How Ergonomic Chairs Help Staff Stay Healthy and Accomplish More

A chair is designed for sitting but it can also support motion, and that’s a healthy alternative to remaining in one position. The human body was meant to move so read on to see how selecting the right office chairswill create more favorable working conditions.

The Challenges of Sitting

Ergonomics is the study of workers interacting with the surrounding office environment, including furniture. A chair isn’t just a commodity item that’s made for sitting. It has the power to make us comfortable and more productive. What happens when it’s not the right fit?

Consider this. An employee sitting on an awkward-fitting chair and leaning forward while looking at the computer screen is putting a lot of stress on key areas of the body.

Muscles in the shoulders can get tight and tense. If a chair is too high and a person has to lean forward to look at their computer screen, then the area where our neck and shoulders join, known as the Upper Cervical spine, will eventually pull out of alignment.

It happens slowly, but that can lead to further complications including pain in the hips and lower back, which is one of the most common reasons for employee absences.

A study by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries found that Work Related Musculoskeletal Disorders account for over 40% of all Washington State Fund workers’ compensation claims. The results are available in a pdf titled Office Ergonomics, Practical Solutions for a Safer Workplace.

These claims included soft tissue injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome along with shoulder tendinitis and bursitis. Getting up and moving every couple of hours and doing simple stretching exercises can alleviate tension, but choosing an ergonomically designed chair is a lasting solution.

The Cost Benefit of Ergonomic Chairs

A price range for quality chairsis between two-hundred dollar to three-hundred dollars. Purchasing for several employees may seem like a large investment and buying sale items from a Big Box retail brand can be tempting. Consider this cost-benefit analysis.

The Washington State Fund study found that re-tooling the office with ergonomic chairs and office furniture reduced absenteeism by 75%, error rates in work quality were cut in half, and up to 40% more time was spent on work-related tasks. Ergonomic chairs boost productivity and clearly return the investment made in their purchase.

They’re effective because the chairs are designed to conform to the user’s body shape. The spine is well-supported while the knees and elbows are allowed to stay in a natural position to reduce stress on joints and ligaments.

Aesthetically, ergonomic chairs look nice. Contemporary styles fit with a variety of interior office designs. Durable fabrics and frame mean the chairs themselves have a long life.

The Result is Clear Thinking

Reduce aches and pains, and the mind can more easily think about the tasks at hand. Office chairs and furniture are meant to support staff in doing their work effectively. The result is a boost in morale with comfortable surroundings and an eye toward wellness.

When selecting office chairs and other equipment like desks and storage units, consider the impact of space planning, a service that 2010 Office provides to companies in Los Angeles and Orange Counties to maximize workflow capabilities. Share details about your project hereto benefit from 2010 Office’s 45 years of experience.

Sitting Just Right: Using Height-Adjustable Chairs for Wellness and Work

Since employees come in all heights and widths, a traditional office chair that can’t adjust has limited usefulness. Read on to learn the ways that height-adjustable chairs return their investment. Start by considering how the chairs can be used throughout an office.

Placement: The Individual Workstation

A height-adjustable chair that’s well-designed promotes employee wellness. At a person’s desk, it helps bringing the computer screen into the proper line of sight to reduce eye strain. When a screen is at a resting eye position then reading is easy and the result is good posture. This reduces strain on the neck and along the spine.

Multi-person work areas are right for height-adjustable chairs. An office may have a common desk where more than one person uses it to inspect documents or complete a task like data entry. Let’s say a team member sits in the chair and her knees easily slide beneath the surface. She gets up and leaves. The next person comes along and bumps against the side or the desktop. An easy-to-adjust office chair and adjustable deskcan work in tandem as a custom solution.

Now look at the reception area – a place of first impression for visiting clients, vendors, and guests. Many lobbies have sofas or cushiony chairs that are often low. Getting in and out of them can make a visitor feel awkward.

Chairs that provide support and are comfortable, but not rigid, can make it easier for someone to stand up for a greeting, rather than struggle to get on their feet.

Other places for height-adjustable chairs are in conference rooms or one-on-one meeting areas whether in an executive suite or human resources office. In a top-down, hierarchical world, it didn’t matter if an employee was sitting in a position that was lower than an executive. Giving each person the chance to sit at a height of their choosing can be empowering and strengthen collaborative relationships.

