A typical office worker starts their day by heading out to their car and sitting down in the driver’s seat to commute to work. After they arrive at the office, they spend approximately 6 hours a day sitting at their desks. When the workday is done, they get back in their car and sit some more while driving back home. After they arrive, they typically plop down on the couch to watch some TV or sit down to grab a bite to eat. When you add all of this up, most people in the US spend approximately 13 hours a day in a seated position.
Because the majority of people spend such a large percentage of their time sitting, investing in comfortable furniture is essential. This is particularly true at the office. If you want to stay as productive as possible, you need to find furniture that is comfortable and supportive.
Ergonomically designed furniture not only increases comfort but also reduces strain, minimizing pain and fatigue. By looking for furniture that is designed with ergonomics in mind, you can create a more productive work environment.
To understand how ergonomically designed furniture can impact productivity, keep reading. Below are some helpful tips on what to look for when you buy new furniture for your office.
Better Posture Translates Into Better Work Performance
Imagine how easy it would be to design office furniture if everyone was exactly the same size and shape. As it turns out, though, people come in a wide range of sizes, meaning that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to furniture.
The standard height for desks is typically 29 inches. A lot of people argue, however, that a better height is 27 inches since it is more suitable for the average person.
Office chairs are typically designed to accommodate people who fall somewhere in the middle in terms of their weight and height. If your height falls outside of the norm, you should think about looking for a chair that is designed for taller or shorter individuals.
To tell whether or not a particular chair is a good fit from an ergonomics standpoint, consider the following tips:
Upper Body: When seated, your arms should be bent at 90° at the elbow, with your wrists extending straight outward without bending one way or the other. With this setup, you can rest your wrists in a neutral position while typing, writing, or working on other projects.
If you spend a lot of time working on your computer, consider looking for a standard height desk with a keyboard drawer that pulls out. Typically, the drawer is a little bit lower than the top of the desk, making it possible to sit comfortably in the proper position.
Lower Body: Spending so much time sitting can put a lot of strain on the body, leading to aches and pains, nerve problems, and fatigue. Much like your upper body, your knees should be bent at 90° with the bottoms of your feet sitting completely flat against the floor.
Sitting in this position promotes good circulation, helping to minimize discomfort. This can lead to an increase in productivity. Make it easier to find the right position by looking for an adjustable office chair. Being able to not only adjust the height of the chair but also the height and position of the armrests and headrest is ideal since it allows you to customize your work area specifically for your body.
Head Position: When you are sitting at your desk with your head pointing straight forward, your eyes should fall somewhere in the upper third of your computer monitor. Throughout the course of the day, as you become fatigued, the natural tendency is to lower your eyes a bit. Positioning yourself with your eyes even with the upper portion of the screen helps account for this tendency.
The monitor itself should also be located the correct distance away from your head and body. To test whether your monitor is too far away, extend one of your arms straight out in front of you. The front of your monitor should line up somewhere between the top of your palm and the ends of your fingers. Positioning your monitor at this distance helps minimize eyestrain.
Stand Whenever Possible
Spending more time standing at work can make a big difference in your health. It also can prevent long-term medical problems associated with sitting for extended periods of time. As an added bonus, standing also makes it easier to concentrate.
One way to make standing more practical is by investing in a sit-to-stand desk. These desks have an adjustable surface that can be raised or lowered, allowing you to work either in a sitting or standing position.
Choosing one of these desks provides a lot of flexibility. Not only can you decide whether you want to sit or stand but you also can adjust the height of the desk to promote better posture. Being able to adjust your desk throughout the day makes it possible to always maintain the ideal posture as you work, increasing productivity as a result.
Prioritize Accessibility With Storage Solutions
In a well-designed office, any files, peripheral devices, or papers should be easy to access. To see just how important this is, picture a typical workday. How many times do you need to kneel down to dig out documents that are filed away in a bottom drawer? How often do you have to stretch across a wide space to grab a freshly-printed document out of the printer? Even though these issues seem relatively minor, they can have an impact on your physical well-being over time.
When designing office space, look for furniture that can serve more than one function. For instance, the Kronos Multifunction Cabinet by BDI not only provides storage but also makes it easy to access peripheral devices. It is designed to work with the Kronos Standing Desk, meaning that it can be accessed from both seated and standing positions.
Other steps you can take to create a more productive work area include the following:
- Look into cable management solutions to keep your cables from overrunning your space. There are a number of products designed to not only keep cords from getting tangled but also to hide them from sight.
- Consider buying modular office furniture. Going with a modular furniture system allows you to mix and match different pieces to create the perfect office space for your needs.
- Choose adjustable furniture. For the ultimate in ergonomic design, look for furniture pieces that can be adjusted. That way, you can set them up so that they work well in your space and are easy for you to access.
- Think about the design of your office. Having an attractive office can go a long way toward boosting productivity. Today, there are plenty of furniture pieces that are not only functional but also attractive, making it possible to create an office space that you can be proud of.
Ultimately, your goal should be to look for office furniture that not only functions well but that also is ergonomically designed. Every piece of furniture that you bring into your space should serve a purpose and should make your workday a little bit easier.