Workplace wellbeing has become part of the workplace ethos in a dynamic way. As companies are pursuing organizational wellbeing with an enthusiasm never seen before for talent acquisition and retention. Building workplace wellbeing seems to be the right thing to do for employees, plus there’s the potential for lower absenteeism and fewer medical claims. Substantial cost savings are at stake, too. For example, thanks in part to the company’s wellbeing efforts, Steelcase health insurance premiums in 2013 will increase about 3%, less than half the 7.5% increase estimated for the year by Price Waterhouse Coopers.
Engaging the five senses—sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch—that humans perceive the world can elevate your office design for productivity. Even the best employers, providing the best workplace solutions—ergonomic seating, height-adjustable tables, views to the outdoors, multiple break rooms—may be missing something huge. What about the color of the walls? The smells in the office? The texture of furniture materials?
Ergonomic office furniture and accessories are good for your company’s bottom line. When two designers working in the middle half of the 20th century pioneered the science of ergonomics, governments and companies quickly lined up to adopt their products. Neils Diffrient and Henry Dreyfuss had hit upon a revolutionary concept – that tools should fit the form of human motion and not the other way around.(1) Governments and major companies agreed and quickly adopted these new ergonomic products for mission critical applications like chairs for submarines, tractors and commercial airlines.(1) Maybe these large institutions were compelled to purchase ergonomic based on their access to studies about the types of injury workers sustain over long periods of time. After all, these governments and large companies are familiar with implementing pensions and accommodating workers comp claims over decades, and not just the couple of hours or so it takes to pick a chair.
Workbenches for craftsmen have been around for centuries. You can find them in 19th-century photos of labs and factories. Thomas Edison had dozens of them for his workers. While cubicles and more traditional desks were the dominant work surface of the 20th century, the need to maximize office space and foster a collaborative environment, as well as the overall practicality of the design, means that the workbench is back. Most people call these modern workbenches “Benching Systems.”
Ergonomic task chairs are an essential item to choose when configuring your office for comfort and productivity. Office chairs are the most personal and customized piece of office furniture people use. While most desks fulfill their purpose in a way that is generally understandable by looking at them and imagining how they will work in your space, seating is more intuitive because the task chair’s job is to fit you like a glove or a good pair of shoes. Meanwhile, everyone has a different body type as well as different ideas of what comfort and ergonomics mean. For this reason, we polled our furniture consultants who see, try out and often elect to use the many task chairs that we offer every day. They are the experts when it comes to furniture that you have to feel in order to get to know.
Given the number of hours most of us spend in office chairs in front of a computer, the ergonomics of a good task chair is an investment in both the health of our backs and in our personal comfort. One office chair that we always try to keep in stock at Office Furniture NOW! is the Steelcase Leap Chair.