The Benefits of Ergonomic Furniture
For workers who are located in an office, it is advisable to use furniture and equipment that is adjusted to the correct ergonomics to prevent back pain and other health problems. Doctors, chiropractors and physiotherapists all warn that people can develop overstretched ligaments and spinal issues due to sitting in an ill-fitting chair for extended periods of time. Switching your office furniture to something with ergonomic design could be what your company desperately needs. Still need convincing? Here are a few reasons to consider purchasing ergonomic furniture for your office:
- Health - The first and arguably the most important reason for buying ergonomic office furniture is for the health benefits. Sitting at a desk for extended periods can have a number of health impacts including; postural issues, aching joints and even improper digestion. Ergonomic office furniture can be adjusted to suit the user, ease stressed body parts and develop healthy ways of working.
- Increased Productivity – Ergonomic office furniture is linked to increased productivity in the workplace. Not sure of the correlation? Try sitting in an uncomfortable position for several hours, and complete some tasks. From the outset, you acknowledge that you’re not comfortable. The longer you sit this way the more your body will ache, which will affect your concentration and focus. The more distracted you are, the more unlikely it is that you will complete your task. It’s simple, a good working environment will encourage good working.
- Ability to Tailor – Office workers come in all shapes and sizes. Furniture that is unable to be adjusted is not going to cater for the amount of people that need to use them, particularly if you are hot desking. Furnishing your office with fully adjustable office furniture such as chairs and height adjustable desks will enable anyone to adjust their furniture for their comfort.
- Reduced Costs – As mentioned before, fully adjustable office furniture will help prevent health implications such as spinal injuries and other things. The less likely that your staff are suffering with injuries, the less likely that they will be absent from work due to sickness. Staff shortages, sickness pay and compensation costs will all mount up if employee wellbeing is considered. Ergonomic furniture is a small price to pay when considering what other costs might be around the corner.
- Improved Reputation – Equipping your workers with adjustable office furniture is for their benefit first and foremost. Doing this for your workforce demonstrates a company’s commitment to health and safety. Such attributes are recognised as positive factors within business and can put you in a good light with your peers, associates and clients. Would you rather be known for something positive or negative?
What to Look for in an Office Chair?
Now that you’ve made the right decision in buying ergonomic office furniture, you’ll want to start looking around for it. With the size of the market and the amount of choice there is available to customers, here’s a list of features that you’ll want to look out for when searching for an ergonomic office chair:
- Lumbar Support: Adjustable lumbar support allows the user to fit this to their lower back. No two people are the same and everyone has different needs. The more the chair is able to adjust to these the more users will avoid debilitating conditions like sciatica.
- Adjustability: The adjustments mentioned in the steps above should be the minimum that users should adjust for their comfort and posture. Some chairs come with as many as 14 adjustments, the more the better! As a minimum, chairs should be adjustable in lumbar support, height, width, seat back angle and tension control.
- Wheel Base: Chairs that have wheel bases are advantageous to stop users having to overstretch to reach things. Wheel bases that work on carpets are also available and it is advisable to check whether this is something that you need.
- Swivel Base: All chairs should have the ability to swivel freely so that users do not need to turn or risk arm fatigue by stretching to retrieve things.
- Fabric: Breathable fabric should be considered so that the user does not become uncomfortable in a hot environment. Alongside this there should be enough padding in the chair to ensure that the user cannot feel the frame of the seat through the material.
Advice on Using a Height Adjustable Desk
So, you’ve bought your chairs. The next thing to think about is desks. Here’s our top tips on using height adjustable desks.
It is not advisable to suddenly switch from sitting to standing all day. Doing this may increase your risk of pain in your legs, feet, back or neck. Start off standing for 15 minutes increasing to 30 and then to 60 is going to put much less strain on your muscles as they become accustomed to the change. You may want to set an alarm to ensure that your standing is timed just incase you forget!
Although using height adjustable desks increases productivity on the whole, there are some users that find they work better at certain tasks, seated. It’s important for you to ensure what tasks are performed better whilst you’re seated and standing so that your productivity is not negatively impacted.
Employees need to ensure that the height adjustable desk is adjusted ergonomically so that it is comfortable for them to carry out tasks and that they are not strained in any way. With this in mind, users need to ensure the following:
- They must maintain a good upright posture and not to slouch.
- Their upper arms should vertically hang downwards.
- Their upper and lower arm should be at right angles.
- Head and eye tilt should be at around 30-35 degrees.