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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: "Why would you want to stand?" an account of the lived experience of employees taking part in a workplace sit-stand desk intervention
Author(s): Hall, Jennifer
Kay, Tess
McConnell, Alison
Mansfield, Louise
Keywords: UK
Sedentary behaviour
Physical activity
Multi-component intervention
Workplace health
Organisational culture
Product design
Issue Date: Dec-2019
Citation: Hall J, Kay T, McConnell A & Mansfield L (2019) "Why would you want to stand?" an account of the lived experience of employees taking part in a workplace sit-stand desk intervention. BMC Public Health, 19, Art. No.: 1692.
Abstract: Background Sit-stand desk interventions have the potential to reduce workplace sedentary behaviour and improve employee health. However, the extent of sit-stand desk use varies between employees and in different organisational contexts. Framed by organisational cultural theory and product design theory, this study examined employees’ lived experience of taking part in a workplace sit-stand desk intervention, to understand the processes influencing feasibility and acceptability. Methods Participant observations and qualitative interviews were conducted with 15 employees from two office-based workplaces in the UK, as part of a process evaluation that ran alongside a pilot RCT of a workplace sit-stand desk intervention. Observational field notes and transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis. Results Three themes related to the experience of using a sit-stand desk at work were generated: employees’ relationship with their sit-stand desk; aspirations and outcomes related to employee health and productivity; and cultural norms and interpersonal relationships. The perceived usability of the desk varied depending on how employees interacted with the desk within their personal and organisational context. Employees reported that the perceived influence of the desk on their productivity levels shaped use of the desk; those who perceived that standing increased energy and alertness tended to stand more often. Sit-stand desks were voiced as being more acceptable than intervention strategies that involve leaving the desk, as productivity was conflated with being at the desk. Conclusions The findings indicate a range of organisational, social-cultural and individual-level factors that shape the feasibility and acceptability of sit-stand desk use, and suggest strategies for improving employees’ experiences of using a sit-stand desk at work, which might positively influence sedentary behaviour reduction and health. Trial registration identifier NCT02172599, 22nd June 2014 (prospectively registered).
DOI Link: 10.1186/s12889-019-8038-9
Rights: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
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