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Making The Office Life Healthy and Productive

Study after study reveals that sitting at a desk, and generally being inactive throughout the day, has a detrimental impact on your heart health, happiness, and resistance to chronic diseases. Here's how one company is tackling the problem.

It shouldn’t be surprising that sitting at a desk for 8 to 12 hours straight is not healthy for you, but many people often overlook the negative health consequences of the daily 9 to 5 office rote. In an increasingly health-conscious culture, it’s bizarre that efforts to revamp the professional workspace have tarried behind technological advances for so long. 

Study after study reveals that sitting at a desk, and generally being inactive throughout the day, has a detrimental impact on your heart health, happiness, and resistance to chronic diseases. 

Some solutions have presented themselves in the form of more people working from home (where sitting demands are less strict), flexible work hours, or extravagant offerings like free massages and gym memberships at companies like Google. 

However, the professional workspace requires some more direct intervention, particularly in the design, layout, and fittings. Most work environments remain eerily reminiscent of the movie Office Space

In spite of that, the standing desk has been making waves in many office setups recently, and Autonomous, the SmartDesk and modern office space company, has been one of the pioneers on that journey. As we approach the next decade, Autonomous is banking on the work environment looking markedly different from a 1990’s cubicle-laden office. 

Physical Activity Is Closely Linked to Work Culture 

The World Health Organization cites physical inactivity as the 4th leading cause of death and debilitation worldwide, calling it a public health emergency. Interestingly, cultural shifts towards more active lifestyles have largely focused outside the workplace, encouraging people to go to the gym or bike to work. 

They still ignore the primary problem, though. 

Autonomous identifies that blending ergonomic chairs like its Myo Chair and Kinn Chair with SmartDesk can usher in a new office environment. Ergonomic chairs provide the support that lasts and builds healthy posture. 

Combined with SmartDesks, Autonomous crafts an office environment that encourages standing, moving around, collaborating, and a balance of sitting and standing. 

It is an idea that has been gaining momentum among younger generations, who don’t want to sit and look at a screen in a cubicle — the health effects of which are increasingly evident. 

People aren’t meant to sit all day, let alone in the same spot for 8 hours plus a commute in a car. Prolonged periods of sitting all day, year after year, can lead to health problems like metabolic syndrome, high cholesterol, and heart disease

And it’s not just the physical effects either. 

Research indicates that risks of depression and anxiety increase significantly among people who sit for extended periods throughout the day. 

The problem lies in the notion that office environments remain mostly unchanged throughout the last few decades. Companies like Google, Facebook, and SpaceX offer luxurious suites filled with free food and professional masseuses, but they are the exception — not the rule. 

For the average employee, they are stuck with the morose cream-colored walls, uncomfortable chair, micromanaging boss, and restricted options outside their day job. 

Enter Autonomous and the modern workspace. 

Flexibility, Dynamic, & High-Grade 

Autonomous is built with the intention of bringing high-grade products to the public at affordable prices. The firm wields the power of vertical-integration, where they control touchpoints throughout the entire supply chain. The model was made famous by the likes of Andrew Carnegie and John D. Vanderbilt, who launched Carnegie Steel and Standard Oil, respectively — becoming epic business tycoons in the process. 

In doing so, Autonomous can furnish home offices, professional spaces, and gamers with the type of high-end equipment that younger generations increasingly seek. That includes SmartDesks, ergonomic executive chairs (e.g., MyoChair & Kinn Chair), and clever accessories like the fatigue mat

Being happy at the office makes employees more productive, which is good for business. And being happy necessarily entails being comfortable, something that Autonomous is well-aware of. 

The company has already attracted customers like the high-profile Dell, SpaceX, and Tesla of the world, but also small businesses like PandaDoc, 3Q Digital, and TuSimple. The SmartDesk and its complements from Autonomous are penetrating the market for the contemporary office experience that has lagged in the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector. 

The more wide-scale adoption of smart furniture and accessories for the office can also induce meaningful change in other areas too. For example, spatially-challenged startups can complement clusters of automated, height-adjustable standing desks with vibrant wall colors conducive to teamwork or independent productivity. In addition, they can try some of the more exploratory products from Autonomous, like the ErgoStool and ErgoChair

What’s evident is that while the need for people to gather and collaborate in working environments may be becoming more digital, the physical office space is not going away anytime soon. However, the important change in the overall layout, flexibility, and design of modern offices can broach modifications to a more fluid work-life that is not composed of sitting in one chair, looking at one screen, surrounded by a cubicle.

People are simply more prone to walk around and be active with a balance of sitting and standing. A simple switch to an archaic office norm has surprising advantages.  

Autonomous is planning on their affordable prices bringing the type of dynamic office affluence of major tech companies to the small guy, and in the process, putting a dent in the public health crisis of physical inactivity. 

And hopefully, the movie Office Space will become a charming depiction of a forgotten and melancholy office environment a decade from now.

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