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VelocityEHS ergonomist Blake McGowan shares the guidelines for sitting and standing at work.

Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Blake McGowan, and I’m a certified professional ergonomist with Humantech (now VelocityEHS Ergonomics).

Now, one of the hot topics in ergonomics today is sitting, standing, and sit-stand workstations in the office workplace. Now, there’s been a lot of talk about the negative health consequences associated with prolonged sitting, and there’s also a lot of MSD concerns associated with prolonged sitting. Now, this has led to a trend towards having people stand longer at work.

Unfortunately, there are similar negative health outcomes of prolonged standing, and there are also MSD concerns for the lower limbs, and some say these MSD concerns are almost higher or a bigger concern for prolonged standing. So, what should we do? Well, in 2015, Jack Callahan and his colleagues from the University of Waterloo did a lot of research and developed some guidelines for sitting and standing usage ratios.

So, what did they find? Well, first, we should strive for a one-to-one ratio between seated and nonseated work activities, and what we mean by non-seated is standing, walking, or just big movements. So, for a typical eight hours a day, we should have four hours of seated and four hours of non-seated work. Number two, at the start when you’re transitioning to use these guidelines, start with about two hours of non-seated work activities, and then over time, as your body adapts, trend towards the four hours. Number three, throughout the day, continually move between that standing, sitting, and walking posture, and make sure to do this before pain and discomfort occurs. Number four, ideally, we should limit our prolonged sitting activities to no more than two hours at one time. And lastly, number five, we should limit our static standing to less than 15 minutes at one time.

So, what does this mean? What’s the bottom line?

Well, the bottom line is we should limit prolonged sitting, we should limit prolonged standing, and ideally, transition between different postures throughout the day to minimize those negative health outcomes as well as minimize musculoskeletal disorders.

For more information on Humantech (now VelocityEHS Ergonomics) and the Bottom-Line series, please feel free to visit us at Humantech (

Thanks, have a great day.