Standing Desk

There is considerable evidence to suggest that prolonged sitting is detrimental to health, even when people exercise regularly, prolonged sitting increases the risk of illness and disease. Conversely, there are many benefits to sitting less and moving more,  including reduced risk of chronic diseases mentioned above, improved weight management, and reduced risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders.

The Heart Foundation’s advice for adults includes:

  1. Take regular breaks from sitting to reduce the risk of chronic disease, including adults who exercise regularly.
  2. Encourage strategies at work to reduce sitting time and promote regular movement.

It is important to note that adults who engage in regular planned exercise can still sit for long periods during the day and, therefore, still need to consider standing benefits.

What can we do in the workplace to sit less and move more?

  • Stand and take a break from your desk every 30 minutes
  • Use stairs and not elevators
  • Take standing breaks in long sitting meetings
  • Stand to greet a visitor
  • Stand for phone calls
  • Walk to colleagues’ desks instead of phoning or emailing
  • Use height adjustable desks
  • Have standing meetings
  • Have walking meetings
  • Use headsets or speaker during teleconferencing enabling standing
  • Eat your lunch away from your desk
  • Stand at the back of the room during presentations
  • Park the car further away from work
  • Use active commuting to work (walk, ride your bike)
  • Standing friendly culture can be promoted and supported in the workplace through raising awareness and modelling by managers/supervisors.

Do you have a referral or medical documentation for a standing desk?

If your doctor provides you with a referral or medical documentation for a standing desk, please contact Megan Karbley ( or Latisha Perry ( in the Office of Human Resources for further assistance. Otherwise, please review the following criteria to receive a sit/stand desk.

  1. Staff should discuss their request with their manager/supervisor.
  2. Ensure there are no overhead shelves or storage hutches in the way of the desk performing in the stand mode. Humanscale Quick Stand is the recommended model for use and price is about $400. A member of the Ergonomics Team will work with you to identify the best model for your use and space.
  3. The Faculty/Staff Health & Wellness program offers up to $200.00 for qualified requests towards the cost of a standing desk. It is the responsibility of the individual department to pay for the remainder and to decide whether the request for the desk is reasonable considering factors such as budgetary constraints, the person’s work tasks etc.
  4. Once a standing desk has been approved by the department, they should email a request for budget transfer to with the budget number and she will make the transfer.