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Sit-Stand Workstation Guidelines

Royal Roads University Procedure

Effective Date: 
June 29, 2018

Health Information on Sitting

Royal Roads University is committed to providing a work environment that promotes the health of our employees while at work.  Office ergonomics is an important aspect of creating a positive and healthy work environment, specifically for sedentary positions.  In our workplace, sedentary behaviour is often seen in the form of sitting at a desk, usually working on a computer. There is a growing body of evidence that identifies prolonged periods of sitting as a risk factor for developing chronic disease. Based upon this information, experts are now recommending that we start to develop new habits to help us avoid prolonged periods of sitting. 

Tips for Sitting Less at Work

There are many simple changes you can make to reduce the time you spend sitting at work. Introducing a height-adjustable workstation (or sit-stand desk) is just one. 

Ways to sit less at work include:

  • Conduct standing meetings or add one or more standing agenda items
  • Stand and take a break from your computer every 30 minutes
  • Stand during phone calls (considering ordering a headset)  
  • Eat your lunch away from your desk
  • Conduct walking meetings where appropriate
  • Walk to a colleague’s desk instead of phoning or emailing 
  • Drink more water
  • Use the stairs
  • Stand to greet a visitor
  • Go for a short walk at lunchtime

Sit-Stand Workstation Considerations

  • Sit-stand workstations are one of a variety of ways to reduce sedentariness. They shouldn’t be considered a ‘fix all’ for obtaining adequate physical activity over the course of the day and should be supplemented with a healthy lifestyle and other strategies for sitting less.
  • Sit-stand workstations can in some instances aggravate existing injuries/medical conditions or present a risk for new injury. For example lower back, knee and ankle injuries as well as conditions such as arthritis, high blood pressure, varicose veins, cardiac conditions, and postural hypertension can be aggravated by increased standing. It is important that the implementation of a sit-stand desk is in line with an employee's treating health practitioner's recommendations.

Process for a sit/stand workstation

The need for sit/stand workstations fall into two categories, Wellness/Prevention and Accommodation due to disability:

1)     Wellness/Prevention  request  

Employees who work on a computer and perform sedentary work for the majority of the day may request a sit/stand workstation by completing the ‘sit-stand workstation request form’ under Human Resources: https://humanresources.royalroads.ca/forms.  Once completed, please email to human.resources@royalroads.ca

If a Sit-Stand Unit Has Been Received;

Once a completed form is received, HR will make arrangements for an appropriate sit/stand desk to be provided (medical documentation is not required).  Once the sit-stand workstation has been received and installed, employees are asked to review the diagram below for proper form and follow the steps below.  If an ergonomic assessment is desired, please contact Human Resources.

  • Ergonomic positioning for both sitting and standing as noted below
  • Regular postural breaks, every 20-30 minutes when sitting or standing (or as recommended by the health professional)
  • Alternating between sitting and standing on a regular basis, every 45-60 minutes (or as recommended by health professional)
  • Wearing flat, supportive footwear

2)     Accommodation due to disability  

Individuals who have a condition that limits sitting tolerance and warrants a medical accommodation are asked to contact their Human Resources Advisor to work with you and your manager to determine reasonable solutions to accommodate your limitations and restrictions.

Accommodations due to disability will take priority over Wellness/Prevention requests in the event that there are not enough sit-stand desks available.  A wait list will be created if required.