Standing vs Sitting Desks – The Pros and Cons for busy Office Staff

Standing vs Sitting Desks - The Pros and Cons for busy Office Staff

Does your job have you on your feet all day, or instead seated for hours on end? If you work in an office, it’s probably the latter – and that could give you cause for concern, considering some worrying reports about the impact that sustained periods of sitting down could have on your health.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has even called sitting “the new cancer”, as the Independent reported. All workers at the firm’s “Apple Park” have been given standing desks, but the merits could be mixed…

Sitting for long periods can adversely affect workers’ health

That’s get one thing out of the way first: yes, spending excessive time sitting could harm your health more than spending the same amount of time standing, as this seems to be backed by research.

Dr Peter Ottone, a New Jersey chiropractor, has called sitting for extended periods “damaging to the spine”, due to “the sustained contracture of the abdominal and hamstring muscles and the imbalance this creates affecting the mechanics of the lower back,” in words quoted by Healthline.

Standing can help workers to lose weight

Another good reason to take up standing desks: the more that employees stand, the more weight they could shift. One study in the European  Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that, compared to sitting, standing sees workers burn 0.15 more calories per minute.

The study’s senior author, Dr Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, attributes this to the fact that “the number and volume of the muscles that an individual uses [while] standing are higher than sitting”.

The right seating can improve ergonomics

One good incentive to still invest in sitting desks is being able to get your hands on seating designed ergonomically for your workers’ long-term comfort. However, if workers are encouraged to stand, they would have to be careful how they do stand, as a chair would be taken out of the equation.

The perfect solution for ensuring proper positioning of the feet while standing is wearing shoe inserts, such as the ones that Protalus offers.

“Just like sitting and leaning forward for extended periods can increase pressure on the back, the same applies to standing with poor ergonomics,” Ottone has warned.

Standing desks could encourage people to move around

Despite the publicised merits of standing desks, benefits to be reaped from simply standing can be overestimated. Still, such desks could encourage your workers to take advantageous breaks.

“Quite a few studies have shown that a single day of breaking up sitting with standing or short walks seems to have a beneficial effect on health parameters like blood sugar control, blood pressure and feelings of pain and fatigue,” observes Bethany Barone Gibbs, PhD, a University of Pittsburgh assistant professor.

Could “sit-stand desks” provide the best of both worlds?

Sitting or standing for too long can give rise to conditions including carpal tunnel syndrome and shoulder, back and neck pain. Therefore, could “sit-stand desks” – which can be adjusted to suit either sitting or standing – provide a happy medium?

One Fast Company article suggests so – and, with design expertise sourced through a site like, you might be able to fit these desks seamlessly into your workplace.

Editorial Team
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  3. meet says:

    thank you for sharing it will help others to prevent the confusion of standing vs sitting desk

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  5. pooja mule says:

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  16. krishna says:

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  17. divya raletta says:

    Wow!!! you shared very unique, important and useful information with us..I think it is best for those who work continuously 8-10 hours in sitting or either standing position..
    keep sharing keep posting..:)

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  21. Saagarika says:

    It clears my doubt between these two. Thanks

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