Sit-Stand Desks: The Pros and Cons

Business woman considering a sit-stand desk

Should I get a sit-stand desk?

Well, it depends.

The average worker can spend up to 75% of their day in a sitting or reclining posture.

Increased sedentary postures can increase the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders and chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Musculoskeletal disorders make up 15-22% of workplace sick leave and have a negative impact on morale, productivity and well-being.

Studies show that those who use sit-stand desks may be in a sedentary position for up to 30-120 minutes less per day than those that sit at a conventional desk, and reducing sedentary behaviour may help improve workplace productivity.

When might a sit-stand desk be right for you?

If you have a musculoskeletal complaint that is aggravated by prolonged sitting, or if your job involves sitting most of the day and doesn’t have many tasks that require you to move away from your desk then a sit-stand desk might be right for you.

However not all musculoskeletal disorders will benefit from a sit-stand desk, some may even be aggravated by prolonged standing and there has been little research into the long term benefits. There are many other aspects that need to be considered when deciding if a sit-stand desk is going to be beneficial to you and which type will be best suited.


    • Height adjustable desks can be set at a height for sitting and standing tasks that are individual specific
    • Opportunity to switch between sitting and standing throughout the work day
    • May be helpful to some workers with specific musculoskeletal complaints
    • May be helpful from a health perspective in reducing sitting time throughout the day.


      • More expensive than a regular desk
      • Office design can mean sit-stand desks may not be practicable
      • Retrofit-style sit-stand desks may not support worker’s needs with regards to set-up, desk accessories and job tasks
      • Education is required for workers using this equipment; failure to educate may result in misuse or inappropriate use
      • May aggravate or increase one’s risk of developing musculoskeletal complaints.

      If you do have a sit-stand desk here our some tips for using it correctly:

        • Change postures regularly between sitting and standing
        • Start if standing for short periods and gradually increase the standing time
        • Remove any trip hazards when standing
        • Ensure the desk is set up correctly for your height
        • Avoid awkward and uncomfortable standing postures
        • Wear appropriate footwear.

        If you would like to find out more about sit-stand desks talk to our team of practitioners to see if it is right for you!


        Williams, H. (2019). Standing Orders. Osteo Life, (Summer), 30-32. 

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