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Buying Ergonomic Furniture: What You Need To Know

Buying Ergonomic Furniture: What You Need To Know

Going ergonomic in your office may require a bit of a makeover but the benefits to the workers far outweigh the costs and trouble. A recent report by Steelcase showed that 88% of small business owners say office chairs impact employee productivity, yet 13 percent say their chair is so uncomfortable it prevents them from doing their job to the best of their ability. But you need to know a few things before splurging on those high-end ergonomic chairs.

First, remember that ergonomics is a study of processes, not a product. It’s the method of matching workers with the furniture and space to minimize hazards for discomfort and injuries. By focusing on the processes of an individual throughout their workday, you’ll begin realize a few tweaks to posture, chair arms, chair height, monitor height, etc., will have a great impact.

In addition, you need to know your workers. It’s critical to know the prospective users’ individual characteristics. These can make significant differences in choosing the proper ergonomic furniture. Points to consider are height, body size, right or left handedness, and gender.

You need to know their tasks. Different equipment is required for different tasks. It also calls for different layouts and accessories. Knowing the task basics can help you determine what can make the task ‘ergonomically’ better. Will it require a lot of typing? Is typing combined with other tasks like using the phone or taking notes? Does the task require the use of mouse or other input devices?

The chair is probably the most important part of a workstation so a basic knowledge on maintaining chairs is important for an office manager. Some normal problems include screws and bolts falling out or loosening, hydraulic cylinders failing to hold, and also lint and hair in the rollers or casters.

When asked what they desire most in an office chair, over half of small business owners (52%) wish their office chair had adjustable lower back support while one-third (34%) wish it had the ability to adjust the seat height and three in ten (30%) wish it had adjustable arm rests. Be sure employees receive an adequate tutorial and follow-up on the adjustment features.

In addition to the above items, here are some other considerations for an ergonomically healthy office environment:

–      Office dimensions and available space

–      Existing furniture arrangement and layout

–      Light sources

–      Size and type of the computers to be used

–      Floor mounted or table mounted computers

–      Computer accessories and peripherals like external hard drives, optical drives, other storage devices, input devices like mice, graphics tablets, styluses, and others

–      Co-worker interaction

Here are some features to consider when selecting office furniture and even electronics

–      Adjustability range for furniture so they can fit the prospective users.

–      Fully adjustable chairs with armrests that are also height adjustable

–      Preferably an adjustable desk as well

–      If you decide on non-adjustable desk or chairs, a footrest is highly recommended

–      Accessories, e.g., mouse, copy holder, task lamps, etc. You may need to discuss with the workers to get feedback. Personal preferences are important.

–      The CPU ports should be easy to reach for the use of memory sticks, external drives, etc.

 Having a well-rounded understanding of ergonomics is imperative to any business owner that is undertaking an office renovation or simply picking out new furniture. Understanding that productivity relies heavily on comfort and function is key. If you’d like more information about ergonomics, ROSI can help.

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