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Dangerous sitting levels have doubled under lockdown

More of us are sitting for longer, yet 90% of staff believe their boss cares about their health - and the number of those using a standing desk has soared in the last 12 months.

Levels of dangerous office sitting time have doubled under lockdown, with around half of UK workers spending almost their whole day sitting down, according to the latest Annual Sitting Survey® from Active Working.

Some 47% of us spend practically the entirety of our working day (seven hours or longer) seated – up from just 26% pre-pandemic.

The shocking poll results come in the run-up to On Your Feet Britain on Thursday 29 April, an annual day of activity sponsored by Sit-Stand.Com, when desk-based staff participate in a variety of fun, simple activities to help break the harmful “binge sitting” habit.

Further survey results include:
  • 66% of us admit that workday sitting time has increased during lockdown
  • Women spend more time sitting than men: 51% of females said they spent seven or more working hours seated compared with 41% of male respondents
  • The number of people with access to a standing desk has risen from a fifth to a third (31%) of workers who responded
  • Prolonged sedentary behaviour is more of a problem in the public sector than the private sector: 51% of public sector staff said they daily spend more than 90 minutes at a time seated, compared with 39% among their public sector counterparts.
Spending long periods seated at a desk is proven to damage your health, contributing to conditions including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, joint issues, back problems and even certain cancers. Study after study makes it clear: #SitLess #MoveMore is the key to good physical and mental health.

There is cause of optimism, however. This year’s Annual Sitting Survey® reveals that 90% of staff believe their employer cares about their health. The number of people saying their boss cares about their health ‘very much’ has doubled since last year’s poll (rising to 30% from just 16% in 2020).

Public Health England advises that we should minimise sedentary time, spending more time on our feet, less time seated. International health bodies including the World Health Organization agree.