Why Are Sit-Stand Desks Important?

In the US alone, 80+ Million deskbound workers spend an average of 75% of their day (6.3 hours) at their desk. Multi-tasking is the answer to this issue. A sit-stand desk gives employees the chance to stand while still being able to work. This way, workers get an opportunity to incorporate the healthy movement that reduces physical and mental fatigue without falling behind on productivity.

How Do They Help Productivity?

Research from the Center For Ergonomic Research at Miami University, proves that standing while working increases productivity through a reduction in work break time; through fewer and shorter breaks throughout the day.  Analysis demonstrated that standing while working (stand-up working breaks from sitting) can substitute for the traditional work break (away from the work area). Non-Standing participants took an average of 47% more work breaks than the Standing desk users and the average duration of each work break was 56% longer.

Research from the JOEN shows that the more health risks employees face, the less productive they are in the workplace. Employers simply can’t afford to not invest in worker well-being. Because of this, integrating sit-stand desks in the office is an effective business decision.

How Do They Help Health?

Between driving, watching TV and working in an office, it seems people can’t escape the seated position. Without change, the population will face the negative health consequences of this sedentary lifestyle.

According to research from the Annals of Internal Medicine, sitting all day increases one’s chance of developing deadly diseases. This includes conditions like cardiovascular disease, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes. This trend proves true even if someone exercises, though participating in physical activity lowers the risk for sedentary-related health problems.

Even more concerning is the short amount of time it takes for the unfortunate effects of sitting to set in. Data from the Mayo Clinic noted that remaining sedentary for only two hours a day leads to a 50% greater risk for mortality. This duration is also linked to a 125% increased risk for cardiovascular events like heart attacks and chest pain.

The only way to totally eliminate the chances of developing deadly diseases from sitting is to avoid this position for long periods of time. Of course, this adjustment is challenging for those who work office jobs, but it’s possible with the use of sit-stand desks. Beyond avoiding the negative health consequences of sitting, standing at one’s desk can lead to more energy and reduced back pain. Specifically, participants in a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine who alternated sitting and standing every 30 minutes experienced these benefits while still remaining productive on the job.

Featured Standing Desk Studies

Too much sitting: a novel and important predictor of chronic disease risk

  • Authors: N Owen, A Bauman, W Brown
  • Setting: Office
  • Source: British Journal of Sports Medicine - 2017

Call Center Productivity Over 6 Months Following a Standing Desk Intervention

  • Authors: Garret G, Benden M, Mehta P, Pickens A, Peres C, Zhao H
  • Setting: Office
  • Source: Transactions on Occupational Ergonomics - 2016

Associations of total amount and patterns of sedentary behaviour with diabetes and metabolic syndrome

  • Authors: van der Berg, Stehouwer CD, Bosma H, van der Velde, Willems PJ, Savelberg HH, et al
  • Setting: Non-specific
  • Source: Diabetologia - 2016

Standing Desks & Sedentary Behavior: A Systematic Review

  • Authors: Minges KE, Chao AM, Irwin ML, Owen N, Park C, Whittemore R, Salmo J
  • Setting: Classroom
  • Source: American Academy of Pediatrics - 2016

Impact of a Sit-Stand Workstation on Chronic Low Back Pain

  • Authors: Ognibene GT, Torres W, von Eyben R, Horst KC
  • Setting: Office
  • Source: Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine - 2016

Standing Up for Learning: Pilot Investigation on Neurocognitive Benefits of Stand-Biased Desks

  • Authors: Mehta RK, Shortz AE, Benden ME
  • Setting: Classroom
  • Source: International Journal of Environmental Research Public Health - 2015

Reducing Children’s Classroom Sitting Time Using Sit-to-Stand Desks

  • Authors: Clemes SA, Barber SE, Bingham DD, Ridgers ND, Fletcher E, Pearson N, Salmon J, Dunstan
  • Setting: Classroom
  • Source: Oxford Journal of Public Health - 2015

Patterns and Sustainability of Sit-Stand Workstation Use in a Typical Office Workplace

  • Authors: Mair JL, Nugent C, Cleland I, Schmitz C, Murphy MH
  • Setting: Office
  • Source: Ulster University - 2015

Sit, Stand, Learn: Using Workplace Wellness Sit-Stand Results to Improve Student Behavior and Learning

  • Authors: Katz A, Mulder B, Pronk N
  • Setting: Classroom
  • Source: American College of Sports Medicine: Health & Fitness Journal - 2015

Impact of a Stand-Biased Desk on Energy Expenditure and Physical Activity for Elementary Students

  • Authors: Benden ME, Zhao H, Jeffrey CE, Wendel ML, Blake JJ
  • Setting: Classroom
  • Source: Int’l Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health - 2014

Using Sit-Stand Workstations to Decrease Sedentary Time in Office Workers

  • Authors: Dutta N, Koepp GA, Stovitz SD, Levine JA, Pereira MA
  • Setting: Office
  • Source: Int’l Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health - 2014

