Taking Responsibility for Our Planet: How Humanscale Works to Make Actionable Change

Humanscale Liberty Chair

For the last century, the office setup has looked mostly the same. You have desks, chairs and employees working together and independently to be productive. However, between the lines, much has changed.

The people and desks are still here, but many are searching for ways to improve employee health. Sometimes, it’s as simple as upgrading your office chair. Humanscale — a New York-based organization — works with numerous companies to make actionable changes. Here’s a look at what they do.

What Is Humanscale?

Bob King founded Humanscale in 1983 with a vision of improving the way you work. King thinks you should make your desk chair and keyboard fit your body and hands instead of the reverse. Office workers often sit at their desks for eight hours or more during the day, which can lead to restlessness and health problems for your employees.

A 2019 study shows 75% of office workers reported chronic or acute back pain. Long stretches of sitting can negatively affect your physical health, so Humanscale aims to mitigate the problem by improving the blueprint for office furniture.

How Does Humanscale View Sustainability?

Another goal of Humanscale is to improve sustainability. The business ethically sources its materials and even recycles plastic to manufacture its products. Humanscale works with organizations worldwide to improve their carbon footprint and corporate social responsibility. Today, environmental, social and governance scores have become a priority for many enterprises worldwide.

Humanscale is a preferred partner for Office Designs and other organizations because it has Total Resource Use and Efficiency certification through the Green Business Certification Inc. It develops strategies for your company to become a better partner for your employees and the environment.

The Ways Humanscale Works With Organizations

Humanscale uses a holistic approach to improve your workspace. Its six-step process starts with engagement and evaluation, where it learns your needs and what you aim to achieve. Experts then analyze your company and see how you can improve.

Humanscale develops and implements strategies to improve your employees’ comfort in the office while improving their physical health and environmental footprint. Its implementation contains employee training and a certification program for office ergonomics. Educating about ergonomics is critical for reducing the risk of injuries and illnesses and increasing daily productivity.

The last steps for the Humanscale approach include measurement and support. Its professionals use data and analytics to see how your processes have improved. Humanscale uses the data to suggest further how your business can elevate workers.

How Does Humanscale Improve Office Sustainability?

One of Humanscale’s mottos is “Less bad is not good enough.” Working with Humanscale ensures your enterprise will positively affect your employees’ health and the environment. Here are six ways Humanscale improves office sustainability.

1. Zero-Waste Policy

Sustainability starts with the company itself. Practicing what you preach is essential and Humanscale does it with a zero-waste policy. It’s set a goal of 100% waste diversion by 2030 and has reported progress ahead of schedule for this mark. In 2022, Humanscale achieved 93% waste diversion intending to improve by 1% each year.

2. Desk Shields

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought significant changes to the workplace. You may see your co-workers less during the day to lessen contact — if you work from home, you may never see them in person. For those in the office, Humanscale provides separation panels and desk shields.

These dividers help tremendously in fighting viruses like COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control says the virus spreads within seconds, so the panels defend against airborne viruses. They resist harsh chemicals and are dependable with easy installation.

3. Chemical-Free Products

The past three years have emphasized keeping the office clean. Disinfectant sprays, wipes and hand sanitizer are staples now. They’re necessary for cleaning, but some household cleaners contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Many VOCs are hard to detect because they’re odorless, requiring offices to use high-quality air filters to remove them.

Humanscale prides itself in using no red-list chemicals. Some VOCs are in office furniture, leading to poor indoor air quality. Examples of red-list chemicals include formaldehyde, lead, mercury, polyvinyl chloride and more.

4. Freedom Chairs

Humanscale Freedom Chair

One of Humanscale’s most popular products is the Freedom Chair. Niels Diffrient designed it in 1999 with the human body in mind. The chair adjusts to your body weight and supports your extremities regardless of movement.

When you sit in the Freedom Chair, you’ll notice the arms move in sync. The headrest is unique because it tilts forward, supporting your head throughout the day. The gel cushions are non-degradable, giving you an excellent experience at your desk.

5. Ocean Chairs

The epitome of Humanscale sustainability is in its Ocean chairs. Humanscale produced the world’s first chair from ocean plastic — most of the seats come from reclaimed fishing nets found in the water. This waste damages habitats and threatens wildlife with choking hazards. Some marine life organizations say discarded fishing nets are the most dangerous type of plastic fish can find in the ocean.

6. Lighting

Humanscale uses innovative task lights to improve employee comfort and reduce energy consumption for office buildings. Its products use advanced light-emitting diode (LED) technology to provide optimal brightness without much power.

Humanscale devices utilize smart lighting capable of shutting off if the owner leaves the room. LEDs are preferred because they last much longer than incandescent bulbs and emit little to no heat.

Meeting Corporate Social Responsibility

For four decades, Humanscale has pioneered sustainability in the business world. It believes it is incumbent for businesses to invest in their workers and make environmental initiatives a part of their culture. Office Designs is a preferred partner of Humanscale, emphasizing sustainability and ergonomics in every workspace.

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