“Some People Sit, Some People Stand, That’s Just What We Do”: a Qualitative Exploration of Sit-Stand Desk Use in Naturalistic Settings

Elizabeth Deery, John Buckley, Michael Morris, Lynne Kennedy

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Prolonged sedentary behaviour is associated with poor health. Office-based workers spend much of the working day sitting. Sit-stand desks have become a popular intervention, but real-life experiences of the value of sit-stand desks remain relatively unexplored outside of research-led interventions. A qualitative study was therefore undertaken to explore real-life experiences, including perceived barriers, and facilitators of using sit-stand desks. Six focus-group interviews were undertaken with a total of 34 desk-based employees in North-West England. Interviews were transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis. Three main themes emerged: The Sedentary Office, Motivators, and The Active Office. The Sedentary Office highlighted participants’ frustration with an increasingly sedentary office environment. Motivators to reducing sitting time were knowledge of the health consequences of prolonged sitting, previous (ill) health, and the potential benefits expected. The Active Office highlighted the importance of control, choice, enhanced interaction with colleagues, and the benefits associated with moving more and enhancing an overall sense of workplace wellbeing. Perceived benefits, facilitators, and barriers - experienced and observed – from sit-stand desk use in the real world were examined, thus contributing to important discussions of transferability. Overall, the study shed light on the perceived facilitators, benefits, and drawbacks of sit-stand desk work whilst also giving evidence of the real-world acceptability and research translation of sit-stand desk use. Future research should examine this in multiple contexts and should explore implications of an increasing prevalence in home working.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalOccupational Health Science
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 11 Mar 2024


  • Sit-stand desk
  • Active working
  • Occupational Sitting
  • Sedentary
  • Qualitative
  • Focus groups


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