Sit stand desks - OHS information sheet

January 2015


There is considerable evidence to suggest that prolonged sitting is detrimental to health, even when people exercise regularly, increasing the risk of illness and disease.

Conversely, there are many benefits to sitting less and moving more,  including reduced risk of chronic diseases mentioned above, improved weight management and reducing the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders.

The Heart Foundation of Australia's advice for adults includes:

  • Regular breaks from sitting to reduce the risk of chronic disease, including adults who exercise regularly
  • Encourage strategies for work to reduce sitting time and promote regular movement.

It is important to note the adults who engage in regular planned exercise can still sit for long periods during the day and therefore still need to consider standing benefits.

What can we do in the workplace to sit less and move more?

  • stand and take a break from your desk every 30 minutes
  • use stairs and not lifts
  • use separately located bins and /printers
  • take standing breaks in long sitting meetings
  • stand to greet a visitor
  • stand for phone calls
  • walk to colleagues desk instead of phoning or emailing
  • use height adjustable desks
  • have standing meetings
  • have walking meetings
  • use headsets or speaker during teleconferencing enabling standing
  • eat your lunch away from your desk
  • stand at the back of the room during presentations
  • park the car further away from work
  • use active communing to work( walk, ride your bike, stand in the train or bus or at the station/bus stop )

Standing friendly culture can be promoted and supported in the workplace through raising awareness and modelling by managers/supervisors.

Steps to take at Monash to encourage less sitting

All seated work would benefit from increased breaks from sitting. Where possible review and revise jobs and task design and minimise sitting time for sedentary work.

Locate facilities to encourage incidental movement e.g. waste disposal units, centralised printers and other facilities away from the workstations and actions as above.

Individual areas may determine through budget and other priorities their requirements for sitting less including the provision of sit stand workstations

New buildings/refurbishments to include provision of sit stand desks as determined by function and layout with high proportion of sit stand workstations.

Criteria for ordering a sit/stand desk

  1. Staff should discuss their request with their manager/supervisor
  2. Ensure there is a dedicated powerpoint for sole use of the desk.
  3. Ensure there are no overhead shelves or storage hutches in the way of the desk performing in the stand mode.
  4. No heaters or fans are to be connected to the electric Sit/Stand desk as this will run the risk of overloading the electric motor.
  5. It is the responsibility of the individual department to pay for the Sit/Stand desks, and to decide whether the request for the desk is reasonable considering factors such as budgetary constraints, the person's work tasks etc.

Specifications of desks

  1. All electric Sit/Stand desks will be delivered and installed with a below desk cable tray and powerpack.
  2. The powerpack will contain a minimum of four (4) powerpoints and two (2) data points per desk.
  3. All desks will be tagged for electrical compliance on delivery.
  4. The desks are only available in Monash approved Laminex laminate colours, the same finishes as per standard workstations (refer to 'How To Buy Guide, Furniture' section on Strategic Procurement intranet page).

Available sizes

  • 1500mm L x 800D
  • 1800mm L x 800D
  • 2100mm L x 800D

Note: Any other desk sizes are non-standard and require an Exemption Form to be completed stating why the deviation from the standard sizes; this form requires prior approval via Strategic Procurement.

The cost of a sit stand desk starts from approximately $1200


Orders can only be made with the approval of a Facility Manager. The approved electric Sit/Stand Desk suppliers to Monash University who can provide you with a quotation are:

  • Workspace Ergonomics, contact: Kevin Darling-Filby, mobile: 0422 728 466
  • Schiavello, contact: John Romano, mobile: 0417 324 169
  • UCI, contact: Rosie Chong, mobile: 0432 174 808
  • Watson Wholesale, contact: Joanne Richardson, mobile: 0418 376 910.

How to set up your sit-stand desk

Alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day. Stand for as long as possible throughout the day to achieve the full benefits of a sit-stand workstation.


  1. Determine the standing desk height by relaxing your shoulders and bending your elbows to 90 degrees
  2. Adjust the desk height to just below the forearms
  3. To set the desk for seating, adjust the desk height by using the guidelines listed in 'Workstation Setup' or refer computer-use.pdf
  4. To minimise leg fatigue, alternate or shift weight from leg to leg occasionally
  5. Frequently adjust your posture throughout the working day
  6. Take frequent breaks away from your computer.
  7. Stretching exercises should also be completed on a regular basis

General principles for workstation set-up

  • Thighs
    Running parallel to the ground. Hips / knees at 90° - 100°.
  • Feet
    Firmly placed on the floor.
  • Bottom
    Positioned to the very rear of the chair to utilise the back support. Back of thighs clear of the chair.
  • Lower back
    Supported by the backrest. Backrest angled between 90° - 110°.
  • Forearms and Shoulders
    Forearms supported at or just above the desk height. Shoulders should be relaxed not hunched.
  • Elbows
    Relaxed at the side of your body when typing and using the mouse (allow for 90° - 110° angle when typing).
  • Wrists
    Straight and in line with your forearms. Keyboard angle flat with G and H keys in line with the nose.
  • Head and Eyes
    Head upright with ears in line with shoulders. Eyes in line with the top one third of the screen.


Workstation setup Ergonomics and computer use

Sitting less for adults:

For further information contact: OHS Health team on x51014 or


Owen Healy Matthews Dunstan (2010) Too much sitting: the population health science of sedentary behavior. Exercise and sports sciences reviews,38 (3) 105-113
Boyle, Fritschi, Heyworth, Bull (2010) Long term sedentary work and the risk of substitute specific colorectal cancer American Journal of Epidemiology 173(10) 1183-1191
National Heart Foundation of Australia (2011) Sitting less for adults
COMCARE Benefits of Movement-Be Upstanding!

Acknowledgement to UCI and Medibank workstation set up fact sheet.