What Does it Mean to be Ergonomic?
Though many have heard this word, a lot don’t understand exactly what ergonomics is and why it needs to be incorporated into everyone’s life.
“Ergonomics is the process of designing or arranging workplaces, products and systems so that they fit the people who use them.”
Ergonomics has much more to do with just seating or design… it applies to any type of design that involves people. This can range from offices, homes, and even health and safety. It is essentially all about learning people’s physical abilities and limitations in order to improve their interaction with products, systems and environments- and to minimize risk of injury or harm. Even though it most often includes physiological principles, such as furniture and general environment design, ergonomics also has to do with psychological aspects.
Herman Miller's ergonomic Mirra chair
Feeling comfortable in your space and design can have monumental benefits for everyone- especially in an office setting. Aside from wanting a place to work that is welcoming and easy to navigate and use, realizing that providing the right workspace for your business can increase productivity and lessen the chances of turnover is another reason why ergonomics is crucial to a successful work model. This ranges from choosing keyboard trays that won’t cause carpal tunnel, or to chairs that won’t lead to pain for those who sit for long periods of time. And let’s face it, we have all been stiff and sore after a meeting in seats that definitely weren’t our comfy couch at home.
Lower back pain is responsible for about a third of work-related injuries; and because many offices require their workers to be seated for most of the day, these are the people who most often suffer from lack of ergonomic seating. Since seating seems to be the most prevalent issue when it comes to incorporating ergonomics into your office, let’s go over what you need to look for when choosing the right ergonomic chair.
Lumbar support on Herman Miller's Aeron chair
Lumbar & Lower Back Support - make sure the chair has lower back support that can be adjusted. Everyone’s spine needs its own unique level of support in order to feel comfortable and to keep the right shape for their body.
Tip: Office chairs are offered with varying levels of lumbar adjustment. Ask your
employees what they think would work best for them and do option research before making the investment and buying.
Armrest height adjustment on a Herman Miller chair
Adjustable Armrests - Believe it or not, armrests can drastically affect how we sit. By having to reach too far forward or back, you can injure your neck and shoulders over time. Be sure to pick a chair that adjusts armrests in height, forward/back, and in width/pivot so that it can be customized to each person.
Tip: Choose a chair with adjustable and recessed arms so you don’t have to lean or
reach forward to reach or desk or keyboard.
Waterfall seating on a Herman Miller chair
3. Seat Adjustments- Being able to adjust the height of a chair is of course important; but so is the ability to adjust the depth of the seat. Shorter people will need less depth whereas taller people will need more. This allows their legs not to hang or feel to cramped with the chair.
Tip: Try a chair with a ‘waterfall’ or sloping front that adjusts to depth. This helps with lower body circulation since there are no harsh edges on the seat.
The best ergonomic seating choice that you can make is one with lots of adjustments available. If you want to learn more about ergonomics check out the links below and be sure to let us know how we can help you choose the right ergonomic furniture and design for your office.
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