For Creating A Healthier Workplace

What comes to mind when we say “creating a healthy workplace?” Snacking on healthier food choices or sitting in an active seating chair, or maybe even creating a mentally healthier mind. There are several different things that someone can do to ensure that they are working in a healthy environment.

Healthy Workplace

1. Stop the Spread of Germs

One of the biggest complaints is breaking the chain of germ transmission between employees. It’s so easy to pick up a virus working so closely with people, especially this time of year. You use the same coffee maker; you push the same button on the copy machine. Even a simple hand shake can lead to a cold of flu. That’s why you must break that chain of germ transmission and wash, wipe and sanitize… repeat, if you must!

2. Make Healthy Food and Drink Choices

What about healthy eating or snacking? You spend most of your day at work, so it’s no surprise that your workplace eating habits can have a major impact on your health. We have a couple tips which may help you have proper nutrition at work.

First, you need to ditch the junk food; throw away those crackers and unhealthy snacks that you have stashed. Replace that junk food with balanced snacks like nuts, dried fruit, etc. Second, you must plan your meals and eat at least 3 healthy meals a day with at least two snacks.  Lastly, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! There is nothing better for you than water.

3. Start Moving! 

Healthy workplace

Working doesn’t have to mean sitting sedentary all day, you can actually use that time to work on your posture and your core. Everything that encourages movement is positive for your health, which is why active seating is a great option for sitting and is more than just wellness; it adds health into your everyday life! That’s why the OYO, muvman, swopper and 3DEE have become so widely popular.

Take these tips and apply them to your work environment. Have the whole office on board so you can be sure that your work place is clean and healthy.

~ Lindsay McIntyre

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Common Misconceptions About Swopper

Some of us have been sitting on a swopper for so long, it’s hard to remember how we first felt about it. It’s equally hard to imagine ever sitting on anything else for long periods of time. If we think back though, there was a time for each of us before we first encountered the swopper, and making the switch to active seating may not have been the easiest thing.

For those of you that are new to the idea of sitting in motion, we want you to know you’re not alone. Any questions or hesitations you may have were probably shared with all of us at one time, so we’d like to try and ease your mind. We’ve compiled a list of the most common misconceptions… just give us the opportunity, and we’ll show you these are nothing to fret over!

  1. I need a backrest.

No, you don’t. I will admit, this was one of my original concerns. I’m a sloucher. I understand in my head that the swopper is supposed to prevent that, but I was still a little stubborn about not having the option to use the worst possible posture I could come up with. Sitting up straight IS hard to get used to, but that’s the whole point. Your body needs to be re-trained to use the muscles it has. If you’re sitting on your swopper properly, your back isn’t even near the spot a backrest WOULD be.

  1. I can’t get any work done while bouncing, and once I start bouncing I won’t be able to stop!

This can be tricky, especially if you type all day. It may take some getting used to, but you will find a happy medium. Just to prove it can be done, I’m bouncing on my swopper air as I type this! The swopper allows so many movement options that you really can sit upright when you need to, lean side to side when reaching for things or when you need to stretch, and get in some bouncing when you really want to get your body moving.

  1. I’ll fall right off!

Well, you might. My daughters fall off the couch all the time, but we still keep those (the couches… and the daughters)!

  1. I need armrests.

No, you don’t. This was also my struggle, probably even more so than wanting a backrest. I’m prone to “golfer’s elbow” in both arms (nope, I don’t golf), and my elbows get very stiff if they stay in one position. I was concerned my arms would always be in pain without having anything to support them. However, much like anything else, my body has adapted and with strengthening over time, not having anything to rest on doesn’t bother me any longer.

  1. It’s too expensive.

The price point on a swopper is similar to other chairs in its class – it’s not the cheapest seat you’ll find, but it’s not the most expensive either.
To really consider the cost of the swopper, you have to also take into account what you are gaining and ask yourself how much your health and wellness are worth. How much will an injured back cost you in the long run? As an employer, how much can you save by ensuring your employees are in their best health, eliminating days off for injuries, doctor visits and even surgeries?

