Ergonomics Program

Campus Address
120 USB
Mailing Address

120 University Services Building
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States

Research points to a number of benefits of movement throughout the day to support physical well-being as well as attention and focus. A sit/stand workstation is one tool to promote movement but not the only means to achieve benefits.

Research Data

Employees with sit-stand desks stand 60 minutes more per day at work compared to their co-workers with sitting desks, and they continue to do so long after the new desks lose their novelty. UI researcher Lucas Carr (Department Health and Human Physiology) is corresponding author of the study "Examining the Long-term Use of Sit-stand Desks in a Professional Office Setting," published in October 2015 by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The benefits of being able to move from sitting to standing throughout the day are numerous. After being given the option to sit and stand when working, users report:

  • 84 percent: Less fatigue
  • 83 percent: Feel better overall
  • 62 percent: Improved comfort
  • 60 percent: More energy

Funding and Purchasing

Funding for sit/stand workstations is handled at the department level, and the decision to provide a sit-stand workstation is solely at the discretion of the department. A work-site evaluation is not needed. Sit-stand workstations vary in configuration but typically cost around $550.

Office Max and Tallgrass are the two university-approved local vendors that carry the Ergotron WorkFit-S standing desk, which is most commonly recommended desk for most people.

Consider seeking consult from the Ergonomics Program if you are thinking about purchasing a model other than Ergotron Workfit-S. as there may be some safety and ergonomic concerns to be considered.

Things to Consider

  • Departmental funds
  • Equity
  • Using the Ergonomics Program to assess and evaluate workstation type if considering a model other than Ergotron WorkFit.

Wellness Grants Program

The UI Wellness Grants Program will fund (up to $550) a sit/stand workstation for shared space within a department. Full program guidelines can be found on the Wellness Grants Program website. Please note: Wellness Grant funding guideline of no more than $10 per eligible individuals still applies. Thus, if your department has 25 people, the maximum amount of funding awarded will be $250.


Because sit/stand workstations are not always feasible, supporting an environment that values movement in a number of ways supports a healthy campus culture.

When in meetings:

  •  Ensure that meetings last no more than one hour, and call for a one- to two-minute movement exercise at the half hour.
  •  Give people permission to move during the meeting—even small motions or stretching while sitting.

For employees working at their desks:

  • Provide wireless headsets so employees can walk while on the phone.
  • Discourage internal email. Encourage personal contact by walking to people’s offices to communicate.
  • Use reversal of posture exercises throughout day.
  • 20/20/20 Rule: Every 20 minutes, stand for 20 seconds, and look 20 feet away from your screen.

For breaks:

  • Walk two to three flights of stairs.
  • Go outside and walk briskly.
  • If going to the washroom, use one on a different floor, if possible.