Irish people working from home are sitting down for nearly three hours longer every day
Over half of Irish people are sitting down for longer while working from home than they would in their place of work.
More than half of Irish people working from home estimate that they are now sitting down for an average of two hours and 40 minutes longer than they would at their place of work.
According to an Ipsos MRBI survey commissioned by the Irish Heart Foundation, more than half of all workers in Ireland have been able to work remotely since restrictions to combat the spread of Covid-19 were introduced in March.
While that has benefits such as spending more time with family and avoiding the commute to the office, it has also led to a significant increase in the amount of time employees are remaining sedentary on a daily basis.
The Irish Heart Foundation is warning of the dangers of sitting down for long periods and is calling on workers to move for a minute each hour during the working day.
Employers are also being asked to take measures to intervene, such as shortening the duration of video conference meetings, which have become a necessary way for employees to interact in recent months.
“Sitting at work all day can increase a person’s risk of heart disease and stroke, and it may counteract the benefits of their regular exercise,” said Tara Curran, Physical Activity Coordinator with the Irish Heart Foundation.
“As working from home and video meetings become the norm, workers are increasingly tied to their laptops for hour after hour.
“We are urging them to get up and move regularly during their working day and would like to see employers make an effort to shorten meeting times on video conferencing.”
As part of the Escape Your Chair Heart Month campaign, supported by the HSE, the Irish Heart Foundation is calling on the nation to get up and move for a minute each hour during the day as a way to kick-start their daily exercise and to take the Escape Your Chair challenge.
To that end, the foundation has created a range of resources to help people move more and sit less, including an online sitting time calculator, a 'Deskercise' video and a training guide to walk or run 5k, all of which are available on EscapeYourChair.ie.
“Workers who find themselves sitting down for longer can kick-start their daily exercise by making sure to stand up and move away from the desk for a minute each hour during the working day,” said campaign ambassador Karl Henry.
“Being physically active can release endorphins that can help relieve stress, boost mood, and improve self-esteem.
“When we find ourselves in a stressful situation at work, a quick stroll can help clear our heads while also helping our hearts and reducing our sitting time.”
The public is also being asked to join the Irish Heart Foundation in marking World Heart Day on Tuesday 29 September by hosting a virtual or socially distant Stand Up to Heart Disease Coffee Morning.
Funds raised will help the charity’s work in fighting cardiovascular disease in communities and schools and in providing support services to those living with heart disease and stroke.
More information is available on The Irish Heart Foundation website.