Sit-to-stand desks: Who needs one?

With the increasing popularity of sit-to-stand tables, people frequently ask, “Who needs one? How long should I stand? How long should I sit?” There is a great deal of uncertainty regarding sit-to-stand tables, and the confusion about the best practice is understandable, considering that the technology is relatively new, and studies are continuing to be conducted.

It's no secret that standing and moving around at times during work is important. Movement is crucial to get blood circulation to your muscles. You don’t need to do vigorous exercise - even just walking around is sufficient.

On the other hand, too much standing can have adverse health effects as well. It's all about balance, and every individual is different. The correct ratio of sitting to standing will vary per person.

Knowing that sit-to-stand desks and workstations have been shown to have health benefits, the question is: Does every employee need one?

Workers come in many varieties. Some are tied to their desk, while others only work there sporadically. A fixed-height desk may be suitable for employees who are not at their desk frequently, because they likely get posture variety and movement in other ways.

Collaborative meeting areas can give these employees a destination to stand and encourage employees to move around. It would be an extra benefit if the collaborative areas included furniture designed to support standing postures. An employer could install counter-height desks in common areas so that people can use them when they want to stand. This is a good solution for companies on a tight budget that cannot afford to outfit every workstation with a sit-to-stand surface.

On the other hand, an employee who is consistently at their workstation may benefit greatly from the ability to change posture at their desk. A height-adjustable table, such as the Haworth Planes table, can help contribute to their health and overall well-being.

Planes table from Haworth

Planes table from Haworth

Understanding the dynamics of sit-to-stand work is an ongoing study. More extensive and long-term research is needed before we can fully understand the implications of this new way of working, and how it affects our health and productivity in the office environment. It is important for employers to have a conversation with their employees about how they want to work. In the end, it may be that not everyone gets an adjustable work surface, but some creative sit-to-stand solutions can help employees be happier and healthier at work.



The Perfect Sit-To Stand Ratio by Dr. Lauren Gant, Ph.D.
Who Gets an Adjustable Worksurface by Dr. Lauren Gant, Ph.D.
Standing Postures at Work: A Research Brief by Beck Johnson - Haworth

Photos from 

Products, PeopleDoug Williams