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May 2010

Is a Sit/Stand Workstation Right for You?

Allan Brown Submitted by Allan Brown

Sit/stand workstations are becoming more popular in the office environment as they allow the user to change position throughout the day.  The primary benefit of a sit/stand station is to reduce worker fatigue through frequent postural change.  Sitting at a conventional office workstation increases the forces on the low back and standing, while reducing these forces, can also place the worker in a prolonged static posture.   While “off-the-shelf” sit/stand stations can be purchased in models that are electric, pneumatic, or manual, simply modifying an existing workstation can achieve the desired benefit.  There are several considerations when creating this type of workstation.

10 steps to a sit/stand workstation

  1. First determine the worker’s neutral standing elbow height.  Have the worker stand comfortably erect and bend their arm at the elbow to 90 degrees.  Measure the distance from the floor to the elbow. 
  2. Measure the worker’s eye height from the floor. 
  3. Measure the thickness of the keyboard.
  4. The worker’s elbow height minus the thickness of the keyboard will be the recommended height of the work surface.   Many cubicle workstations have adjustable height work surfaces with support brackets mounted in partition tracks.  
  5. Ensure there is ample room on the work surface for the mouse and keyboard.
  6. If the worker has normal vision, the top of the monitor screen should be equal to the eye height measurement.
  7. If the worker wears corrective lenses, adjust the screen according to the prescription, i.e., bifocal wearers will need the screen lower than eye height to comfortably view the screen without craning their head back.
  8. A document holder should be included to support documents at the same level as the monitor screen.
  9. For intervals of seated work, provide a chair with enough seat pan height adjustment so as to maintain the worker’s elbow height in the same position as if they were standing.  Typically a drafting stool/chair will provide enough height.
  10. A sturdy box or other platform device should be provided as a foot support to provide lower extremity support while maintaining the thighs parallel to the floor.  The stool/chair should have an adjustable base foot-ring adjusted to the same height as the box.  The box should be positioned approximately 5 inches inward (recessed) from the front edge of the work surface to allow for proper positioning of the chair when the worker is seated.