This question is specifically speaking to the sitting/standing desk movement.
This movement has become very popular in the last decade, now that the majority of careers center on computers... and there is some data pointing to the fact that sitting for long periods of time - is just plain bad.

However, it is still common that an employee must jump though several hoops to beg and convince management to install one of these. Companies don't want to spend money so they say it is not a useful way to spend.

I am hoping to find a compelling argument and a list of studies and articles that make it clear as glass, that the sitting/standing chair is in fact a good investment.

I am hoping there are studies and articles that demonstrate the sitting/standing chair improves brain function = productivity, makes employes healthier - less burden on their benefits payroll, happier, live longer, lower blood pressure - etc. that can be presented to management.

  • How can I convince my management it is worth it to provide me with a standing desk/chair? Ideally this will have data to support this request at the office.
  • 1
    Are you hoping to just get a list? I don't think this is really appropriate for here if you just want to poll The Workplace - I think this is a good question, but perhaps if it was rephrased a bit more to be similar to the title than simply requesting a list?
    – enderland
    Nov 14, 2013 at 1:44
  • @enderland: no poll, looking for hard evidence to make this happen in the work place for employes - all over. Nov 14, 2013 at 1:45
  • @Greg, it is a very different matter to get a standing desk for yourself, and getting one forced on all employees (the latter is nigh impossible as many people like sitting down)
    – jmac
    Nov 14, 2013 at 1:52
  • 1
    This closed question of mine might give you some different angle over the question: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/15290/…
    – drabsv
    Nov 14, 2013 at 14:49
  • Are they aware of the cost?
    – user8365
    Nov 14, 2013 at 19:11

3 Answers 3


Option 1

Step 1

Make your own. Seriously. Put a stack of boxes under your monitor. Put a stack of paper reams under you "keyboard/mouse desk". Start standing. Let people see you stand.

Step 2 Gather metrics. Show you are more productive.

Step 3 Explain that your arrangement looks tacky/isn't as comfortable as a real standing desk/is at risk at falling down.

Option 2

Propose something that is less of an investment. Like a standing desk area. Or showing you don't need a cube so that cancels out the cost of buying the desk.

Option 3

Telecommute and buy your own desk.

  • 2
    I really like option 1. Show's protectiveness and that you'll back up anything that you ask for with solid evidence. Nov 14, 2013 at 2:56
  • @jeanne-boyarsky: yeah I was thinking about making my own, but have to tear it down and build it up multiple times a day- as the other is a effortless up down but nonetheless, good point as far as making a change. Nov 14, 2013 at 17:25
  • Option 1 is what several of my coworkers did. They (engineers) actually chose a "riskier" method of stacking stuff under the desk itself, to raise the whole thing up, and purchased standing mats for themselves. Quite a few people liked the idea and they are getting more popular, though the company doesn't seem keen to start paying for actual standing desks yet.
    – shenles
    Nov 14, 2013 at 21:40
  • 2
    @PreetSangha thanks. and you mean "proactiveness", not "protectiveness" Nov 15, 2013 at 0:37
  • Step 2 is impossible/unfeasible. The main advantages only show after working for several years as your health doesn't reduces as fast. (remember: work is work, it will always reduce health due to having to focus on non important tasks as human being the goal is to reduce the health deterioration).
    – paul23
    Jul 16, 2019 at 14:45

Convincing management of things like this usually involve two parts - the cost and the benefit.

What's the Benefit?

I'm not sure what's out there in productivity metrics, but there's definitely some great research on the problem of sitting for too long in terms of health.

Here's a few, but I just Googled for "sitting for prolonged periods of time" and found them.

Are a few, there's more but note as you read how many may just be quoting the same research.

The thing is while most people won't put it this way, the company really doesn't care if people die faster as long as they don't really die on the job. To the best of my knowledge, OSHA or other employee safety related organizations haven't classified standing/sitting desks as a must have for office safety, so it's not going to hit the world of corporate liability.

However - companies are getting more aware of and concerned with saving money on health insurance. Having more healthy employees with better weight, more fitness, less stress actually does reduce the cost of health insurance in the number of claims and the severity of claims filed against the policy. I don't know whether you can get at the numbers, but you can make a connection of "standing/sitting desk"->"fewer claims"->"cost savings"

What's the cost?

So, a lot of work space improvements have the multiplication problem. Getting an awesome ergonomic something for the one person with a doctors note is one thing. Getting the same ergonomic thing for everyone is much more expensive. I've looked myself (because I have a deep love of a particular keyboard tray) and found that some of this gear is disturbingly expensive. Multiply that out and it's going to get expensive if the company gets one for everyone.

The typical way to address that is to only give it to those with a strong need - thus, the doctor's note. At the very least, it limits the cost of the equipment to those willing to do the paperwork.

So... the other way to win this one is to do the research into the equipment and see if you can find an option that is both useful and cost efficient. One trick can be to look at total cost of ownership - it's not just the purchase price, it's the long term expense. If there's a great warranty, this long term expense goes down. If there's a record of high quality, you'll save money on not needing much support from the facilities crew. Know the whole picture so you can answer these questions - it's what management will be asking.

Have a plan

Have a pilot plan in mind. "Buy it just for me" is probably not a great way to go. @Jeanne Boyarsky has the ultimate no-cost pilot program - and that's one option. Another might be "buy it for 10% of the people on a floor". Let people rotate through the spiffy desks for a month each - done on a first come first serve volunteer basis. Collect feedback at the end of the month from both the person and their manager.

This might be something you have to volunteer to run - in addition to your regular job.

The trick is - you are asking for a pretty big investment, so if you want to see the change, someone is going to have to step up and do the work.

  • good points, thank you. I have a dream that everyone who wants to stand - can and easily. Nov 14, 2013 at 17:23

Like a lot of exercise equipment, the biggest risk/concern is no one uses it. You may need to get some sort of commitment from others (sign a petition/make a pledge) to use it for a period of time that is of benefit.

More than likely, it is going to be viewed as a morale booster; nothing wrong with that. It would be cheaper than a lot of health club memberships.

You know your company better than us. For some people a bunch of health statistics isn't going to persuade some people.

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