To Sit? Or Not to Sit? (How About Doing a Little of Both!)


The question of whether you should sit or stand during your work day is a mighty hot topic these days!  In fact, we get asked about this on a daily basis!   Employees like the option, many employers are skeptical, and yet other companies make sit/stand the standard set-up!  Some health care professionals assert that too much standing can lead to back, leg and foot issues, yet others tout studies which proclaim that too much sitting cuts years off our lives!!  So, who’s right, and what’s the best thing to do?  Sit?  Stand?  Well, at PBE, we encourage a little of both!

Doing the Sit/Stand Dance:

Sit/Stand desks are all the rage these days,  and for good reason – they allow you to alternate between sitting and standing throughout your work day.   A sit/stand desk can help ease back discomfort, give you more energy (mentally and physically) and it’s been proven that you can burn more calories during the day!   However, sit/stand desks can be problematic and costly if you don’t know how to best use them and where to find options that won’t break the bank!

So let’s start with some easy tips to get  set up with a sit/stand desk:

1. Height Adjustable Desks:  These can be purchased with the base and desktop bundled together, or you can purchase the base only, allowing you to use your existing desktop which can dramatically cut down costs. You can find crank, electric and hydraulic versions on the market.  Some of our favorites include:

2. Sit/Stand Units That Mount to Your Current Desk: If you elect to use your desk as is, there are some great accessories available that will easily transform your desk to a sit/stand set up.

Sit/Stand Desk Mount Options: There are new sit/stand desks on the market today that mount directly onto your desk.   With the touch of your fingers, you can raise your keyboard and monitor to accommodate a standing position and just as easily, revert back to sitting. The cost is very reasonable and takes about 15 minutes to assemble.

Check out: Ergotron’s Desk Mount Sit/Stand Desks & Varidesk’s Latest Offerings.

Keyboard Tray & Monitor Arm:  This option while a little clumsy, can do the trick.  It requires a keyboard tray that can rise above your current desk height accompanied by a monitor arm to be able to adjust your monitor(s) accordingly.  Some of our favorites include:

3. Make Shift Set Ups: On a budget?  No problem!  Here are some creative ways to get set up:

Fixed Standing Desk: In order to configure your current desk to accommodate standing,  the rule of thumb is to set the height one to two inches lower than the tip of your elbow when standing.  If you have a standing desk only, it is helpful to get a sit/stand chair (labstool style) to take the load off of your feet during the day.

Raising Your Keyboard & Monitor:  If you want to keep things simple and on the cheap,  try using a box or platform to raise up your keyboard and monitor when standing and removing them while sitting.

Sitting Pretty:

If you elect to sit when you work, (which is a perfectly good choice),  there are still ample opportunities to work in standing during your day.

  1. Set a break timer at least once an hour to get out of your chair, stretch and walk around.
  2. When you read e-mails, or something on line or talk on the phone, stand up!  Just because you have a chair doesn’t mean you have to be super-glued to it all day long!
  3. Drink lots of water!  (This works wonders!)

Posture Makes Perfect:

Last but not least, we would not feel right if we ended the discussion here without talking about what seems to be glaringly absent from the debate which is the actual WAY that you sit and stand.  This is a crucial factor when it comes to staying comfortable during your workday and making either option work for you.

It’s amazing how many ways there are to get into compromising positions with our bodies when working!  Most of the time, this is done in the name of writing an e-mail, checking something on-line, using a laptop, notebook, iPad, iPhone or whatever other gadgets and gismos have become part of your working arsenal.

So, here are some things to pay attention to when you are sitting:

Are you a sloucher?  Do you turtle neck? Do you low ride in your chair? Do you sit on one foot? Does your chair provide enough support for your back?  Do you even use the back of your chair?

And when standing:

Do you lean into one hip more than the other?  Do you slouch?  Where’s your head?  Are you leaning on the table?  Is your back tired?

Whatever your answer, here are some tips to help you sit and stand at ease:

Healthy Sitting:

  • Keep your feet on the floor or footrest (avoid things like perching your feet on the castors or crossing your ankles)
  • Adjust your chair height so that your knees are level with or slightly lower than your hips
  • Sit with a neutral pelvis (that means sitting directly on your sits bones)
  • If you use the backrest on your chair, make sure there is good lumbar support.  If you prefer to sit on the edge of your seat, then having a neutral pelvis and relaxed back (no overarching) is that much more important!
  • Keep your shoulders from rounding forward and keep your neck and head in a balanced and upright position over your spine.

Healthy Standing

  • Wear comfortable shoes!!!  We cannot be stress this enough!  That means shoes that have support and some sort of cushioning.  That means thick rubber soles or inserts like Happy Feet or Doctor Scholls to help support your feet.  Your feet, knees and back will thank you!
  • Consider standing on an anti fatigue mat. If you alternate between sitting and standing, get a mat with beveled edges so your chair can easily roll onto and off ot it.
  • Make use of either a foot bar or foot rest (even a small box will do).  Try  alternating between standing on both feet, resting one foot on your support and then switching to the other.  Your lower back be grateful for this!)
  • Be mindful of your standing posture. It is just as easy to slouch, round your shoulders and jut your head forward when standing!

So, when it comes to sitting vs. standing, what camp are you in?  Please share your solutions, equipment favorites, things that work and that don’t.  And we revel in questions!  So please join the conversation…. we want to hear from you!

Vivienne and Andrew,




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