I've had an adjustable standing desk for several months now. I stand at it all day, unless I have a meeting, then I sit in the meeting room. Recently, I learned that you are only "supposed" to stand for 30 mins at a time. But my chair is too low for my desk, even with the desk lowered all the way down, I still have to reach up to the keyboard and can't relax my arms. So it's very uncomfortable for me to sit at my desk. Since sitting is so uncomfortable, is it ok for me to stand all day? What consequences could come from that - could the desk get damaged from being in the "up" position all the time? Should I put it down at night before leaving?

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    You're worried about the desk or your health? – Sourav Ghosh Nov 19 '19 at 15:46
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    Who or what said that you should only stand for 30 minutes at a time? Are you experiencing or causing problems by standing for longer periods? – MikeQ Nov 19 '19 at 15:49
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    The company guidance is to alternate 30 min sit + 30 min stand @MikeQ, I didn't realize that until recently. – dcacat Nov 19 '19 at 15:56
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    I don't understand your comment at all. How on earth could standing all day be bad for the desk? – TonyK Nov 19 '19 at 17:36
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    @TonyK Because the desk is in the "up" position all day. It's not designed for that. It even shakes and stuff, it's shaking right now. – dcacat Nov 19 '19 at 18:59

I find it unusual that you're asking whether you should only stand at 30 minutes at a time "for the sake of the desk". The desk will be fine. Standing desks are typically designed to be able to adjust their height via buttons/switches on their side and can quite happily remain at whatever height you choose for as long as you wish.


As you mentioned in the comments that you're worried about your usage pattern of the desk will cause problem to the longevity of the desk, I'd say reach out to the admin / facility team in your office and check if they have any specific usage guidelines.

If they don't have one, or the guideline does not mention any time period for the use, then you don't need to be bothered.

On a separate note, I'd say, pay more attention to your health rather than that of the desk. Take regular breaks (in 1-2 hours interval) while using standing desk (to walk around, stretch your legs) and ask (or demand) for a better seating arrangement.

  • How long do the breaks need to be? Because there's one more place I sit that I forgot to mention... (the toilet lmao) Thanks for your answer – dcacat Nov 19 '19 at 16:02
  • @dcacat But are you sure the toilet is not too low? – Solar Mike Nov 19 '19 at 19:58
  • @SolarMike lol, it's low, but it doesn't matter because I don't have to use a mouse and keyboard when on the toilet. :) – dcacat Nov 19 '19 at 21:51

Talk to your boss and request a new desk and/or chair that will allow you to sit comfortably as well as stand ( if you want to use it as a standing desk ). Standing all day long does not seem very comfortable or healthy, and sitting with a desk that is too high is also uncomfortable and probably unhealthy.

An alternative would be to ask your boss to relocate you to a new desk/chair that is more comfortable. Make sure that you let him know that your current set up is affecting your health and ultimately your productivity.

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    @dcacat There is a big difference between walking all day and standing all day. The latter is almost as bad for your health as sitting all day. – sf02 Nov 19 '19 at 15:57
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    @sf02 I have to say I'm very surprised to hear that. I find it way more uncomfortable to sit and sometimes I even fall asleep lol – dcacat Nov 19 '19 at 16:00
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    @SouravGhosh I'm not sure that's a good analogy because you probably still feel better when not smoking. By comparison, I feel worse when sitting. My back and butt hurt after about 10 minutes. – dcacat Nov 19 '19 at 16:04
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    Thanks for your answer. I'll ask for permission to purchase my own office chair, I guess. The company doesn't provide one that is high enough. – dcacat Nov 19 '19 at 16:05
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    "Is it unhealthy to stand all day?" See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-term_complications_of_standing for more information. This website: ergo.human.cornell.edu/cuesitstand.html recommends to cycle through sitting/standing/moving within every half hour, e.g. 20 min sitting, 8 min standing, 2 min moving. They say they found that most people almost exclusively sit with sit stand workplaces - as you say you're almost exclusively standing, you could maybe go for 20 min standing, 8 sitting, 2 moving. Or 20 min standing, 10 min moving. – cbeleites supports Monica Nov 20 '19 at 17:50

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