Quality: What to Look For in a Chair

A quality height-adjustable chair does more than easily move high or low. It should also have ergonomic benefitsand provide lumbar support. Without the support, slouching happens and strains the muscles and vertebrae in the lower back. It can also lead to foggy brain syndrome if the blood isn’t circulating well throughout the body. Eventually, employee absences occur as physical stress increases.

Let’s drill down to some key details. Seat height should range from 16 inches to 21 inches off the floor. The feet can remain flat on the floor and knees can stay in a relaxed position. This is easy on the joints, too. A pneumatic handle should be easy to reach and use.

A backrest should be about 12 inches to 19 inches wide and support the natural curve of the back. If it’s separate from the seat then it should be adjustable in height and angle.

If the backrest and seat are one unit, then it should have a locking mechanism to secure it once the best angle has been chosen. The best chairs have several control options and include comfortable arm rests.

An office chair plays an important supporting role in an office that’s planned well.

Choosing chairs, desks and reception area furnishings is important. Arranging them in the best way possible to maximize efficiency in a satisfying environment is a planning service that 2010 Furniture provides. Click hereto learn more.

The expert input is based on 45 years of interacting with executives and purchasing agents throughout Southern California in industries ranging from universities to professional firms and start-ups.

Designing a Collaborative Office Space

Creating a collaborative office space that inspires and leads to collaboration occurs when key elements are properly aligned. Corporate culture and values, an understanding of workflow and an awareness of individual needs lay the foundation for creating a welcoming space that fosters problem-solving solutions.

The Green Light to Collaborate

Corporate culture impacts how team members think and act. When leaders value and promote collaboration to solve challenges, then the staff knows what’s expected and they’re free to act in line with the vision that’s set out.

Collaboration is inherent in some industries like software design or the manufacturing of robots. Companies in Southern California that make robots use different disciplines and specialties to create a robot’s speed and range of motion. A team has to work in an office together to create a great end product. A collaborative office space is a necessity.

 

QOVE by OFS

A completely different industry like real estate is driven by individual sales, but collaboration can happen through sharing ideas and best practices. This keeps morale high and can spur sales in a brokerage.

Communicating corporate culture doesn’t just happen through vision statements and memos posted in break rooms. In any industry, people need support to work at an optimal level each day. A well-designed physical space created with professional guidance and the proper furnishings will show that the need to collaborate is a reality that’s important to the company.

CO-OP MEETING SPACES by ARCADIA

Creating a Collaborative Office Space to Benefit Your Team

Designing a physical collaborative office space that works is dependent on the company’s goals and workflow needs.

Don’t expect an architect who’s creating blue prints for new construction to create a collaborative space. That specialist knows how the walls are built, where the doors will be and can select areas for necessities like the lighting supply. Interior designers will choose materials and colors to make a work area appealing, but they typically won’t lay out a workflow and arrange desks, tables, and chairs.

The Space to Discover

A space should be designed around a company’s core strength. If it’s high-tech manufacturing then have space for tables and desks that let teams come and go. Moveable white boards for plotting sequences and writeable surfaces for scribbling can spur conversations.

In a real estate office, a setting with stylish lounge chairs and small tables for coffee and drinks can encourage individual realtors to converse and share ideas. Consider how modular storage units can keep an area neat so agents will have access to a library of resources like hard copy magazines and books on the neighborhoods around Los Angeles.

An innovative way to offer a collaborative office space in today’s open office floor plan is through the use of meeting enclaves. Open on both sides and an opening at the top, these unique solutions provide a focused space and privacy without creating walls.

HEYA LOUNGE by OFS

The Need to Retreat Within

Collaboration doesn’t just happen when teams are physically together. People often need to retreat into a quiet space to process and put their thoughts into action. Offices have undergone shifts from acting as functional work places into areas where employees want positive experiences and interaction.

An arrangement of the right tables, dividers, and storage units can create a space that’s flexible enough to let teams drift away as individuals before coming together again. The use of an individual lounge with its own power supply, privacy screen, and tablet arm gives numerous options to be in one’s own creative world.

