UBC Undergraduate Research

An Investigation into the Use of Sit-to-Stand Desks on the University of British Columbia Campus Lim, Daniel; Ko, Jay; Andersen, Nick


This report has been prepared in response to an assignment for APSC 262, a course offered at the University of British Columbia. The purpose of this assignment is to investigate the feasibility of installing sit-to-stand desks on the university’s campus and to recommend whether and to what extent the university should install sit-to-stand desks on its campus. The scope of this report is constrained to only the University of British Columbia staff and faculty. This report does not assess the feasibility or appropriateness of providing University of British Columbia students with sit-to-stand desks. Overwhelming evidence shows that sit-to-stand desks improve office comfort and in some cases office productivity. Those who possess a medical need for a sit-to-stand desk typically demonstrate considerable improvement in physical health after using one for an extended period of time. Many office workers experience neck and back pain due to long uninterrupted periods of sitting. Sit-to-stand desks help users alleviate back and neck pain by allowing the user to stand for a portion of the day. There are many studies that have corroborated these statements. The authors of this report recommend that sit-to-stand desks be provided to UBC faculty and staff who request them or have a medical need for which a sit-to-stand desk would provide medical assistance. Due to the high costs of sit-to-stand desks and the possibility that many university staff and faculty would not benefit from sit-to-stand desks, the authors believe that providing all university staff and faculty with sit-to-stand desks is exorbitant and wasteful. However, the authors believe that providing those staff and faculty who exhibit medical necessity with sit-to-stand desks will improve office comfort and productivity for these staff and faculty. In addition, the authors recommend that the university adopt this policy regarding sit-to-stand desks on a trial basis. During the trial period, the university should collect statistics about the use of its sit-to-stand desks and after the completion of the trial period, which the authors recommend to be one year long, the authors recommend that the university should reassess the integrity of the policy. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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