Avoiding Sedentary Behavior Might Lengthen Telomeres: Secondary Outcomes Physical Activity in Older People

  • Authors: Sjögren P, Fisher R, Kallings L, Svenson U, Roos G, Hellénius ML
  • Setting: Non-specific
  • Source: British Journal of Sports Medicine - 2014

Iterative Development of Stand Up Australia: Multi-component Intervention to Reduce Workplace sitting

  • Authors: Neuhaus M, Healy GN, Fjeldsoe BS, Lawler S, Owen N, Dunstan DW, LaMontagne AD, Eakin EG
  • Setting: Office
  • Source: Journal of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity - 2014

Workplace Sitting and Height-Adjustable Workstations, A Randomized Controlled Trial

  • Authors: Neuhaus M, Healy GN, Dunstan DW, Owen N, Eakin EG
  • Setting: Office
  • Source: American Journal of Preventive Medicine - 2014

The Effects of a Non-Sedentary Workspace on Information Elaboration and Group Performance

  • Authors: Knight AP, Baer M
  • Setting: Classroom
  • Source: SAGE Journals - 2014

Evaluation of Sit-stand Workstations in an Office Setting

  • Authors: Lee E. F. Graves, Rebecca C. Murphy, Sam O. Shepherd, Josephine Cabot, and Nicola D. Hopkins
  • Setting: Office
  • Source: BMC Public Health - 2015

Reducing Sitting Time in Office Workers: Short-Term Efficacy of a Multicomponent Intervention

  • Authors: Healy GN, Eakin EG, Lamontagne AD, Owen N, EA Winkler, Wiesner G, Gunning L, Neuhaus M, Lawler S, Fjeldsoe BS, Dunstan DW
  • Setting: Office
  • Source: Preventative Medicine - 2013

Minimal Intensity Physical Activity Improves Insulin Action and Plasma Lipids More than Shorter Periods of Exercise in Sedentary Subjects

  • Authors: Duvivier B, Schaper NC, Bremers MA, van Crombrugge G, Menheere P, Kars M, Savelberg H
  • Setting: Non-specific
  • Source: PLOS one - 2013

Using Stand/Sit Workstations in Classrooms: Lessons Learned from a Pilot Study

  • Authors: Blake JJ, Benden ME, Wendel ML
  • Setting: Classroom
  • Source: Journal of Public Health Management & Practice - 2012

Sit-Stand Workstations: A Pilot Intervention to Reduce Office Sitting Time

  • Authors: Alkihajah TA, Reeves MM, Eakin EG, Winkler EA, Owen N, Healy GN
  • Setting: Office
  • Source: American Journal of Preventative Medicine - 2012

Patterns of Objectively Measured Prolonged Sedentary Time and Physical Activity at Work

  • Authors: Thorp AA, Healy GN, Clark BK, Gardiner PA, Winkler EA, Owen N, Dunstan DW
  • Setting: Office
  • Source: The University of Queensland

The Impact of Stand-Biased Desks in Classrooms on Calorie Expenditure in Children

  • Authors: Benden ME, Blake JJ, Wendel ML, Huber JC
  • Setting: Classroom
  • Source: American Journal of Public Health - 2011

Reducing Occupational Sitting Time and Improving Worker Health

  • Authors: Pronk NP, Katz AS, Lowry M, Payfer JR
  • Setting: Office
  • Source: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention - 2011

Leisure Time Spent Sitting in Relation to Total Mortality in a Prospective Cohort of US Adults

  • Authors: Patel A, Bernstein L, Deka A, Spencer Feigelson H, Campbell PT, Gapstur SM, Colditz GA, Thun MJ
  • Setting: Home
  • Source: American Journal of Epidemiology - 2010

Participatory Workplace Interventions Can Reduce Sedentary Time for Office Workers

  • Authors: Sharon Parry, Leon Straker, Nicholas D. Gilson, Anne J. Smith
  • Setting: Office
  • Source: PLOS one - 2013

Stand Up Australia - Sedentary Behaviour in Workers

  • Authors: Thorp AA, Dunstan DW, Clark BK, Gardiner PA, Healy GN, Keegel T, Owen N, Winkler EA
  • Setting: Office
  • Source: Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Cancer Prevention Research Centre, The University of Queensland, Brisbane - 2009

Deleterious Associations of Sitting Time and Television Viewing Time With Cardiometabolic Risk Biomarkers

  • Authors: Thorp AA, Owen N, Healy GN, Salmon J, Ball K, Shaw JE, Zimmet PZ, Dunstan DW
  • Setting: Home
  • Source: American Diabetes Association - 2010

Sitting Time and Mortality from All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer

  • Authors: Peter T. K , Timothy C, Cora L, Craig A, Claud B
  • Setting: Non-specific
  • Source: American College of Sports Medicine - 2009

Too little exercise and too much sitting: Inactivity physiology and the need for new recommendations on sedentary behavior

  • Authors: Hamilton MT, Healy GN, Dunstan DW, Zderic TW, Owen N
  • Setting: Non-specific
  • Source: Cardiovascular Risk Reports - 2008