Every day, millions of people in the workforce spend a large portion of their day sitting down at a desk. During the day, movement in the average workplace office is limited to lunch times (for those that even take a lunch break) and primarily arm, hand, and finger movement. This is an obvious health concern, as the human body was designed to be moving more often than not. As the result of modern life in the workplace, we have become accustomed to limited movement, and various physical and mental health concerns have risen as a result. From the adjustable standing desk to the leaning chair, the evolution of ergonomic furniture in the modern office has been through many important changes over time. Initially, health in the workplace was not a massive concern, and as a result little attention was paid to the importance of addressing health in the workplace. Mental health in the workplace is of vital importance, but so is physical health.
Being healthy has always been, and will continue to always be, of incredible importance. What is relatively new, however, is the general understanding of just how important health is in the workplace. The average person spends eight to ten hours a day, five days a week in the office, sitting down. That is a lot of down time, and while this time is spent working hard it is also time spent sitting still and not moving the body all that much. A healthy lifestyle should not stop at the workplace, and yet countless people experience more health issues as a result of being confined to the office for such a large portion of time. Spending most of the day sitting in front of a screen with limited movement is not good for anyone’s body, and so little tips and tricks like taking a twenty-second break from the computer screen every twenty minutes (by staring at something twenty feet away) and going for walks during lunch breaks are making all the difference. While it is important for employees to take accountability for their health, it is also vital that the companies that hire them take care of their employees as well. One of the best ways to do this is by having the office be full of ergonomic furniture.
Ergonomics is essentially a scientific discipline that quite literally translates to “work science”. In short, ergonomics is the discipline of examining how we interact with different environments, and how those environments affect us. In many modern businesses, ergonomically sound equipment provides the base for improved satisfaction, performance, comfort, safety, and health. Having furniture in place that is more structurally sound is one of the best ways to give employees the kind of literal support that will keep them there longer, and without any unnecessary health risks involved. Additionally, companies that embrace ergonomic structuring subsequently prove how much they value their employees, and this draws in interest from prospective employees from all over. In this day and age, when there is such a monumental emphasis on health, companies cannot afford to skip over things like health awareness programs, ergonomic furniture, and structuring the work day so their employees can have lunch and get a break from their screens.
Making the office more ergonomically sound not only increases the health of employees, but its other big benefit is workplace productivity. People work easier and even harder when they are comfortable. This is not an unknown fact, but it is something that is largely ignored or unintentionally miscalculated in many professions. Careers that are largely built behind a desk is not one of those professions. Finding solutions to the health risks that are associated with desk work and limited movement throughout the day is (thankfully) relatively easy in its initial stages. A simple way to think about it is to consider the fact that the human body was designed to be able to cope, predict, and even fully embrace constant movement (if fuelled correctly). When the human body lacks either the fuel or the movement that it is designed for, it begins to send signals to the brain that it is lacking something it needs; these signs are usually experienced as aches and pains in the person, which then often require medical attention and treatment.
The modern workplace is one that is centred primarily around sitting behind a desk. Millions of people around the world spend the majority of their working week seated in front of a computer screen, typing away and making calls to clients. While this is the reality of the workplace today, it does not mean that employees should have to sacrifice their health to earn a living. Innovations like ergonomic furniture, as well as tips and tricks such as going for little walks during lunch breaks and taking a twenty-second break from the screen every twenty minutes, can make all the difference and ultimately result in a happier, healthier workplace.