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Standing vs. Sitting: Which Is Better in the Office?

Read on to understand the side effects of too much sitting, how to balance time spent standing vs. sitting, and how to support your body while standing at work.

If you have a desk job, you may understand what it's like to deal with neck and back pain after a long workday. Most office workers spend four to five days a week dealing with stiff and aching muscles, and it can begin to seem inevitable. But if you understand the benefits of standing vs. sitting at your desk, you can find a balance to keep good posture and combat the side effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
This guide breaks down the debate between standing vs. sitting in a work environment. Then, we'll look at the benefits of rotating between standing and sitting so you can make the most out of both.

The Implications of Sitting

According to the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, people spend more and more time sitting every year. From sitting at your desk for work to bingeing your favorite shows from your couch, it can seem impossible to avoid excess sitting time in our modern world. While there's nothing wrong with enjoying some time spent resting, you want to stay active enough to avoid the negative effects of sitting disease.
Sitting disease refers to the drawbacks and dangers of long periods of sedentary time spent sitting down on a near-daily basis. As most full-time employees spend over eight hours per day working — plus nearly three hours watching TV — reducing sitting time at work is a must. The sitting disease has been plaguing office workers since the 1960s, and health risks include:
  • Weakened leg and glute muscles
  • Increased risk of injury from falls and exercise
  • Weight gain and increased risk of obesity
  • Poor spinal health
  • Premature degeneration of the discs in your spine
  • Decreased mental wellbeing
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Increased risk of health problems like cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes
  • Varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis, and poor blood circulation
  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Increased atrophy of the medial temporal lobe, impacting memory and brain function
  • Mid- and lower-back pain and stiffness
  • Shoulder pain and stiffness
  • Earlier death


With so many dangers associated with sitting for long periods, you might be tempted to quit your day job and find work as a park ranger. But a sit-stand desk can help with many of these issues without a major career change.

The Benefits of Standing vs. Sitting

If you spend most of your workday sitting, you can probably relate to some of the drawbacks we highlighted above. Thankfully, spending more time standing can offer health benefits such as:


You don't have to stand up all day to reap these benefits either. A height-adjustable desk allows you to switch between sitting and standing as needed for physical comfort.

Ready to Switch to a Sit-Stand Workstation?

When switching to an adjustable desk, focus on workplace ergonomics and good posture for your sitting and standing setups. If you're switching between sitting and standing, but your posture and ergonomics are lacking, you might not get all the benefits you're hoping for.
Good sitting posture looks like this:
  • Screen at eye level
  • Keyboard roughly at elbow height
  • Knees and elbows bent at 90-degree angles
  • Spine erect with a natural curve
  • Shoulders back and down
  • Feet flat on the floor or on a footrest
Good standing desk posture looks like this:
  • Screen at eye level
  • Keyboard roughly at elbow height
  • Spine erect with a natural curve
  • Shoulders back and relaxed
  • Knees slightly bent to prevent locking knee joints
  • Feet on a level surface with an anti-fatigue or padded mat


Keeping good posture when you switch between standing and sitting helps protect your spine from bad habits like slouching and hunching.

How Often Should You Stand Instead of Sit?

The Mayo Clinic recommends taking breaks from sitting every 30 minutes to maintain your health and prevent the risks caused by sitting too much. Frequent breaks from sitting are the key to combating a sedentary lifestyle. Adjusting your desk from sitting to standing throughout the day helps you do this without getting in the way of your workflow.
To get the most from your standing desk, try switching between 30 minutes of standing and 30 minutes of sitting. However, if that's too much for you, start by standing for five minutes every 30 minutes, which is all that's needed to interrupt sitting and start protecting your health.
Ultimately, it's not so much about standing vs. sitting as it is about striking a balance between the two. To prevent soreness in the beginning, you might want to limit yourself to one or two 30-minute standing sessions and then add another 30-minute session each week. Keep easing in until you find a good mix between standing vs. sitting, whether it's 50/50 or something else.

Choose a Good Workstation

Purchasing good quality office furniture is an investment in your health and productivity, especially if you're buying it on your own dime. Ergonomics is about more than just posture — it's the science of creating a workplace that meets your body's needs.
Ergonomically designed furniture boasts features that allow you to adjust your desk and office chair to fit you. For a truly customizable office experience, we recommend a height-adjustable standing desk that allows for quick transitions between sitting and standing.
Our Standing Desk is customizable with different sizes, desktop finishes, and leg colors to choose from. It features dual motors and a three-stage lift for quick, smooth transitions between sitting, standing, and back again. You can set and save your optimal heights with precision, creating the ultimate foundation for healthy work.
You'll enjoy thoughtful details like easy cable organization, a stain-resistant tabletop, and beveled edges to make your workday feel more luxurious. All while lowering the health risks of a sedentary lifestyle and making movement a part of your daily work routine.

Tips for Standing at Work

The debate between standing vs. sitting isn't always about what's healthier — often, it's rooted in convenience and habit. These tips can help you make, and maintain, the change and protect your health:
  • Introduce your standing desk slowly to prevent excessive soreness and fatigue.
  • Try standing while checking your emails or making phone calls.
  • Take active walking and stretching breaks in between chunks of sitting and standing.
  • Use an adjustable monitor arm to keep your screen at eye level.
  • Stand on a padded anti-fatigue mat to protect your joints.
  • Use an ergonomic chair to protect your spine while sitting.
  • Rely on a timer to remind you when it's time to switch between standing or sitting or take a break.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, and take your shoe height into account when adjusting your workspace.
  • Allow yourself to fidget and move around as much as needed to feel comfy.


We recommend talking to your doctor about using a standing desk if you have preexisting health conditions. Likewise, stop using and consult your healthcare professional if you experience pain or discomfort while standing.

Sit Less, Stand More

Sitting all day isn't good for anyone, and the less of it you can do, the better. A height-adjustable standing desk makes it easier to sit less and stand more, reducing your risk of sitting disease and its related health risks. As you switch between these two positions, remember to look for the right balance for your comfort and work style.
If you'd like help choosing ergonomic furniture to outfit your office, our Design My Office quiz can do the work for you. We'll ask you questions and create personalized recommendations for everything from a small home office to large corporate workspaces.

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