The old saying ‘a happy employee is a productive one’ is never more true than when considering the workplace environment and making sure people feel comfortable in their surroundings.
A key way for employees to feel comfortable is in ergonomics: the applied science of equipment design intended to maximise productivity by reducing fatigue and discomfort. Ergonomics has been a key consideration for motor manufacturers for many years to make drivers comfortable behind the wheel, and enable them to use the car’s controls easily and safely.
Similarly, ergonomics makes a big difference to comfort and safety in the workplace. Studies have shown employees work better when they’re comfortable and their work environment facilitates easy usage of equipment and machinery.
If a worker is seated comfortably in front of a computer in a supportive chair they’re bound to be more focused on their work rather than on how uncomfortable they are in a poor chair. It can improve morale, too – if people feel they’re being professionally looked after with good quality, ergonomic seating and other ‘comfort’ aspects taken care of they feel more motivated at work. It stands to reasons they’ll perform better as a result.
The Role of seating in Workplace Ergonomics
Comfortable and supportive seating is a basic requirement for anyone to be able to work effectively and productively. Poor seating can cause an employee’s concentration to waver, and their attempts to try and adjust and re-adjust an uncomfortable chair impinge on work time and productivity.
It’s also very important to be seated properly so as to use other equipment effectively. For example, not being at the correct height can make looking at a computer screen uncomfortable as the head is either tilted upwards or downwards.
An employee might spend some 8 hours minimum seated in the same chair, so if it’s uncomfortable then productivity will likely suffer. Injuries such as back problems, strains and even headaches can be caused by poor posture.
What Elements of the Chair make for Good ergonomic Design?
What to look for in a well-designed chair:
not only adjustable but easy to adjust. A pneumatic lever is the best type, and the height should be adjustable ideally from 16 to 21 inches off the ground which suits most employees. The ideal seated position when the height is correct is feet flat on the floor, thighs horizontal and arms about level with the desk or work station surface.
Seat Depth and Width
17 to 20 inches wide so as to support most users comfortably. Depth should be sufficient for the user to sit naturally and support their back against the backrest.
adjustable with a secure locking mechanism, it should be about 12 to 19 inches wide and able to support the back – especially the lumbar region.
lack of lumbar support tends to lead to the user slouching and straining the lower back. Adjustable lumbar support means the user can find the optimum position to support the lower back.
a combination of a supportive type that gives slightly is ideal. Too much padding lessens the chair’s supportive capabilities whereas a hard surface can become uncomfortable after a while.
Ergonomic Chairs making it easier to be Productive
An ergonomically sound chair and a generally comfortable work environment is likely to foster a more productive climate since employees aren’t distracted by feelings of discomfort. Put simply, their work equipment isn’t ‘getting in the way’ of concentrating on the tasks in hand. Top quality ergonomic seating is an investment that can pay dividends for a happy and productive workforce.
Patrick Boland is the CEO of the quality and comfortable heavy-duty office seating company – H&M Ergo Seating. Patrick believes that by ensuring your employee’s are comfortable and happy in the office environment, will increase productivity and staff morale.