It’s On Your Feet Britain day – a national awareness day aimed at desk-workers. Floyd Sayers, an active working specialist based in Norwich, is calling for people to make time to move more – and to get hula hooping next month
Every 40 minutes, in Flomotion Studio in Norwich, a timer goes off. And every 40 minutes, it reminds active working specialist Floyd Sayers to move away from his desk and do two minutes of activity, whether that is bouncing up and down on a mini trampoline or skipping; running on the spot or doing some weights. Why? Because Floyd is a huge advocate of moving more during the workday. But it wasn’t always like that for Floyd, as he says: ‘After working as a graphic designer and hunched over a desk for more than 30 years, I developed desk-induced back pain, sciatica, poor posture and fatigue.’ He said to his partner Bev: ‘I can’t carry on like this.’
After researching solutions – and reading books such as James A. Levine, MD’s Get Up! Why Your Chair is Killing You And What You Can Do About It – Floyd discovered sit-stand desks and began working with his daughter, Amber, then an A Level student, to design their own prototype. The idea for Flomotion Studio was born. ‘We knew she was going to study Product Design so we had her here for a year,’ says Floyd. ‘It was great to have a young person’s view on everything.’
He adds: ‘With an adjustable sit-stand desk and an ergonomic chair, I quickly started to feel the benefits of alternating my sitting and standing and adding more movement into my working day.’
Today, On Your Feet Day, the specialists in active working are encouraging Norfolk and Suffolk’s workforce to make time to move for better health and wellbeing. The studio team is made up of Floyd’s partner, Bev Grice, (‘Flomotion wouldn’t exist without her,’ says Floyd); and Jacob Marsden, who also happens to play for Chelmsford City Football Club as a goalkeeper. Outside of work, Floyd is a big fan of Qigong.
Research shows that regular movement throughout the day leads to better physical and mental health, increased motivation and energy, improved concentration and fewer aches and pains. But with around two million desk-based workers across Britain, sedentary work habits are the cause of many preventable health and muscular-skeletal problems.
Floyd is keen to point out that active working means more than standing up periodically. ‘We encourage people to consider how mind, body and workspace combine to make your working environment more positive, productive and uplifting. Whether that’s the colour you paint your office walls, the incorporation of living plants, the positioning of your furniture, the organisation of your workspace and, of course, the amount of active movement you weave into your day.’ A visit to the studio in Capital House, Heigham Street, in Norwich, and you can see that he advocates biophilic design – a concept used within the building industry to increase occupant connectivity to the natural environment.
Floyd is also a firm believer in the advice of Peter Opsvik (father of ergonomic furniture and the designer behind the classic HÅG Capisco chair for active working) that, ‘The best posture is the next one’.
Floyd is activiely ‘kicking back’ against sedentary work culture, and noticed more people taking an interest in Flomotion desks during lockdown. ‘People were working from home and deciding to invest in proper, ergonomic furniture.’
He says: ‘The worst thing any of us can do is to stay in one position for an extended period. Subjecting muscle or connective tissue to stress over time will lead to increased strain and muscular skeletal issues and pain. That’s why it’s critical to adjust your posture and working position regularly.”
So, what can office workers or anyone working from home do to get moving more? ‘Stand up to work for 20-30 minutes, walk around your office, lean forward on your chair or have a dance break: making time to move and allow your body to recalibrate is so important,’ says Floyd.
‘Being conscious of the way you breathe is also a big part of our philosophy. We introduce our customers to stretching and deep breathing techniques because these allow your body to fully exchange incoming oxygen with outgoing carbon dioxide, slow the heartbeat, lower or stabilise blood pressure and lower stress.’
Recently, a 22-year-old living and working in London recently purchased one of his desks. ‘The message is getting down to that age group, which is great,’ says Floyd.
He turns 63 next month. How much better does he feel these days? ‘I feel great. I would probably say I feel better than when I was in my 40s and 50s.’
More movement tips from Flomotion to make active working work for you, throughout the day:
Start the day with stretches. Spend 5 or 10 minutes gently stretching to loosen, realign and strengthen your muscles and improve your circulation, ready for the day ahead.
Make time to move. Set an alarm to for every 40 minutes to remind you to move for two minutes.
And breathe. Focus on your breathing at regular intervals throughout the day. Feel your lungs and chest filling with air and then control your breath as you release it slowly.
Before you start a job, check your posture. Are you sitting or standing comfortably?
Have standing or walking meetings. Not only will it keep you moving, you will probably find meetings become more efficient.
Choose the stairs rather than the lift whenever possible.
Check your kit. Are your screens at the right height? Are you using a wrist rest? Are you using the right chair?
If you drive to work, don’t choose the closest carpark to your office. If you get the bus, get off one step earlier.
Create a playlist of the tunes guaranteed to get you moving and listen to music whenever you can. You’ll soon feel your hips and shoulders moving even if you’re sitting down.
Keep hydrated. Just as you remind yourself to move, remind yourself to drink water during the day.
From May 1-22, Flomotion is inviting people throughout the UK to get involved in its Hula Hoop Challenge, in a bid to get us all feeling healthier, happier and more active at work. To take part, record yourself hula hooping during the working day for between 15 and 30 seconds (whether that’s at home, in the office or wherever work is for you!) and post your video on Instagram, tagging in @flomotion_studio. It’s open to anyone – whether you have mastered hula hooping or not. Have fun, get creative, and get on your feet! If you work in a team, encourage your colleagues to take part too. Everyone who posts a video of themselves hula hooping will be entered into a free draw, with the chance to win a Flomotion sit-stand desk worth £650. Follow @flomotion_studio on Instagram or visit www.flomotionstudio.co.uk for more information and full terms and conditions.
Featured image of Floyd Sayers – picture credit: Jacob Marsden