A traditional office interior design used to be all about image rather than function. However, in more recent times, workspace design has become much more user focussed and quite rightly so. A report by Digby Brown Solicitors revealed a large proportion of 600,000 workplace injuries recorded every year in the UK can be rooted back to outdated and unsafe office furniture. So, there is little wonder why the focus has changed!
Ensuring employees sit comfortably throughout the working day has upmost importance as ergonomic furniture can provide a wide range of benefits including relief from neck injuries, back pain, and improving mental wellbeing. It can also result in greater productivity and less absentees as employees are now more comfortable.
In this article, we will be exploring further how ergonomic office furniture can be used to support physical health in the workplace.
What is ergonomic office furniture?
Let’s start with the basics. What is ergonomic office furniture and what does it mean? The term ‘ergonomic’ comes from Greek words such as ‘ergon’ meaning work, and ‘nomoi’ which means natural laws. It’s a term applied to the study of designing objects to be adapted better to the shape of the users body and to correct their posture, keeping comfort and functionality in mind.
Ergonomic office furniture is specifically designed for efficiency and comfort for those in a working environment. In order for a piece of office furniture to be considered to be ergonomic, it must:
- Enhance the natural movement and flow of the users body without any restriction
- Be easily adjustable to accommodate a diverse range of people
- Encourage more physical movements during the day
- Reduce stress on joints, bones, and muscles
- Put usability ahead of image and convenience
- Support the natural ‘S’ posture of a user’s spine, not forcing it into a ‘C’ shape
Now that we’ve clarified what ergonomic office furniture is, it’s time to explore how it can be used to support employees health.
Ergonomic office furniture improves posture
As we have discussed, for office furniture to be considered ergonomic, it must be designed to be comfortable, adapt to the shape of the users body and to correct their posture. An ergonomic chair should have a curved backrest to support the natural curve of a person’s back. This helps the user to sit straighter and prevent them from slouching forward – a position that can often lead to back and neck problems or pain and discomfort for many.
Take our Webb 2.0 task chair for an example. It has an excellent ergonomic design that is both supportive and comfortable with a seat slide, a curved 6 position lockable backrest and 3D armrests. To top it all off, Webb 2.0 features the addition of self-synchro mechanism which makes it easier to use as it automatically adjusts itself to the users weight.
Another good example for an ergonomic office chair is our Stirling, as it is specially created from sensitive foam so that the seat moulds to every individual, providing that incomparable user comfort an ergonomic chair should provide.
If employees are comfortable in the workplace, they are likely to feel happier about coming into the office to work as well. They will also be more productive because they will be spending less time stretching and trying to get comfortable due to back pains, and more time focussed on their work.
Ergonomic office furniture supports blood flow
Sitting for long periods of time can lead to cut off circulation to the legs and cause a decrease of blood flow around the body, which impacts both physical health and brain function.
The solution to this is implementing height-adjustable desks into the workplace because they encourage movement, and it will help to keep blood and oxygen pumping around the body. To encourage a more healthy workspace, we recommend:
- Wolfe: The height-adjustable Wolfe desk is robust and offers maximum strength for a minimum weight. The almost inaudible motor operation ensures zero disturbance to surrounding colleagues, and allows the user the option to alternate between sitting and standing whilst working.
- Flexure: This height-adjustable desk is easily adaptable with the option to adjust working positions based on different team members or work assignments. It has rounded legs and endless options for flexibility.
By implementing height-adjustable desks, the user will no longer have to leave their desk in order to stretch their legs as they will now be able to do so whilst working.
Ergonomic office furniture reduces sedentary lifestyle illnesses
Office jobs can often lead to sedentary lifestyles and persistent idleness can lead to further health issues such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory problems, and diabetes. Office furniture such as height-adjustable desks are a worthy investment to encourage more movement in the workspace and prevent employees suffering from any health issues caused by a sedentary lifestyle.
Employees from the NHS found that by having the option to stand at their desk, time sitting down was reduced by more than an hour a day compared with their colleagues. The year long study also found that 77 employees felt less tired and more engaged when using a height-adjustable desk and reported improvements in musculoskeletal problems. Not only that but in a separate study, 47% of people with height adjustable desks reported a significant reduction in upper back, shoulder, and neck discomfort.
It's really important that employees do not just sit down all day at work as a sedentary lifestyle can lead to a number of health issues. Therefore, implementing height-adjustable desks will help encourage more movement, and in turn, will make users feel less tired and more productive.
Ergonomic office furniture from Haiken
The ergonomic office furniture solutions we have shown within this article will ensure that employees are more comfortable at work, decreasing the chances of any injury. By investing in ergonomic office furniture, employees will feel more productive, and this will result in a higher quality of work being produced.
If you are interested in any of the office furniture items in this article or would like to know more about our ergonomic office furniture options, please feel free to contact us today.