Prolonged occupational sitting is related to poor health outcomes. Detailed data on sitting time at desks are required to understand and effectively influence occupational sitting habits.
Full-time office employees were recruited (n = 105; mean age 40.9 ± 11.5 years; BMI 26.1 ± 3.9, 65% women). Sitting at the desk and in other work contexts was measured using a sitting pad and ActivPAL for an entire working week. Employees used a diary to record work hours. Time spent at work, sitting at work and at the desk; number of sit to stand transitions at the desk; and number of bouts of continuous sitting at the desk < 20 and > 60 minutes, were calculated.
Average time spent at work was 8.7 ± 0.8 hours/day with 67% spent sitting at the desk (5.8 ± 1.2 hours/day), and 4% in other workplace settings. On average, employees got up from their desks 3 times/hour (29 ± 13/day). Sitting for more than 60 consecutive minutes occurred infrequently (0.69 ± 0.62 times/day), with most sit to stands (80%; 23 ± 14) occurring before 20 minutes of continual sitting.
The findings provide highly detailed insights into desk-based sitting habits, highlighting large proportions of time spent sitting at desks, but with frequent interruptions.