 

 

SYNK2 by NEVINS

Today’s workplace in Southern California is one that’s incredibly diverse – not just in terms of ethnic and language groups but also generational differences. Baby Boomers grew up in their parents highly compartmentalized era while younger workers were early adopters of innovations like ride sharing.

The art in designing collaborative spaces is bringing people together but also giving them a space that’s personal and unique.

Get professional input in designing a collaborative space while using attractive furnishings that are budget friendly. Browse 2010officefurniture.com, a leader in offering servicesand products that meet a variety of office design and furnishing needs.

Read Also: Leveraging a Professionally Designed Workspace for Long-Term Gain

Image Sources: Arcadia, OFS, Nevins 

Promote Collaborative Work Spaces by Choosing Open Plan Desking Options

Glance around an office and see how the use and spacing of desks make a statement. Last century, wooden roll-top desks showed strength and compartmentalization while today’s open plan desking products invite collaboration.

Whether re-tooling an existing office space for an established company or designing a brand new space for a start-up, open plan desking can act as a focal point while establishing personal space and inviting communication.

Flexible Styles

Plenty of open plan desking options are available that fit a company’s brand and culture. An entrepreneurial team of ten to twenty people that’s growing may want a sleek and minimal appearance to match an open office design.

Bench seating can accommodate several people while bench seating options for smaller groups of four allow for an effective use of space.

In an x-shaped desk, the use of straight and rounded edges with translucent glass on top demarcates space so workers don’t feel trapped in a cubicle.

The open desk fits in an executive’s private office, too, so it can be welcoming and doesn’t have to act as a barrier to someone who enters and needs to discuss a key topic of the moment.

Today’s office desk options can work with modular style filing cabinets that slide underneath and yet allow for plenty of leg room and personal movement.

Healthy Movement

Desks have been static pieces of furniture for many years where workers sit. That’s changing. A height-adjustable deskis a healthy option that promotes a natural way of working instead of making someone sit for several hours every day. Various studies have shown that standing desks have health benefits.

A 2004 study from Cornell University’s Human Factors and Ergonomic Research Labfound that standing instead of only sitting reduced swelling in the feet and pressure on the spinal cord. A height-adjustable desk promotes a natural way of working.

Easily Adpatable

Open desks are easy to install and easy to re-arrange. Change happens, that’s no secret. As workflow increases and new clients are brought on, open desks can easily be adapted to meet current needs and situations.

Today’s many desk options can have a traditional appearance or a minimalist and modern look.

An office desk that’s comfortable and fits the task at hand provides efficiency and focus while offering an enriching work experience.

Customization is important in today’s work setting. Browse the products of 2010 Office Furniture to view desks and consider their ability to offer professional space planning services.

Device Free Work Zones: Is This Still Possible?

With technology wrapping itself to every possible type of business you can imagine, living and working in a world that is device free seems to be impossible. Calls can be conveyed through interoffice phones, Skype, Facebook Messenger and other online or smart device applications without having to leave your office, or in some cases, even your bedroom door. Sending files, converting data, billing and other day-to-day activities in the office can be done with a few clicks of the finger.  In this generation, is it still possible to work without technology?  Do we need device free work zones?

No matter how helpful technology can be to the workplace and the individuals that makes up an organization, too much technology can be bad for your employee’s emotional and mental health. Hundreds of unread emails on your inbox, missed calls on your phone, your messenger on your computer and Google Hangouts can be as equally stressful as it is convenient for you. Working relationships also suffers as employees begin to glue themselves to their computer screen.

DEVICE FREE WORK ZONES

It is time to unplug and enjoy digital detox to be able to boost creativity, reconnect with other people and develop deeper working relationships with the rest of the organization. Although it may be impossible to unplug completely from technology, creating unplugged device free work zones in the office where employees can simply relax and escape from all this technology is a good practice that has long term benefits, both for employees and the business itself.

So how can you create technology free spaces in your workplace? Here are some tips you can follow.

EMPLOYEES LOUNGE SHOULD BE DESIGNED AS WI-FI FREE

Recreation can be in different forms and you do not necessarily need technology to enjoy a few minutes of relaxation with your colleagues. Create a Wi-Fi Free area in the office such as the employee lounge where employees can talk face to face and communicate with other members of the organization. Incorporate an arts area or an area where they can meditate, do yoga or catch a quick nap. There are a lot of physical and emotional benefits in depriving yourself of technology occasionally.

