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

Publication authors

Hall J, Kay T, McConnel A, Mansfield L.


Purpose 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. Design/methodology/approach 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. Findings 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. Originality/value 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.