  1. I tried it, and my back hurts WORSE!

If this is the case, answer this: Is it the same pain you’re used to? Does it feel like the same old back pain, caused by a lifetime of not treating your back properly? Or is it more like the soreness you feel after a good workout? Chances are, that pain you’re feeling isn’t because the swopper is hurting you… It’s because you’re using muscles that have gone unused for far too long! Give the swopper a chance to really strengthen those core muscles, and we’re almost sure you’ll be impressed with your own results!

We hope once you give it a try you’ll understand just how we all feel about our swopper, despite what our initial reactions may have been. If you still don’t believe us, we do offer a 30-day return policy at swopper.com, in case you are not fully satisfied!

~ Aleta Simmons

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Why Transitional Sitting is the Ideal Way to Work

OK, I’ve got my new height adjustable work desk….now am I supposed to sit or stand?

By now we’ve all seen or heard the research about how bad those accumulated hours of sitting can be for the body. It’s scary, but proven. While it’s likely that chairs are never going to disappear from the work environment, one thing that should change is giving people the choice to work differently.

One option to work differently that has caught on like wildfire is the use of height-adjustable or standing desks. While it’s great to see people introducing and accepting the height-adjustable desks, standing static for long periods of time is not a reasonable expectation and could cause health issues of its own. It can be very fatiguing on the knees, hips, feet and back and also cause veinous issues. Research out of the Human Factors and Ergonomic Society is showing that prolonged standing is likely to contribute to lower-extremity and/or back disorders.

 

So if sitting all day is harmful and so is standing all day, then what is the ideal solution?

 

Transitional Sitting Positions or Active Sitting Positions is the Sweet Spot of this controversy. Being in transition between both sitting and standing is the best of both worlds and eliminates the ‘static’ component of sitting/standing stationary by replacing it with dynamic motion.  Transitional sitting allows the spine to stay neutral (like in a natural standing position) while allowing the individual to take the load off… literally.

These sitting positions also deliver the full ROI potential promised by height-adjustable tables. Why should an end-user spend a lot of money on a height-adjustable surface that offers infinite height ranges, yet only use the sitting or standing options?  What about the positions in between?  That is what we call the magic zone. Sitting at heights of 23” – 33” – dramatically opens the hip-spine angle, allowing the pelvis to rotate forward and maintain lower back curvature, i.e. neutral spine position.

The ideal way to achieve a transitional sitting workspace is to combine a height-adjustable desk with a Muvman motion chair. 

Muvman chair

With a 13” height adjustment range, Muvman allows you to go from a standard seated position, to perching, to full on standing. It gives you the option to sit/stand/lean all within one compact yet stylish, functional and fun chair. It has lateral and forward tilt motion, always motivating the user to engage leg, core and back muscles yet remain in a proper posture.

Muvman Stool

With its small footprint, when not in use it can easily fit under the desk out of the way. It has a weight of 13.9lbs, which means it can easily be moved to another location altogether (two users can share one stool – motivating each of them to change postures throughout the day).

Employers have learned (the hard way) that they can’t just take a chair away from someone and expect them to stand for hours – people just won’t do it!  However, if you offer them a chair that allows them to access transitional sitting positions (Muvman), they will truly get the full benefit of having that height-adjustable desk.

Transitional sitting provides the ideal set up for those in an office to remain healthy, active and in motion. All this combined is the true idea of what today’s “active office” should incorporate!

~ Sandra Bowie

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Top 10 Reasons You Shouldn’t Sit All Day

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, then you know now that we feel passionate about getting people out of their sedentary lifestyles. Sitting all day has been shown time and again in studies to negatively impact our health and wellbeing both physically and mentally.

Following are some of the best reasons to get up out of your seat and move. Hopefully these top ten reasons why you shouldn’t sit all day, will be the motivation you need to change your daily habits.

