Ergonomics done right.®
November 15th, 2017

Does Every Employee Need a Sit-Stand Desk?

In Humantech’s position statement, Prolonged Sitting and Standing at Work, we recommend minimizing prolonged static sitting and standing through the use of “movement-promoting” workplace designs, equipment, and furniture options. Workers should also aim for a 1:1 ratio of seated to non-seated time during a work day.

So, does this mean that every office employee needs a sit-stand desk in order to achieve the recommended mix of sitting, standing, and movement throughout the day?

Not necessarily. Some employees have work tasks that require them to be up and about from their desks frequently. In these cases, a sit-stand desk may have limited impact on well-being. Here are some examples, and some tips on how you can promote more movement for these employees.

  • Employees who aren’t “tied” to their desks.  Line supervisors and safety professionals spend much of their time on the production floor and less time at their desks completing paperwork.  TIP: Arrange work schedules and breaks so that their sitting time is scattered throughout the day, and not in one big chunk before or after the shift.
  • Employees who attend a lot of meetings. These people aren’t at their desks very often because they are in a conference room. TIP: Install standing-height or sit-stand tables in conference rooms, so that employees can get their standing time in during meetings. Make sure to have tall stools available so employees have the option to sit. Also, try “walking meetings” for one-on-one or small group meetings.
  • Employees who travel.  They are on the road so often that they use their desk only a few days each month. TIP:  Have a few sit-stand hot desks so that road warriors have the option to stand when they’re in the office, without dedicating a sit-stand workstation for someone who won’t use it very much.

Don’t forget about the employees who are stuck at their desks for most of the day. A sit-stand desk can make a big impact on how much they can stand and move around during the day. If you have a limited budget, you might consider prioritizing sit-stand deployment to departments or positions where employees spend most of their time on their computers (e.g. finance, legal, or administrative positions).