Ergonomic furniture is furniture that is designed to enhance the performance and wellbeing of the people within the workplace. In this article we will explore how with substantial amounts of time at work being lost to musculoskeletal disorders and the greater awareness of sedentary lifestyles on people’s health, the benefits of investing in ergonomic office furniture greatly outweigh the negatives for any business.
A core benefit of investing in ergonomic office furniture is the decrease in work related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs). WRMSDs make up a staggering 47% of work illnesses and are one of the primary reasons for days off work.
Statistics on Work-Related Musculokeletal Disorders (WRMSDs)
There is a clear correlation between the number of WRMSDs and the use of ergonomic office furniture. Senior Ergonomist at Fira, Levent Caglar states “Ergonimically excellent products…can reduce the incidence of musculo-skeletal disorders (MSD’s) and the resultant work absences.”.
Therefore, for businesses and employees, the benefits of ergonomic office furniture are greater health and wellbeing of staff, higher productivity and greater cost savings by reducing the number of sick days taken by staff.
For lower back pain disorder, research published in THOR-GP found that 11% of all cases were as a result of keyboard work and sedentary activity in the workplace. Back pain has a primary influence on making the working day considerably uncomfortable, this impairs focus, reduces efficiency while at work and can often lead to time having to be taken off work.
A secondary influence is on sleep patterns. Back pain often causes an inability to sleep which leads to a reduction in performance levels. Ergonomic furniture is designed to reduce the stress put on the back while seated countering those primary and secondary influences by lowering the instances of back pain disorder.
Non-ergonomic furniture can lead to slouching, hunching and other poor posture practices that can deliver issues including subluxations, blood vessel constriction, nerve constriction and muscle irritation.
Ergonomic furniture helps to correct these issues making for a healthier and happier workforce.
There has been a lot of publicity surrounding the cost of sedentary lifestyles and inactivity to people’s lives. With the average working adult spending 7 hours a day sat during their day, being seated for such long periods of time is often inescapable. The NHS has conducted research showing that inactivity is linked with increasing risk of conditions such as diabetes, heart problems and cancer.
It is then of crucial importance for businesses to identify the risk that having incorrect furniture can have on staff wellbeing and productivity. Levent Caglar says “they (ergonomically excellent products) are likely to improve efficiency and productivity by helping to eliminate or minimise the ill effects of twenty first century offices and work practices”.
Therefore, some of the key benefits of ergonomic office furniture are enhanced productivity and efficiency, reduction in the prevalence of illnesses and directly influencing the number of sick days taken at work.
Our best advice on ensuring that your office furniture is going to deliver its purpose ergonomically, is to ask about the standards that they are manufactured to. BS EN ISO 9241-5:1999 is the standard reference for chairs, desks, workstations, monitor arms, laptops and tablet holders. So, if you are investing in furniture for ergonomic goals make sure that they comply with those standards.
If you need any further advice on furniture for your office space then contact one of our team at Building Interiors.