How do ergonomics affect the workplace?

Collaborative work now accounts for as much time in the average office worker’s day as individual computer work, according to…

By Andy Thomas


Collaborative work now accounts for as much time in the average office worker’s day as individual computer work, according to Haworth whitepaper ‘Active Ergonomics for the Emerging Workplace’.

This whitepaper also states that the working style is changing but ergonomic design is still stuck in the days of the “cubical Farm”. Ergonomics is defined as the process of designing or arranging workplaces, products, and systems so that they fit the people who use them. Modern workplaces are filled with technology yet still ergonomics is not evolving fast enough to keep up with mobile employees. This blog will focus on how workplaces should be designed with ergonomics in mind.

The growing trends in technology has meant that workers are not bound by their desks and it has freed people to work anywhere. Going to work is now as much a social activity as a professional one. But traditional office ergonomics does not address all the collaborative areas in modern trending offices. Young workers in particular expect a wide range of interactions rather than just heads down and work. We have come far and times have indeed changed.

How do we introduce Ergonomics back into new office culture?

Classic ergonomics concentrates on individual workstations, with the assumption that an employee stays in one place throughout the day. It focuses on the employee’s seated posture at their workstation, with factors including the distance of the screen from their eyes, the position of the hands and wrists over the keyboard and desk, the height of the desk along with the adjusting capabilities of the chair.

Posture is a hot topic when it comes to ergonomics, after all it’s what we all associate ergonomics with. Does the seat have the correct lumbar, does it have height adjustable armrests, is the chair able to tilt backward, is it able to adjust its height? These are all the questions that come to mind when we think about ergonomics. Rightly so because correct posture has been proven to improve productivity as well as worker health, with poor posture associated with problems like repetitive strain injury and back pain. This topic therefore is to be taken very seriously.

We know that ergonomics plays a big part in office design but few think about it. We also know that ergonomics refers primarily to the interaction one has with the physical objects around the office such as desks, chairs, and IT equipment, but with changing attitude towards work moving into the social realm, it’s furniture like standing desks, casual sofas, hot-desking, informal meeting areas and quiet spaces that are becoming increasingly common in the modern workplace. Using these for short bursts of focused work within noisier, more collaborative open-plan offices can often help workers be more productive whilst maintaining a healthy life. Believer of Agile working philosophy we strongly support the ergonomic movement 2.0!

Contact Axis House today to see how we can help transform your workplace.

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