Technology & Industry

New advancements in ergonomic technology

Ergonomics play a major role in office design, yet the science behind the discipline is relatively new. Ergonomics emerged in the 1940s when it became clear that technology would continue to become more prominent in the workplace and that attention must be paid to the physical demands of sitting in front of a monitor for long hours at a time.

Office designs that complement workers’ strengths and abilities have a great capacity to improve productivity and make employees’ experience in the office more satisfying. Knowing this, scientists and researchers have worked to improve the way that humans interact with technology. This has spurred advancements to make office spaces more comfortable, health-conscious and efficient, such as the following:

Sit-to-stand desk
In recent years, organizations such as the American Medical Association have been putting greater emphasis on the dangers of sitting for extended periods of time. With that in mind, designers created the standing desk. However, this development posed another issue: Standing for too long can also be bad for the back, knees and feet.

Office Designs offers the Steelcase Series 7 sit-to-stand desk, which allows users to quickly and easily go between seated and standing positions.Office Designs offers the Steelcase Series 7 sit-to-stand desk, which allows users to quickly and easily go between seated and standing positions.

The solution is the sit-to-stand desk, such as the Steelcase Series 7 available through Office Designs. This height-adjustable piece allows workers to quickly and easily go from seated to standing positions (or vice versa) without having to reconfigure their computer setup. A study published in the CDC journal Preventing Chronic Disease explored the ergonomic rewards of different types of desks, finding that sit-to-stand desks are superior to other options on the market and can generate substantial health benefits for workers.

Wearable technology
As Discussions and Analysis magazine notes, wearable technology may just be the biggest technological trend since the tablet PC. Headsets have become common in the workplace, as they have been shown to reduce neck and back pain associated with using a phone, all while promoting good posture.

“Ergonomic chairs have become a mainstay in the workplace.”

With recent advancements in technology, more can be done with wearables than ever thought possible. Google Glass puts a computer screen right in front of your eyes, leaving your hands free to do other things – you could receive and read an email through the wearable without ever having to pick up a device. Workers may also soon be utilizing Kapture, a wristband that records audio, making it easier to take notes on the job.

Ergonomically designed seating
Ergonomic chairs have become a mainstay in the workplace, as the scientific community grows increasingly aware of the importance of a technologically advanced ergonomic chair. Seating that fails to provide proper support can cause injury that forces workers to divert their attention from their jobs, and it can also cause long-term health complications such a lower back pain.

However, the question arises: How do you know if your chair is providing proper support? In spring 2014, researchers from Indiana University answered this question by conducting a study to compare the ergonomic benefits of three different chairs: the Herman Miller Aeron, the Herman Miller Embody and a generic-brand ergonomic chair from a large office supply chain store.

Researchers from Indiana University found the Herman Miller Aeron chair to be superior to a popular generic-brand alternative.Researchers from Indiana University found the Herman Miller Aeron chair to be superior to a popular generic-brand alternative.

The comparative evaluation looked at individual features, ease of use, body support, level of comfort and overall experience of sitting in each of these chairs. In all five areas, the Herman Miller chairs outscored the generic seating option, leading the researchers to encourage turning to the Embody and Aeron chairs for everyday use in the office.

“Since the average office employee can be found working while seated, it is necessary to invest in proper ergonomic seating, like the Aeron and Embody chairs, in order to prevent unnecessary injuries resulting from an improper support system,” the study concluded.

Embracing advancements in ergonomic technology is an essential part of office design. Seating should be seen as an investment that leads to enhanced productivity, better health and happier workers. These benefits can provide substantial return on investment for the company. Office Designs provides a wide array of ergonomic office furnishings, including the Herman Miller Aeron and Embody chairs, to help you harness the power of advanced ergonomics.

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