Sedentary Work

Last updated: March 29, 2019

What Does Sedentary Work Mean?

Sedentary work is work that involves very limited amounts of physical activity. As defined by the U.S. Department of Labor's Dictionary of Occupational Titles, sedentary jobs are those in which an employee lifts no more than 10 pounds. In a sedentary job, it is likely that an employee will only carry small items.

Additionally, the primary tasks of a sedentary job can be performed while sitting. In particular, a job that requires sitting for 6 of the 8 hours in a workday is usually considered sedentary. Jobs that require light even levels of physical activity such as walking or standing are not considered sedentary work.

Some examples of sedentary jobs include long-haul driving and desk work. Call center operators, accountants, and receptionists may all hold sedentary jobs.


WorkplaceTesting Explains Sedentary Work

Determining whether a person can perform sedentary work is often a key factor is assessing whether he or she is disabled. Both the U.S. Social Security Administration and private disability insurers consider the types of work and individual can perform, ranging from sedentary to very heavy.

Sedentary work may be necessary for individuals who cannot perform even light physical activity. However, even for those who are physically able, having a sedentary job may increase their risk of developing several health conditions. Heart disease, metabolic syndrome, cancer, blood clots, and obesity are all associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

Individuals whose jobs involve little physical activity should take steps to ensure that they are engaging in adequate physical exercise throughout the day. Work breaks that involve light stretching or walking can help alleviate some of the risks associated having a sedentary job.


Share this Term

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

Related Reading


ErgonomicsHealth and SafetyPhysical Demands AnalysisEmploymentWorker Health Monitoring

Trending Articles

Go back to top