Even the word itself rolls off your tongue in a way that makes you think of a monotonous economics lecture. Ergonom….zzzzzzz. Whilst ergonomics in the office today is about movability and comfort, keeping health in mind, how about taking it to the next level by adding some style to the equation? Let’s begin with the office space as a whole. It is crucial to entice employees to move by providing a variety of ergonomic spaces for them to work in.
For those times when teamwork is needed, spaces filled with lounge furniture that is technology-friendly is the way forward. According to Jeff Miller, Vice President of design at Poppin, whose career also includes working for big ergonomic-conscious companies like Apple and Herman Miller, offices are moving away from rigid workstations, and more toward comfortable and relaxed collaborative environments. The clean, yet rounded edges of these work lounges create an atmosphere of comfort and design in one. Collaboration doesn’t have to mean gathering in stuffy meeting rooms on 4-legged, stiff-backed chairs.
Community tables are nothing new, as it is where meetings have been conducted for decades. However, this tall community table promotes standing as well as facilitates the use of electronics. The table is a centerpiece that is ergonomic and functional, while pleasantly simple and sleek. Providing tall chairs gives employees a variety of ways to congregate and do business at the same time.
Moving onto smaller pieces, sit-to-stand desks are ‘popping up’ more frequently in the work place. Finding ones that are functional is easy, while finding ones that embrace a sense of style can be a slightly more daunting task.
The Humanscale QuickStand (left) and QuickStand Lite (right) provide solutions of movement to static desks for this sit-to-stand revolution in the work place. Alan McDonald, Managing Director, Middle East & North Africa at Humanscale, explains, ‘There are many statistics showing the benefit of standing up for 15 minutes of every hour. Not only does it “unkink the hosepipe” in terms of blood flow, but it kick-starts metabolism, which decreases over time as people sit. Anyone who doubts the effectiveness of sit-to-stand should try it. The lull that we all feel early afternoon, following lunch, becomes a thing of the past.’ Both of these award winning designs are nothing less than beautiful.
For the inevitable times during the work day where sitting at a desk is required, this Herman Miller Envelop Desk is an attractive choice. The desk slopes at its front edge for comfort, provides an ergonomic cut-out, and is adjustable to fit each employee. Its legs, while sturdy, are the antithesis of bulky, and the two-toned, mat surface adds a chic finish to the space.
The chair is often the focal point of office ergonomics, so there are quite a variety to choose from. Here are two that provide variety, ergonomic comfort, and alluring shape.
The first seated sanctuary is the Herman Miller Embody Chair. This stunning award-winning chair is adjustable in several ways, provides Pixelated Support and mimics the human body with a centered spine and ribs that flex along with its occupant.
The second chair that defines ergonomic sleek design is the Humanscale Diffrient Smart Chair. Alan McDonald describes this chair as a ‘crisp, aesthetically clean task chair.’ A unique feature of this chair is in what it lacks, rather than what it includes. Alan goes on to say, ‘There are no back-locks, tilt mechanisms or tension control knobs. Everything is built into the mechanism of the chair. When you sit, the weight of the user determines the right tension of the back. This promotes movement and weight distribution. We know that most users don’t adjust their chairs either because they can’t be bothered, it’s too complicated, or they simply don’t know how. We [at Humanscale] believe that you shouldn’t have to manually adjust. If you need to be trained on how to adjust the chair you sit on, you’ve bought the wrong chair.’
Ergonomics can be sexy if you find the products with the curves, the bends, the smoothness in all the right places. The next time you explore ergonomics in the work place, remember that it doesn’t have to be boring. It can be done well, and done with style.