Why You Shouldn't Sit All Day

  1. We simply were not meant to sit all day. Evolution has not evolved from our hunting and gathering days to the point where our bodies are programed to sit statically. In fact we are meant to move and be active. Forcing our body to sit still for long periods of time is not a good thing.
  2. It is unhealthy. When you sit down in a chair multiple things happen. Your calorie burn goes close to zero. Your circulation is reduced and restricted. The amount of oxygen you take in is reduced. Your organs are crowded and squished together. All this has been linked to multiple diseases including cardio vascular, diabetes, heart, and other ailments including skeletal issues.
  3. It’s no fun. Sitting slows down everything in our body. We tend to get more tired and have less energy. We tend to reach for sweets and caffeine to offset these effects. These combinations can increase mood swings and make people more irritable.
  4. Exercising after work doesn’t do it. We tend to compensate for all the inactivity of working all day by vigorously exercising after work. Studies show that this does not make up for the damage done to the body from inactivity and everything we can do to increase activity during the day greatly improves health.
  5. Bad things accumulate. Disease doesn’t happen overnight. Mostly sitting statically for 8 to 10 hours a day, day after day, adds up. The impact and negative effects might not show up until later but they are happening. Sitting actively, day after day, also has a cumulative effect and this is very healthy for your body.
  6. It costs a lot of money to counteract these negative effects. Once the toll of sitting all day has wrecked havoc on your health, you’ll be in overdrive in other areas to regain your health.
  7. Brain function is reduced as well. Again, less blood flow and less brain enhancing hormones are flowing to the brain when you sit stationary. This reduces concentration and impedes learning and performance.
  8. Chairs often cause back and other pain The chairs we sit in are not necessarily ergonomically designed for us or proper for our body and we sit in ways that can be detrimental to our back, arms, and joints throughout our body.
  9. Your muscle mass is shrinking – Your muscles break down from inactivity and you become weaker, which reduces the amount of blood that is pumped to your heart. Your bone mass is also reduced up to 1% a year.
  10. It’s killing you. Sedentary sitting for an average of 6 hours a day 5 days a week increases the chance of dying from heart disease by 64%, while prostate or breast cancer increases by 30%.

The facts are undeniable; sitting stationary all day is terrible for your mind and body. By investing in a motion chair like swopper, Muvman, OYO or 3Dee, you will mitigate all the negative affects of sitting mentioned above, while also having some fun.

~ Chas Hepler

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The Benefits of a Saddle-Style Seat

By now you’ve heard of the dangers of static sitting for long periods of time and the benefits of motion seating. Here at swopper, our motion seating is designed to alleviate back tension, encourage proper posture and improve better circulation. We’d now like to introduce you to swopper Saddle, our first chair to combine all the benefits of motion seating with a saddle-style seat.

With swopper Saddle, you still have the full range of motion as with the swopper Classic or swopper Air – full 360 degree tilt as well as vertical bounce. So why this seating option, versus our traditional swopper stools? Let’s look at how the saddle seat further encourages better posture, mobility and circulation!

Saddle-sitting improves leg circulation and reduces foot swelling. There is no edge to press against your upper leg, and your buttocks and leg muscles are free of contact pressure. The veins and arteries that carry blood to and from your legs are in their most open position. With the angles between upper and lower legs being much wider than usual and the active use of your legs accelerating your metabolism, your legs will really feel much better.

Saddle-sitting improves balance. The spread of the legs, called hip abduction, stabilizes the pelvis in an upright orientation, so you can relax. Your wide foot stance keeps you balanced when you move about. Balance is so dramatically improved that many people with neurological impairments sit independently in a saddle seat.

A saddle seat encourages better posture. The hip joints rest in a relaxed, open position and the spine is in perfect balance when you sit on a saddle chair.  The unique seat contour ensures you’ll bend forward from your hips, not from your back. You can reach further and more safely on a saddle chair. Saddle-sitting preserves your spinal curves even when you bend forward, while freeing your legs to move, which helps turning, moving and reaching out for things to be quick and safe.

Swopper Saddle
Available with or without wheels

 

Typical of all motion products, the swopper Saddle seat does take some getting used to. We recommend you give your body up to two weeks to allow yourself to adjust to any soreness that may be related to an unfamiliar sitting style. There’s good news for all the horse lovers or cyclists – this seating option will feel pretty natural!

~ Aleta Simmons

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