The Power of Ergonomics to Increase Productivity in the Workplace

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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.

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Photo by Humanscale

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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.

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Photo courtesy of National Office

 

Power Up The Conference Room The Cool Way

 

How many times have we been at a meeting, proceed to check your emails on your favorite electronic device and What?! We see that we are just running out of juice!You do not want to get up to plug your device and interrupt your boss for sure…So here something to consider a solution:

There is this product called Trace Power by OFS Brands. It is an aluminum rail mounted around the perimeter of a table top that delivers power and A/V connections in a minimal and seamless way. Love it.

The best part: Every seat at the table has access to power at the edge of the surface. We hear angels singing!

Check it out: http://www.ofs.com/produc…/tables_technology_reception/trace

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The Highlights from NeoCon 2011

 

Office furniture is ever evolving. Not only to keep up with the newest in color and design, but just as important is the functionality. As businesses adapt to the economic and environmental changes, so too must how and where they work. The NeoCon Conference is always an excellent peak into the what the future holds for office furnishings.

That’s why we didn’t just send a couple of folks to NeoCon this year. We sent our whole sales and management team! Terry Creel, one of our team members, noted the move away from traditional desking systems, towards more open and collaborative spaces.

“The benching trend is something we’ve seen coming for a while,” he said. “This year it became mainstream.”

And Bryan Carr, who recently joined our staff, noted an interesting observation,

“We saw that there was a push toward small group areas with soft seating and embedded technology. Flatscreen televisions with built-in connectivity and wireless charging for portable devices, stole the show.”

Media:scape by Steelcase was perhaps the biggest exhibitor of this exciting new trend. And, Davis Furniture Industries, won four awards for best Seating: Guest, Conference and Sofas & Lounge, and Best Conference Room Furniture for their Ekko line of tables.

Overall, NeoCon 2011 did not disappoint! Just when you think nothing new can be done, there were thousands of innovative products and resources for corporate hospitality, healthcare, retail, government, institutional interiors from hundreds of showrooms and exhibitors. Check out just a few of our favorites below:

Click image to see the complete gallery of our favorites.

 

 

Electronics Charging Unplugged. How Does This Effect Office Furniture?

 

The answer is – a great deal.

Can you imagine being able to simply lay your laptop or phone on a desk and it automatically begins to recharge your battery if needed? Well, the technology for wireless charging embedded into furniture is here and being manufactured, now.

So, why do we need it?
As noted in a recent whitepaper from KI, titled Charging Ahead: Intelligent Wireless Power for Real World Environments, the explosive growth of the portable electronics industry has helped to reinvent the way consumers and businesses work, play and communicate.

• According to the Consumer Electronics Association, the average U.S. household owns 25 consumer electronics products
• It is estimated that by 2013, the average U.S. household will have 2.5x as many digital media devices in use as in in 2008.
• These portable devices are being transported into the workplace, community spaces and campus buildings and the number of these electronics continues to increase daily.

Now, imagine an office environment having to support all of these devices when it comes to recharging the batteries. The cord clutter alone becomes a bit overwhelming doesn’t it? Not to mention the number of wall sockets that will be required to accommodate the increasing number of portable electronics. Hence, the push for wireless charging.

Wireless power
Some furniture manufacturers such as KI are already looking to the future by partnering with Fulton Innovation and embedding wireless charging into their furniture with eCoupled technology. The results include flat surfaces such as desks and counter tops that will have the capability of charging batteries simply by laying your device on the surface. This intelligent technology will not only know if your device needs charging, it will immediately begin the charging process.

IMS Research projects that over 900 million devices will be in the market by 2019 using wireless charging and over 50% of the market will use embedded solutions.

How do you feel about wireless charging? Will you consider purchasing furniture with this capability?

For more information on how the technology actually works when embedded in furniture check out this video be sure to read the KI pdf listed here.