Do Sit-Stand Desks Help Improve Health and Productivity?

Adjustable sit-stand desks have slowly become more popular in recent years, and they aim to help office workers avoid sedentary behavior.

Do Sit-Stand Desks Help Improve Health and Productivity?

This post is based on the 2021 article from the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health


Adjustable sit-stand desks have slowly become more popular in recent years, and they aim to help office workers avoid sedentary behavior. Numerous studies have adequately demonstrated the health risks that prolonged sitting can bring about. Over-sitting throughout the workday not only can lead to health concerns, but also negatively impacts work productivity, engagement, and can lead to presenteeism. Sit-stand desks offer a simple avenue to break up long periods of sitting without interrupting the workday.

Sit-Stand Desk Use

The popularity and acceptance of these desks varies across the globe due to a variety of cultural factors. In a progressive and health-focused region like Scandinavia, there is widespread acceptance and use of these desks. In a more conservative and traditional culture such as Japan, the desks have been slower to gain traction. Many people have difficulty breaking through psychological barriers related to such a large change to their daily routine. Some experience feeling self conscious about standing at their computer desk. However, after a brief period of use, people tend to adapt to the change and forget about any feelings of strangeness.

Key Points

A 2021 study that took place in Japan found that utilizing sit-stand desks positively impacted office workers' health, energy levels, job satisfaction, and productivity. Here are some key takeaways from the study:

  • Sitting at a desk all day contributes to dangerous sedentary behavior.
  • Over-sitting can cause mental and physical health concerns.
  • Older and middle-aged workers experience more negative effects of over-sitting compared to their younger coworkers.
  • Middle-aged workers found that cutting down sitting time improved their energy levels and interest in their work.
  • Workers reported that shorter sitting times led to less overall fatigue.
  • Workers’ subjective health improved with the use of sit-stand desks, with many reporting a decrease in neck and shoulder pain.
  • Less fatigue, less pain, and improved work engagement increased employees’ job satisfaction.
  • Higher job satisfaction is closely associated with productivity.
  • By decreasing the negative effects of over-sitting, workers’ mental and physical health improves, thus secondarily increasing productivity.


This study found that sit-stand desks can be an easy way to neutralize the negative effects of working at a desk. By standing more and sitting less, workers experience better physical and mental health, see an increase in their own professional performance, and feel better about themselves and their job. If you have concerns about switching to a sit-stand desk, know that there may be an adjustment period, but it will likely pay off with positive results once you break through any mental blocks about using one.


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Ma, J., Ma, D., Li, Z., & Kim, H. (2021). Effects of a Workplace Sit-Stand Desk Intervention on Health and Productivity. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(21), 11604.