Workplace Sitting

Some careers are inherently unsafe. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports high rates of occupational injury among loggers, construction workers, and commercial fishermen. It can make you feel good about a job in which there’s only indoor work and no heavy lifting. Here at CompuScripts Court Reporting, we schedule court reporters, host videoconferences, and produce legal video in climate-controlled offices while sitting in comfy, comfy desk chairs.

Maybe too comfy. Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have linked prolonged sitting with serious health issues. And while the legal profession may not involve chainsaws, nail guns, or hydraulic winches, attorneys, paralegals, and court reporters who sit for hours at a time may be at greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. In the Los Angeles Times, UCLA professor of medicine Dr. Camelia Davtyan put it more succinctly: “Sitting is the new smoking.”

RPR Court ReporterIn a field as sedentary as the legal profession, what, then, are we to do? Perhaps it is possible to read electronic transcripts or schedule depositions without sitting. A costly alternative to the chair is a treadmill desk. These gym-office mash-ups allow the user to walk while conducting business. In addition to improving worker health, a study quoted by Forbes also found that treadmill desks improve worker productivity. Unfortunately, prices start at $600 and often exceed $2,000. That’s a lot of money for a piece of equipment that one day may be relegated to coat rack.

A cheaper option is the standing desk. These can be shelf-like units that fit on a traditional desk, or adjustable mounting arms that allow you to raise and lower your workspace throughout the day.   These range in price from around $100 to $1,000.

The easiest choice is to alter your behavior, and a good place to start is by keeping a sitting/standing diary over the course of a workweek.   Once you know how much you’re sitting, these simple changes will get you on your feet:

  1. Answer the phone only when standing, and remain standing for the entire conversation.
  2. Open snail mail while standing, and continue to stand until the envelopes are discarded and the contents filed.
  3. Drink more water. You’ll improve your hydration AND walk to the restroom more often.
  4. Walk to your coworkers’ offices instead of using email or intercom.
  5. Set your cell phone alarm for regular standing breaks, and try some shallow squats or stretching exercises.

You can also visit The Washington Post for a series of exercises that can be done in the privacy of your own office. At the CompuScripts offices in Columbia, South Carolina, we particularly enjoyed the one called “Hallelujah.”   (Or maybe we just enjoyed the video.)

The important thing is to understand that changing your behavior is not an all-or-nothing proposition. The CDC study found significant health improvement amongst individuals who reduced their sitting by just 66 minutes per day. For a busy paralegal, that might amount to only a fraction of the time that’s spent on the phone. So when you need to schedule a court reporter, a videoconference, or a legal videographer, stand up and give us a call. CompuScripts Court Reporters has been serving the legal community, both local and worldwide, since 1993. Our court reporters and legal videography professionals are all highly trained and committed to providing our clients with speedy, accurate, and high-quality services. CompuScripts is prepared to stand with you, whenever and wherever you need us!