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Implementation of sit-stand desks as a workplace health initiative: stakeholder views

Jennifer Hall (Department of Life Sciences, Brunel University College of Health and Life Sciences, Uxbridge, UK) (Bradford Institute for Health Research, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Bradford, UK)
Tess Kay (Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK)
Alison K. McConnell (Department of Human Sciences and Public Health, Bournemouth University, Poole, UK)
Louise Mansfield (Department of Life Sciences, Brunel University College of Health and Life Sciences, Uxbridge, UK)

International Journal of Workplace Health Management

ISSN: 1753-8351

Article publication date: 29 August 2019




Prolonged workplace sitting can harm employee health. Sit-stand desks are a potential workplace health initiative that might reduce and break up the time office-based employees spend sitting in the workplace. However, little is known about the feasibility and acceptability of providing sit-stand desks. The paper aims to discuss this issue.


The present study sought stakeholder employee views surrounding sit-stand desk implementation within two UK-based non-profit organisations with open-plan offices. This paper draws on qualitative semi-structured interviews with 26 stakeholder employees and 65 days of participant observations. Data were analysed using thematic analysis, and organisational cultural theory framed the study.


Stakeholders employees’ positioning of sit-stand desks as a workplace health initiative reflected their perceptions of the relationship between sit-stand desk provision, employee health and organisational effectiveness. Perceptions were shaped by the nature and context of the organisation and by occupation-specific processes. Relatively fixed (e.g. organisational structure) and modifiable (e.g. selecting products compatible with the environment) factors were found to restrict and facilitate the perceived feasibility of implementing sit-stand desks.

Practical implications

The findings offer several recommendations for workplaces to improve stakeholder employee attitudes towards sit-stand desk provision and to increase the ease and efficiency of implementation.


Whilst extant literature has tended to examine hypothetical views related to sit-stand desk provision, this study consulted relevant stakeholders following, and regarding, the sit-stand desk implementation process.



The wider research project was supported by funding from Macmillan Cancer Support. Jo Foster and Jenna Stockwell from Macmillan contributed to the design of the study. Sit-stand desks were provided by Ergotron Inc. James Winslade and Carrie Schmitz provided ongoing logistical and ergonomic expertise related to sit-stand desk implementation. The authors would like to acknowledge the support of key personnel, and the provision of study sites, from both participating organisations.


Hall, J., Kay, T., McConnell, A.K. and Mansfield, L. (2019), "Implementation of sit-stand desks as a workplace health initiative: stakeholder views", International Journal of Workplace Health Management, Vol. 12 No. 5, pp. 369-386.



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