During a typical workday, we spend an average of 5 hours and 41 minutes sitting at our desks. Couple this with the time spent sitting in the car commuting to and from work, sitting in front of the TV and the dinner table, and we find that the average American is sitting for roughly 13 hours a day. Added up, that’s a lot of time spent on our rear ends!
Since sitting is a big part of our daily routines, it stands to reason that it is important we make that time as comfortable as possible. Especially in spaces like the workplace, making sure you are comfortable and efficient is critical to the productive use of time.
Proper ergonomics play a substantial role in supporting workplace comfort and helping to minimize unnecessary strain on the body. As such, the office furniture you select should consider ergonomics in the design to better support workplace productivity.
Here’s a look at how ergonomics can play an important role in the workplace, and what you should look for when shopping for office furniture.
Perfect Posture Promotes Productivity
If every human were built the same way, designing office furniture would be a breeze. However, that is not the case, and as a result, it is essential to look for office furniture that can accommodate people of all shapes and sizes.
Though the industry standard for most desk heights in the market is 29-inches, there are many who believe 27-inches for a desktop height is ideal for the average individual.
The same goes for office chairs, which are usually engineered to hold a person of average height and weight. Therefore, if you’re taller than average (for instance), you’ll want to consider a chair that takes increased size into account.
All of this is based on ideal ergonomic conditions in the workplace, which include:
Arms and elbows: Where your elbows fall on your chair’s armrest should be even with the surface of your desk, creating a parallel plane with your wrists. This position allows your wrists to rest comfortably on the surface of your desk—the ideal location for typing or writing.
Therefore for those on the computer all day, stationary desks with pullout keyboard drawers that lie just under the standard 29-inch high desktop offer an ideal height for the average consumer sitting at their desk.
Legs and feet: With so many hours spent sitting during the workday, this can often lead to body aches, long-term muscle and nerve pain, and fatigue. Therefore, similar to the ideal position for your arms and elbows, your legs should also be at a 90-degree angle, allowing your feet to rest flat on the floor.
This posture also supports blood circulation, which can help a worker remain comfortable and in turn, productive. An office chair with adjustable seat heights and arm-rests, as well as an adjustable/removable headrest, can help you find your ideal sitting position.
Eyes and your monitor: When seated in the ideal position, if you look straight ahead, your eyes should be even with the top third of your computer screen. Naturally, as you get tired throughout the day, you will tend to look down more, so this height gives you a little flexibility to keep your eyes on the screen.
It’s also important that your monitor isn’t too far away, or too close. When sticking your arms straight out, your monitor should be somewhere in between where your knuckles are when making a fist and your fully extended fingertips. This ideal distance will keep your eyes from having to strain to focus on your screen.
Get on Your Feet and Boost Healthy Habits
It’s no secret these days that standing for periods of time throughout the workday is not only a healthy habit, but can help you battle medical conditions that come from sitting for too long, and can promote mental concentration.
With all of this in mind, your greatest ally in the battle to work comfortably is a standing lift desk that can keep you in a stress-free position while sitting down, but also adjusts to standing heights when needed.
Another advantage of a standing desk is that the right one will adapt with you. As you age, small changes to your posture can make it more difficult to find the proper working position. An electronic sit-stand desk can easily be adjusted during the workday, allowing you to work at your best, no matter what.
Make Storage Easily Accessible
One thing most people don’t consider when it comes to workplace comfort is the accessibility of important files, papers and workplace peripherals, such as printers. Think about all of the times during the day you need to drop to a knee to access documents in a bottom filing cabinet or reach over to grab a spreadsheet from the printer. It may seem small, but it can take a toll on the body.
An ideal office space should have a cabinet that plays multiple roles, like BDI’s Kronos Multifunction Cabinet, that keep storage and other office equipment within easy reach. As a partner to the Kronos Standing Desk, this particular multifunction cabinet is also higher than standard, so it can easily accommodate workers in a standing position as well.
Other considerations for an effective workplace include:
· Cable Management. From monitors to keyboards and printers to cell phone chargers, a desktop can get very crowded and messy without a way to keep cords organized and out-of-sight
· Modular furniture. Office systems that let you add the components you need, or allow you to configure your workspace to your exact space requirements, are ideal for creating the best daily set up.
· Adjustable features. Furniture with movable shelves or on wheels lets you accommodate the equipment you need each day, and makes it easier to move around for ease-of-access.
· Workspace Aesthetics. When you work in a space that you love, you tend to be more productive. With so many well-designed options in the market now, finding a desk or office collection that suits your style and needs is easier than ever.
In the end, when looking to set up your office space, it’s important to look for furniture that is functional, supports good ergonomic habits, is full of useful features, and perhaps most important, designed to make your life easier.