An investigation into four different sit-stand workstation use schedules

Ergonomics. 2018 Feb;61(2):243-254. doi: 10.1080/00140139.2017.1353139. Epub 2017 Jul 12.


Twelve office workers participated in a study investigating effects of four sit/stand schedules (90-min sit/30-min stand, 80/40, 105/15, and 60/60) via several objective and subjective measures (muscle fatigue, foot swelling, spinal shrinkage, and self-reported discomfort). Results showed that there were no significant differences in shoulder and low back static muscle activities between sitting and standing. Muscle fatigue was developed during workday under all schedules. The longest standing schedule seemed to have a tendency of reducing muscle fatigue. None of the schedules helped or worsened foot swelling and spinal shrinkage. More active break-time activities seemed reducing muscle fatigue and foot swelling. While the self-reported bodily discomfort levels were generally low, the preferred schedules among the participants were varied, although the least standing schedule was the least preferred. We may conclude that effects of using sit-stand workstation to improve musculoskeletal health may be limited but promoting more active break-time activities can help. Practitioner Summary: Sit-stand workstations are used to reduce work-related musculoskeletal disorders. This study shows that office workers prefer sit/stand durations in the range between 1:1 and 3:1. Longer standing may have the potential to reduce muscle fatigue. However, active break-time activities may be more effective in reducing muscle fatigue and foot swelling.

Keywords: Office ergonomics; electromyography; foot swelling; muscle fatigue; work-related musculoskeletal disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Computer Terminals
  • Edema / etiology*
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Foot*
  • Humans
  • Interior Design and Furnishings*
  • Male
  • Muscle Fatigue
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / etiology*
  • Occupational Health
  • Paraspinal Muscles / physiopathology
  • Posture*
  • Spine / physiopathology
  • Superficial Back Muscles / physiopathology
  • Time Factors
  • Workplace*