From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Sit/Stand Workstations

Dan MacLeod, CPE, MA, MPH
It is best to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day There is no single posture that is correct for a full workday. The body needs to move and change positions.

Principles affected

Related pages



Either sitting for an entire work day or standing for the whole day can create fatigue, which in turn can lead to discomfort and loss of productivity. A traditional way to provide relief is to design the workstation to allow alternating between sitting and standing.

This approach is part of a larger issue of providing ability to change positions. There is no single posture that is correct for a full workday — people need to move and change positions.


Design workstations and seating to allow change of posture.

Ideas and Options

Adjustable risers

Adjustable1 Adjustable2
“Taskmate” Milk crate to convert sitting to standing height


Probably the least expensive way to provide ability to switch between sitting and standing is to use a riser. The best approach is to use devices designed for this purpose, since they tend to be easier to use, more stable, and more professional looking. Employees often spontaneously use a box or milk crate to raise their work to standing height, which is acceptable but can involve extra effort to switch back and forth and can sometimes be unstable and look inappropriate.

Standing height with tall stool

Fixed-height work surface at standing height

Another approach that can be inexpensive, at least when setting up a new area, is to use standing-height workstations and then provide a tall stool. Thus the employees can both stand and sit throughout the day.

Adjustable height benches

DieCart1 SitStand3
This die cart workstationallows quick change between sitting and standing Pneumatic spring lifts provide nearly instantaneous change (office or industry)

The same features that are used to adjust workstations to accommodate individual height and task differences can also be used to alternate between sitting and standing. Adjustable-height sit-stand workstations are often marketed to office environments, but can be used in light assembly as well.

Adjustable3 Adjustable4
Sitting height Standing height

Another example from light manufacturing. This bench is operated by electric motor (

Examples from 18th and 19th century

HighDesk Jefferson
High desk used with tall stool Thomas Jefferson’s adjustable desk

Alternating between sitting and standing is not particularly new. In the 19th century (and perhaps earlier), the most common type of desk was designed for standing height, with a tall stool provided to allow changing to a sitting position. Thomas Jefferson invented a desk that adjusted from sitting to standing heights.

Comment on anti-fatigue mats

Stool fitted with spring wheels to facilitate use on mats

There is a potential conflict between (a) using an anti-fatigue mat when standing,, and (b) sliding a stool back and forth on the mat. The best way to resolve this conflict is to use decking that provides resilience for the legs and feet, but which is smooth to allow chairs and carts (see flooring).