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How to Start Using Sit-Stand Desk

Updated on March 2, 2024
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If you have a sedentary lifestyle, you may find yourself sitting for long periods of time. With a busy schedule and working long hours, you can end up sitting for long periods of time during the day. Health professionals refer to the numerous problems brought on by sitting all day as “sitting disease.”

West Quay Offices have adopted sit-stand desks since the beginning, which allow you to sit down or stand up with the push of a button or lever to reduce the harm of prolonged sitting. If you have a private office or Dedicated Desk at West Quay Offices, now you have the ability to sit and stand during your workday.

Sit-stand Desks

If you have been sitting at your desk all day for several years, the transition to a standing desk can be tough. Especially on your feet. Depending on your fitness level, you may want to transition slowly into standing.

Let’s cover the transition period as well as some other things to keep in mind when you switch from sitting to standing at your desk.

Gradual Transition To A Standing Desk

Start slow and don’t switch to standing all day right away. Start by standing for 20–30 minutes and then gradually increase the duration as your body adapts to standing more regularly.

Use a sit-stand desk to alternate between sitting and standing. Stand for a while, then sit when you get tired, and vice versa. 

Desk Setup

Keep your wrists straight and parallel to the desk surface

The final adjustments are to ensure your wrists remain neutral: Your fingers can hang down to meet your keyboard but your wrist should never be tilted upward or downward.

Repeated extension and flexion of the wrists (up and down) can compress the internal structure of the wrists and increase the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.

Monitor Position

The top of your monitor screen should be at or just below eye level. This helps reduce neck strain. You may need a monitor mount to adjust your monitors to eye level.

Ergonomic Monitor Position

If you’re working with a single surface desk (meaning your monitor, keyboard, and computer are all on the same surface), then you may need a monitor mount to elevate your monitor(s) to your eye level.

Keep your wrists straight and parallel to the desk surface

Your fingers can hang down to meet your keyboard but your wrist should never be tilted upward or downward.

Repeated extension and flexion of the wrists (up and down) can compress the internal structure of the wrists and increase the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.

Monitor Distance

The monitor should be about an arm’s length away. You should be able to read the text on your monitor(s) without leaning forward. 

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the preferred viewing distance is between 20 and 40 inches (50 and 100 cm) from the eye to the front surface of the computer screen.

Keyboard and Mouse Position

Both your keyboard and mouse should be at a height where your elbows are close to a 90-degree angle. Your wrists should be straight and not angled up or down.

Footwear And Floor

Supportive Shoes

Wear shoes with good support. Avoid heels or flat shoes without support.

Anti-Fatigue Mat

If you’ll be standing for extended periods, consider getting an anti-fatigue mat. This can significantly reduce strain on your legs and back. Also, if you want to stand without shoes, then an anti-fatigue mat is perfect for providing cushion for your feet while also allowing your feet to breathe.


Keep your neck tall, and your shoulders relaxed. Make sure to keep your knees slightly bent while standing, so they’re not hyperextended or have their joints locked.

“Good posture is also known as a neutral spine. When we have good posture, the muscles surrounding the spine are balanced and support the body equally. Most back pains are attributed to sedentary habits and bad posture. Applying these recommendations will limit harm to your body.

Shift Weight

Shift your weight between your legs periodically. Avoid locking your knees. As you begin to stand more and want to incorporate movement into your day, a great tool to help with shifting your weight and providing movement is the Standing Desk Balance Board.

Standing Desk Balance Board

Eyes And Lighting

Avoid Glare

Position your monitors to avoid glare from windows or overhead lights.

Eye Breaks

Follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.

Movement And Breaks

Don’t just stand still. Walk around for a few minutes every hour.

  • Schedule movement breaks into your calendar and enable notifications.
  • Periodically stretch your legs, arms, and back.
  • Find your perfect sitting and standing position with our adjustable-height standing desk.

You should alternate between sitting and standing. Just like sitting all day can harm your body, standing all day can as well. Alternating between sitting and standing can help avoid preventable body pain. According to studies, the ratio of sitting versus standing time should be 1:1 or 2:1. That means that for an eight-hour workday, you should stand between 30 and 45 minutes every hour. This will keep you active and productive.

Alternating between sitting and standing positions will not only keep you active, but it will also make you more productive. Indeed, the ratios of sitting versus standing stated above have been shown to be optimal for comfort and energy levels.


Keep the area around your desk clutter-free to allow easy movement and reduce the risk of tripping or knocking items over.

Place items you frequently use, like a phone or notepad, within arm’s reach to minimize bending or overreaching.

Listen To Your Body

Pain is a signal. If you feel pain or discomfort, it’s a sign that something isn’t right. Adjust your setup, change your posture, or take a break from standing

Remember To Breathe

Try the practice of taking 3 deep breaths every time you move from sitting to standing. Breathe deeply and try relaxing your entire body with every exhale. 

Conclusion: Transitioning To A Standing Desk

Remember that standing desks are not a cure-all solution. The key is movement. Whether you’re sitting or standing, make sure you change your posture, take breaks, and move around regularly.

To summarize:

  • Always adjust your standing desk to your elbows’ height.
  • Keep your neck tall and your shoulders relaxed.
  • Don’t lock your knees while standing.
  • Keep your screen at eye-level.
  • Keep your wrists straight and parallel to the desk surface.
  • Don’t stand for more than 60 consecutive minutes.
  • Don’t sit for more than 30 consecutive minutes.
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

There is a good article about office ergonomics covering topics such as why to use a sit/stand desk, how a sit/stand desk should be set up, and how long a person should sit or stand.

Here is a good video from the Mayo Clinic: Tips for Transitioning to a Standing Desk

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