A woman is suffering from back pain in her home office.
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Employees are sitting down for longer as they work from home, survey finds

31 Aug 2020

The Irish Heart Foundation’s latest campaign is calling on employers to shorten video calls in a bid to help staff ‘escape their chairs’.

A new survey from the Irish Heart Foundation has suggested that many workers are now sitting down for longer periods of time throughout the day as they work from home.

More than 1,000 people took part in the survey at the start of August, and more than half of respondents said they were sitting down for longer while working from home than they did when they were in the office or their usual workplace. One in four said they now remained seated for at least three hours more than they did previously.

In response, the Irish Heart Foundation has launched a new campaign called Escape Your Chair. Physical activity coordinator at the organisation, Tara Curran, explained the motivations behind it.

“Sitting at work all day can increase a person’s risk of heart disease and stroke, and it may counteract the benefits of their regular exercise,” Curran said. “As working from home and video meetings become the norm, workers are increasingly tied to their laptops for hour after hour.

“We are urging them to get up and move regularly during their working day and would like to see employers make an effort to shorten meeting times on video conferencing.”

Escape Your Chair is calling on employees to get up and move for one minute every hour throughout the day. To help, it is offering a number of free resources, including an online ‘sitting-time calculator’, a ‘deskercise’ video, expert tips on how to stay well while working from home, and a training guide for walking or running 5km.

Personal trainer Karl Henry is the campaign’s ambassador. Making sure you get up for a minute every hour is a good way to “kickstart your daily exercise”, he said.

“Being physically active can release endorphins that can help relieve stress, boost mood and improve self-esteem. When we find ourselves in a stressful situation at work, a quick stroll can help clear our heads while also helping our hearts and reducing our sitting time.”

Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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