There’s no denying that ergonomics is essential in the modern workplace. Employees spend a large part of their days behind desks. Picking the right office furniture can improve not only the well-being of your workers, but also your company. It’s important to select the best ergonomic furnishings for your office space so you can make the most of your investment.
Avoiding Shoddy Ergonomic Furniture
As the demand for ergonomic workstations increases, many big-box furniture companies are advertising more comfortable, versatile desks and chairs. Yet still, often these products are not designed with science in mind – researchers have looked into the issue of how to make office furniture that puts minimal stress on the body.
Large retailers often deliver products without looking into this research. Instead, they may rely on the most basic ergonomic factors. For example, many chairs provide lumbar support, but there is much more behind the science of ergonomics.
Choosing Quality Ergonomic Furnishings
Ergonomic workstations should include characteristics aimed at supporting healthy musculoskeletal system by minimizing stress and tension on the joints, muscles, ligaments and nerves. That means the furnishings should promote a relaxed yet healthy posture while reducing pressure on the back, and pain in the neck, shoulders and other parts of the body. When selecting an ergonomic chair, look for these qualities:
- Adjustable height: A pneumatic adjustable lever raises or lowers the seat so that the employee’s feet sit flat on the floor with the thighs horizontal.
- Adjustable lumbar support: The lumbar support feature should be adjustable to conform to the inward curve of the worker’s lower back. This can reduce slouching and strain in the spine.
- Wide backrest: The backrest of an ergonomic chair should span the width of the employee’s back.
- Correct seat depth: The seat should be deep enough from front to back that the worker can sit with his or her back against the backrest without the back of the knees touching the chair.
- Comfortable material: A material that provides cushioning yet is breathable is ideal for extended periods of sitting.
It’s equally important to select a desk that meets the physical needs of the worker. There are many different options, but the key feature to look for is customizability. Adjustable-height desks can be moved so that the arms sit even with the height of the work surface. Employees should also have their monitor’s top edge just below eye level, and the top of their knees should not touch the desk. Other features can increase customizability as well. For instance, the Herman Miller Envelop desk allows for a reclined, relaxed position that promotes a healthy posture.
Another excellent adjustable-height option is the sit-to-stand desk, which is growing in popularity as it becomes clearer that there are great health benefits from switching between seated and standing positions throughout the workday. You might also choose the sit-to-walk desk. Office Designs offers the Steelcase Sit-to-Walkstation, which allows an employee to raise the work surface pneumatically and go from seated to walking atop a commercial treadmill in a matter of moments.
Cost Benefits Of Quality Ergonomic Furniture
Quality ergonomic desks and chairs have a high potential for return on investment. Ergonomic furnishings have the capacity to enhance employee satisfaction and improve worker health, which can in turn boost energy and enhance productivity. That can mean greater profits for the company.
When making this important investment, it’s wise to choose from designers that are dedicated to and experienced in crafting high-quality, ergonomically superior furnishings: Herman Miller, Steelcase, Kartell, Humanscale and Human Touch are among the top brands in ergonomics.