Today I realised it's become my habit to sit cross-legged (ankle of one leg resting on knee of other leg) quite a lot of the time, including at work.

I work at a desk-job (in the UK), so my legs are almost permanently out of sight, and I stop myself doing it in times it'd be notable, such as meetings.

Whilst I appreciate it's unlikely to be an actual problem, I wanted to know if this would be commonly considered inappropriate etiquette within an office setting?

  • VTC - Opinion based. In my opinion, it is unprofessional. – Neo Sep 22 '17 at 13:04
  • while I would say that it is not professional, im not sure i would go so far as to say it is unprofessional unless you are in a business meeting. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Sep 23 '17 at 1:27
  • "cross-legged" can mean two different things: one leg over the other such that knees are close together, or, one leg over the other such that knees are far apart (ankle of one leg resting on knee of other leg). The latter is definitely bad decorum in most environments. The former is acceptable in all situations except for the most the most formal public ceremonies. – teego1967 Sep 23 '17 at 12:49
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    As someone who sits like this myself, I'm extremely surprised by the reaction of some that this is unprofessional. Quite the opposite IMO, at least in the US... I have seen senior leadership (CEOs, Vice Presidents, Directors, etc..) of Fortune 500 companies take this pose in meetings. I see it as a body language "power move" typical of Type 1 or Alpha personalities - it conveys comfort in situations where many individuals might be tense. – DanK Sep 26 '17 at 15:59
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    If you spend a lot of time behind a desk or at a computer, you should focus on sitting properly. Good posture and ergonomics are good for your long term health. I speak from experience when I say that sitting with your legs crossed habitually will cause problems as you age. You should also incorporate some stretches into your daily routine. – Lumberjack Sep 27 '17 at 2:10

Is it a little odd? Sure. Is it unprofessional? I don't think it's that bad.

I think the approach you are taking is perfectly fine. Go ahead and sit how you like in your day-to-day work, maybe even in some casual status meetings, but definitely sit "normally" during more formal meetings. People who notice will just mark it down as a quirk, nothing serious.

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    +1. It might also depend, however, on your job. As a software engineer, "quirks" are to be expected - and "odd" sitting postures are quite common. Walk over to another department, and it might be unheard of. Your mileage may definitely vary. – Ghotir Sep 22 '17 at 13:47
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    Any adult with the cognative ability to hold a "professional" role should br able to identify and control quirks. The longer I remain in-industry, the more apparent it is to me that many quirks are manufactured and cultivated as some sort badge of honor. – acpilot Sep 24 '17 at 22:52
  • @acpilot The best part about being a software engineer is nobody cares about small personal quirks. What a boring industry it would be if we all had to act professional all the time. – ayrton clark Sep 26 '17 at 14:53
  • If OP holds a "dead-mans switch" between the thighs that kills power to the company servers if not tightly clenched, then definitely unprofessional. Can't imagine too many non-Sharon Stone scenarios otherwise. – PoloHoleSet Sep 26 '17 at 16:05
  • SW guys gain periodic exposure to people outside of the tech bubble. Those interactions matter, particularly when a product purchase/sale is in the works. Perception = Reality to a lot of people. It shouldn't really matter, but it does. – acpilot Sep 26 '17 at 19:31

It'll probably give you back problems in the long term.

There's also the fact that you're at risk of wiping dirt from your shoes onto your chair, and from there onto your rump (or the rump of anyone else using the chair).

And yes, it looks pretty unprofessional (at least to this reporter's perspective).

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    Ah, good point about the dirt, I hadn't considered that. – Tom Sep 22 '17 at 12:17

I agree with the other poster, don't do it for formal meetings but in general it will just be marked as a quirk.

The only thing to watch out for in the UK is desk based assessments, especially coupled with overzealous/paranoid HR people, as it is not correct seating position and they may be worried about getting into trouble if you have any issues in the future. However this is a small issue and may easily go unnoticed or nobody will care about (I've worked in a place where people have commented on my habit of sitting on one leg tucked under, but most places really couldn't care less)


I wanted to know if this would be considered a very strange thing to do in an office setting?

It would be considered strange in every office where I have ever worked except for one.

In one startup where I worked, several folks discarded their shoes while in the office and walked around in bare feet. Another brought her dog to work with her frequently. My boss walked around with a yo-yo all the time. In that office, sitting cross-legged would probably be considered on the formal end of the behavior range. It was a fun place, but rather unusual.

In general, the answer depends on the kind of company and even more on the company culture. Look around and see what others do - you'll quickly learn if this would be considered strange there or not.

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