Their survey of 2,000 office workers found that 45% of women and 37% of men spend less than thirty minutes a day up on their feet at work with more than half regularly eating their lunch at their desk. Nearly two-thirds were worried sitting at work was having a negative impact on their health.

Experts describe inactivity as "one of the biggest" challenges in health and wellbeing.  Heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancers and poor mental health have all been linked to sedentary behaviour with prolonged sitting thought to slow the metabolism and affect the way the body controls sugar levels, blood pressure and the breakdown of fat.

Lee Bolson, Managing Director of National Office Furniture Supplies, which is part of the Hallways Group based in Bournemouth, is fully behind the new campaign.

“This campaign is very personal to me. I suffered a heart attack at the age of 45 and underwent a quadruple bypass operation even though I was fit, active and an ex-footballer so I’m all for supporting a healthy lifestyle, particularly at work”.

“The idea is to get people out of their chairs and walking or standing more during their working day. Simple activities such as standing during phone calls, using the stairs rather than lifts, conducting standing or walking meetings, eating lunch away from your desk and walking to colleagues’ desks instead of phoning or emailing them are all small steps that would make a big difference to health and wellbeing”.

But it’s not just changes that workers can make.  

“There are some simple workplace design tweaks that employers can implement to help improve the health of their employees.  Responsible employers take their duty of care to their employees very seriously and we are seeing an increase in the number of businesses looking to modify their ways of working, for example, having adjustable height desks which allow workers to alternate between standing and sitting. We’re also witnessing a rise in the sale of ergonomic and orthopaedic chairs, which offer more support and improve posture”.

Other changes that could be made to working environments are interspersing high-top tables throughout the office to encourage impromptu conversations and standing, encourage walking more by placing printers, copiers and meeting rooms away from workstations so that employees have to walk some distance to get to them and allow periodic breaks to get employees out of their chairs more often.

“Employers should look to design their work space to encourage collaboration and conversation.  They should consider providing a staff room away from workstations to encourage staff to no longer eat lunch at their desks. Making this area inviting and appealing will encourage more healthy interaction between staff.  We even know of some local businesses that go so far as to include a fitness area for employees to use before or after work or subsidise fitness classes and gym memberships” remarked Lee.

 “We’re not talking about completely redesigning your office space.  A few small changes here and there will be enough to make most offices healthier. If a lot of changes or new furniture are needed, we would suggest making them in stages to fit with your budget. The key is to balance the life and health of your employees – one of your most important business assets – with your business goals and profitability”.

Demonstrating concern for the physical and mental health of your workers shouldn't just be seen as a legal duty - there's a clear business case too.  It can be a key factor in building trust and reinforcing your commitment to your workforce, and can help improve staff retention, boost productivity and help create greater employee engagement.

Businesses can get more information on the national On Your Feet Britain day by visiting: https://getbritainstanding.org/onyourfeet-britain/