Long-term effects of sit-stand workstations on workplace sitting: A natural experiment

Wenfei Zhu, Monica Gutierrez, Meynard J. Toledo, Sarah Mullane, Anna Park Stella, Randolph Diemar, Kevin F. Buman, Matthew Buman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Objective: Sit-stand workstations may result in significant reductions in workplace sitting. However, few studies have examined long-term maintenance under real-world conditions. The purpose of this study was to evaluate workplace sitting time, cardio-metabolic biomarkers, and work productivity during a workplace re-design which included the installation of sit-stand workstations. Design: Natural experiment with appropriately matched comparison. Methods: Office workers from distinct worksites in the same unit were recruited (Intervention, n = 24; Comparison, n = 12). Intervention arm participants received a sit-stand workstation and 4 months of sitting-specific motivational support. The comparison arm received 4 months of ergonomic focused motivational support. Time spent in sitting, standing, and other physical activity were measured by activPAL3c for a week. Cardio-metabolic biomarkers and work productivity were also measured. Assessments occurred at baseline, 4 months, and 18 months. Results: At 4 months, work sitting time was reduced by 56.7 ± 89.1 min/8 h workday (d = −0.64), relative to comparison. Standing time (37.4 ± 69.2 min/8 h workday; d = 0.54) and sit-to-stand transitions (3.3 ± 0.4 min/8 h workday, d = 0.44) were also improved relative to comparison. At 18 months, work sitting time reductions (52.6 ± 68.3 min/8 h workday; d = −0.77) and standing time improvements (17.7 ± 54.8 min/8 h workday, d = 0.32) were maintained in the intervention group relative to comparison. Cardio-metabolic and work productivity changes were mixed; however, strongest effects favoring the intervention group were observed at 18 months. Conclusions: Sit-stand workstations, accompanied with behavioral support, were effective in reducing workplace and overall daily sitting and increasing standing time in a real-world setting. The effect appears to have been sustained for 18 months, with mixed results in cardio-metabolic and productivity outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)811-816
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • Natural experiment
  • Sit-stand workstations
  • Workplace sitting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'Long-term effects of sit-stand workstations on workplace sitting: A natural experiment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this