Ergonomics at Work

Think about your workday for a moment. Chances are you spend a lot of it in a seated position, most likely typing away on your computer. 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, 4 weeks per month...that's 9,600 minutes of work. Contrast that with the average working American's 10,140 minutes of sleep per month (on weekdays), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (For an interesting global comparison of sleep patterns around the world, check out this Huff Post article). We don't, in fact, spend much more time asleep than at work. Why then do we pay so much attention to the comfort of our beds, when we don't give half as much thought to our office furniture, and spend almost the same amount of time there?

How you work influences how you feel. You can improve the comfort of your work environment by considering the ergonomics of your space. Ergonomics refers to the applied science of designing products we use so that we can use them in a safe and productive manner. Unsurprisingly, there are quite a few studies out there about how working in optimal ergonomic conditions can improve productivity and overall health.

Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) are a substantial risk in the workplace -- how many evenings have you spent with sore forearms or neck from craning at the computer? According to the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, these injuries cost businesses up to $20 billion dollars per year. Ergonomic furniture products, keyboards, chairs, and adjustable height desks can help mitigate the negative effects of RSI, and are increasingly popular in the workplace.

The importance of office ergonomics is gaining attention in the news, as well. In Silicon Valley, Esther Gokhale teaches posture techniques (check some of them out here, with diagrams). Sitting for long periods of time negatively impacts our muscles and causes in some cases long-term injuries. For a checklist to see if you are at risk for RSI, take a look at this checklist for your workstation and office design.

Check out Microsoft's guide to help you set up your office design to work in the most ergonomically functional way for you or contact us with any questions! We're here to help you design your custom office and classroom furniture environments.

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