The Power of Ergonomics to Increase Productivity in the Workplace

ergonomic

 

Ergonomics is all about efficiency, less downtime, and better performance, which leads to increased productivity. Isn’t that what all businesses want? Technology has created a variety of tools for the workplace, computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones changing how we work.  Each tool presents new opportunities, as well as challenges for workers. Addressing ergonomic issues affects staff emotionally as well as physically, because it expresses the company’s core values to employees that their health and wellbeing matter.

Most ergonomic injuries happen slowly over time, so they may not be initially detected. It may seem like things are going fine in your business, but gradually poor ergonomics will become more apparent in workers from eye strain, to issues like carpal tunnel, and  back and neck strain slowing productivity. Simple things can be done to design a workplace that minimizes fatigue, stress and injuries to workers that keeps business running smoothly. Many companies are creating tools that can be easily implemented into your business.

Photo of Knoll Remix Chair, Courtesy of Knoll
Photo of Knoll Remix Chair, Courtesy of Knoll

Knoll takes an approach called “holistic ergonomics” in the development of products that address ergonomic concerns.  As the company states in a research paper produced by Knoll, called “Holistic Ergonomics™ – A New Approach”, “Thus, holistic ergonomics is all about creating products and workspaces that support how people think and move.”

Knoll’s popular Remix Chair™ is a prime example of this approach. The chair is designed for performance, as well as comfort.  “Inspired by the idea of bringing pre-existing elements together to make something entirely new, Remix pairs upholstered comfort with innovative Flex Net Matrix™ technology for active, all day support. Remix delivers unexpected performance in a familiar form. By combining traditional and innovative elements, Remix infuses movement into a traditionally static upholstered chair,” according to Knoll.

remic_01Knoll’s popular Remix Chair™ is a prime example of this approach. The chair is designed for performance, as well as comfort.  “Inspired by the idea of bringing pre-existing elements together to make something entirely new, Remix pairs upholstered comfort with innovative Flex Net Matrix™ technology for active, all day support. Remix delivers unexpected performance in a familiar form. By combining traditional and innovative elements, Remix infuses movement into a traditionally static upholstered chair,” according to Knoll.

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Photo of Kimball Joya Chair™courtesy of Kimball

Kimball Office is also committed to creating ergonomic workplace solutions.  According to Kimball, the Kimball Joya™ Chair is designed with advanced ergonomics in mind that perfectly fits all body types and offers back support and fits any workspace.  Advanced ergonomics and material technology give the Joya its smooth-flowing movement. Thoughtfully scaled seat and back components support a wide range of body types comfortably encouraging healthy postures and reducing physical stress. Optional sliding seats modify thigh and back support for people with long legs while an adjustable lumbar option personalizes lower back comfort.

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Both sitting all day and standing all day can be tough on the body. The Humanscale workstation standing desk makes it easy to create some balance. The QuickStand height-adjustable workstation is easy to operate.

sitstand_01
Photo by Humanscale

SitStand_03

 

National’s ergonomic keyboard kit includes a keyboard mechanism with a tray that adjusts from -15° to +15°, 360° swivel, and arm tilt that moves up and down. The mouse tray can be moved to support right or left-handed users. The keyboard kit also includes high density polyethylene tray platform, foam gel wrist pad, and thermoplastic mouse tray.

Basic_Keyboard
Photo courtesy of National Office

 

Congrats to Kimball Office

innovation lab

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3 Main Categories of Office Furniture Styles

Even with the thousands of options available when choosing office furniture, everything basically falls into three distinct categories:

  1. Traditional
  2. Transitional
  3. Contemporary

The traditional and contemporary styles fulfill the more extreme and defined needs to express one’s taste. But it is the transitional styles that have gained such widespread appeal in recent years. As a matter of fact we are finding that more than 50% of what we sell today falls within the “transitional” styles. The more blended design approach works with a wider variety of furnishings and is less likely to limit a company’s personality. And the furniture you choose defines who you are. Which style are you?

TRADITIONAL

traditional furniture
Kimball Senator

Traditional furniture is exactly what it sounds like – traditional. Usually made of wood, with sometimes ornate accents, traditional furniture has been a staple in office environments for more than a century. There’s a certain beauty in the warmth and comfort that traditionally styled furniture can have. But it can also come off as antiquated or gaudy without careful consideration.

 

TRANSITIONAL

transitional furniture
Knoll Reff

Transitional furniture is less rigid by definition, but essentially marries traditional styling with modern aesthetics. Materials and styles vary widely but laminates are often used to provide a contrasted look of wood against metal, with glass sometimes used as an accent. With this style of furniture, the interior designer has a lot of flexibility to let  the environment dictate mood and atmosphere.

CONTEMPORARY

contemporary and modern furniture
Knoll Ross Lovegrove Collection

Contemporary furniture usually embraces minimalism in its quest for a sleek appearance. Metal, glass and composite materials are commonly used to achieve this. White and black are the most popular colors, sometimes using bright and bold colors for contrast. There’s a cleanliness to this look, often appearing futuristic in its execution. Critics claim this style can sometimes feel cold and uninviting, when taken to extremes.

“Contemporary” furniture is also considered “modern” by most standards. Yet, surprisingly, much of the furniture we classify as contemporary was designed in the 50’s and 60’s. Pioneers in this mid-century modern design such as Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe and Saarinen inspired many of the new designs being manufactured today including the chair below by Saarinen.

tulip chair by Eero Saa

What do you think? What’s your favorite style of furniture?

 

10 Essential Furnishings Every Office Needs To Consider

Sometimes knowing what your office doesn’t need helps narrow your furniture purchasing strategy. Whether the size of your office is large or small, the following basic furnishings should always be considered, even if it is determined some of them are unnecessary.

TASK SEATING Designed to be adaptable to specific tasks performed, ergonomic chairs allow your employees to get the job done faster, in a more comfortable and healthy way.

 

DESKING SYSTEMS Today’s organized systems provide places for computers, numerous devices and ‘things’.

 

VISITOR SEATING Seating that gives your guests or patients a place to get comfortable, in areas such as lounges or waiting rooms.

 

OCCASIONAL FURNITURE This shows that you’ve put more thought into your workplace than “just the basics.”

 

RECEPTION AREA – Extra attention here gives you opportunity to make a great first impression.

 

ARCHITECTURAL WALLS/PANEL SYSTEMS These systems create division between people and distractions.

 

POWER/DATA SOLUTIONS An important consideration for your furniture in today’s ‘connected’ world.

 

TASK LIGHTING The illuminance level and contrast and proper lighting for mood and eyesight cannot be underestimated.

 

STORAGE Planning ahead gives you a place to file documents, clear clutter and hide personal belongings.

 

BREAK ROOM TABLES AND SEATING Area that allows your employees to take a healthy break from their work for a meal or even conversation.

 

What do you think? What furnishings do you consider essential in your office?