IMPLEMENT A NO GADGET ZONE

Banish phones and tablets in meeting areas, the office gym, the pantry or the office garden. Occasionally, try to experience the feeling of going into a meeting without a smartphone or a laptop. Creative meetings would be more creative if you bring a pen and paper to the meeting instead of your geek tools. Encourage to go back to the simple things in life, or in work, in circumstances where it is deemed possible.

OPEN A GARDEN OR A RECREATIONAL AREA FOR YOUR EMPLOYEES

You can build a yoga studio or simple and attractive office garden to create a sanctuary that’s free from technology. Here is where your employees can have time away from those demanding emails, non-stop phone calls or online Skype meetings. Give your employees a place where they can run, hide or simply escape from the modern technologies and stress that comes together with your work.

Read Also: Office Design & Employee Satisfaction: Is Your Modern Office Modern Enough

Office Design & Employee Satisfaction: Is Your Modern Office Modern Enough

Let’s face it: there are a lot of employees who are not happy with their jobs. Of course, the reasons will vary limitlessly — from inadequate pay rates, to terrible working hours, to disagreeable bosses or co-workers, to horrible locations and unbearable commutes — and so on and so forth, etcetera, etcetera.  We got it. When it comes to dealing with meeting employee satisfaction the list can pretty much go on and on.   One way to somewhat help any office scenario, however, is office design.  Believe it or not, a well-designed professional environment can do wonders. It not only addresses key aspects of the workplace in terms of comfort, health and well-being, but it also drives employees’ moods, creativity and overall productivity.

CONSIDERING OFFICE DESIGN

Office design is definitely one of the important elements that both Human Resources and CEOs should be paying attention to. No doubt acknowledging what employees need will help employees function better and work more productively. Here are a few office design ideas on how companies and organizations, big or small, can make smart designs choices that will help boost their employees’ efficiency and productivity at work.

BETTER WORK STATIONS

An employee spends at least 8 hours a day, 5 to 6 days a week. Better working stations make the workplace a pleasant place to go to every day. Modern office trends encourage open space layouts as the go-to design for companies looking for a more collaborative and friendly working environment. An open space office layout makes brainstorming, engaging with colleagues and collaboration much more favorable.

BREAK AWAY FROM THE SEDENTARY

Sitting for long hours everyday in your work area is a serious danger to your health. Some studies even suggest that sitting for long hours at work is worse than smoking. Promote movement at work by encouraging breaks or starting  a healthy program like YOGA poses every 2 hours of work.

UPGRADING TO COMFORTABLE CHAIRS

Upgrading to more comfortable, ergonomic chairs that are suited to the height, size and health needs of your employees is critical. Granted, finding just the right chair to meet the ergonomic needs of every person in the office can be quite challenging. But with incredible new technology that’s now available out there, and countless of seating solutions to choose from, there has never been a better time to be healthier and happier while seated at the office.

CONFERENCE ROOMS ARE OUT

Modern office design is all about speed, mobility, and relaxed resimercial setups, which means stiff and stuffy conference rooms are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Companies are now implementing clever touchdown spaces instead for colleagues to catch up and quickly collaborate on projects or brainstorm ideas. Smart technology and acoustic furniture make these informal touchdown areas the perfect go-to for everyday office get togethers.

LIGHT IT UP

When it comes to office spaces, lighting is essential.  Make sure your office areas are not only adequately lit, but lit well.  Any place that’s too dark to work in typically will have a negative impact on the energy of any office and thus cause employees to be lethargic.  Natural light is best, but keep in mind that having any space too bright can also be distracting and difficult on the eyes.  The key is to find the middle ground where your office is bright, cheerful, energetic and comfortable all at the same time.  Color temperature also comes into play.  Warm light temperatures (amber/yellow) will tend to look moody, and make an area feel relaxed, while cool light temperatures (white/blue), on the other hand, have been known to increase concentration and productivity in the office.  So make sure to tailor your lighting design accordingly, depending on the general type of space and activity that goes on in there.

Read Also: Leveraging a Professionally Designed Workspace for Long-Term Gain