The Importance of Ergonomic Office Furniture
It’s no secret that office ergonomics has quickly become a hot topic in recent times, with the move to hybrid working arrangements and workplace health and safety. There are many benefits of fitting out your workspace with ergonomic office furniture and they can lead to other positive changes within your business.
What is Office Ergonomics?
Office ergonomics refers to the science of optimising furniture such as computers, chairs and desks to make it more comfortable for the employee’s use, as well as promoting health and wellbeing. In order for furniture to be classified as ergonomic, it must adhere to a set of guidelines, which are:
- It must not restrict but enhance natural movement and flow of the human body
- Support the ‘S’ shape of the spine and not force it into an unnatural ‘C’ shape
- Must be easily adjustable to suit anyone that uses it
- It must encourage more physical movement throughout the day
- Prioritises usability over aesthetic features
- Reduce strain on joints, bones and muscles
In light of this, some common features of ergonomic furniture are:
- Height adjustability on chairs
- Pivotal screen monitors on computers
- Keyboard and mouse wrist supports
- Chair arms with 180 degree movement
- Weight activated seat mechanisms
- Temperature regulating fabrics
Preventing Injury and Improving Health:
This is the most obvious benefit that comes to mind when you hear the term ‘office ergonomics’. This is because having an ergonomic office fitout is one of the biggest preventative measures you can take to avoid workplace injuries and employees developing chronic health conditions.
Some of the most common workplace injuries include musculoskeletal conditions and repetitive motion injuries. A musculoskeletal condition is any condition that affects a person’s tendons, joints, ligaments, nerves and/or muscles. These conditions may develop slowly over time, or can occur instantly if the body is overloaded. A repetitive motion injury (often referred to as a repetitive strain injury, or RSI) is a form of musculoskeletal condition that is developed when a group of muscles is overused or repeatedly strained.
The risk of employees developing these conditions can be significantly decreased by having an ergonomic office fitout. For example, if a computer screen sits too low, an employee who repeatedly works in that space will continually crane their head, neck and back to see their computer screen. Over time, they then have an increased risk in developing a musculoskeletal condition, which can result in chronic pain and permanent damage.
Ideally, a computer screen should be positioned so that the top of the screen is either at eye-level, or slightly lower than eye-level when you are sitting upright.
Contrary to popular belief, ergonomic office fitout furniture can be very affordable for businesses. The initial cost of a fully ergonomic office fitout can potentially be slightly more expensive (although it doesn’t always have to be), but can save businesses significant amounts of money in other areas.
Workplace compensation claims have been shown to noticeably decrease in environments with an adequate level of ergonomic furniture. This is because potential musculoskeletal and repetitive strain conditions are prevented effectively, when the body is not straining to perform daily work-related tasks. The costs involved in the claims themselves decrease, as well as the indirect costs, such as administrative costs, that go into assessing and paying the claims.
Costs have also shown to be reduced in employee sick leave and absenteeism as there is less likely to be chronic pain and employees are more motivated to turn up to work and enjoy working when there isn’t a level of pain involved in completing the task.
And similar to other assets, if you purchase quality products in the first instance, you can potentially save money over time as you are not replacing items are frequently as you might with cheaper products.
Improved Morale, Attitude and Productivity:
Having ergonomic office fitout furniture means that employees are more comfortable when completing their daily tasks and have the capacity to work for longer periods without developing pain or discomfort. Being more physically comfortable, employees are able to enjoy their work more, not associate their work with negative physical feelings. In turn, have a more positive attitude and morale when in the workplace.
When an employee has an increased level of morale and positive attitude with their work, productivity is categorically increased. Without even being aware of it, staff productivity can significantly decrease when they are constantly and unconsciously having to adjust their seating position, equipment and stop to stretch or move because they have a non-ergonomic workspace. Once office ergonomics have been sorted out, they have the capacity to streamline their work, pause less to make adjustments and perform their job in a faster and more efficient manner.
How IC Corporate Interiors Can Help:
At IC Corporate Interiors, we have a wide range of ergonomic office furniture to complete your office fitout Melbourne. We specialise in supplying fully adjustable chairs, with the options of arm rests and high or low backs. Also available are height adjustable desks, ergo storage and ergo workstations, that all come with the expertise that IC Corporate Interiors have in ergonomic office fitouts. See our Office Ergonomics guide and information here.