Ergonomics 101


A lot is made of a product’s ergonomic benefit, but the term is rarely explained or defined in a way that makes sense to businesses and employees—the people who would benefit most from an ergonomic design.

More specifically, “ergonomics” refers to the study of equipment design for the purpose of benefiting the human body along with its movements and cognitive abilities. While much of the design process is centered on an initial comfort test, a large part of ergonomics has to do with a piece of furniture’s functionality or how it fits into a person’s everyday working environment. For example, what is often analyzed when it comes to an office desk or chair is how easy it is to lean and move around or sit at the desk for hours while working on a project. How will repeating these activities in this particular piece of furniture create or avoid injuries?

The repetition question, or the long-term uncertainty of seating, is what an ergonomic seeks to answer. It’s also one that needs to be answered quickly, because chronic pain in the workplace is showing no signs of slowing. According to a study conducted by Cornell University, 50 percent of office injuries stem from the lower back, suggesting poor chair design is at least partially to blame.

What this suggests is that choosing the wrong office chair can lead to serious, life-altering injuries and it forces us to consider a few key ergonomic elements of our respective office chairs. One feature to keep in mind is chair height, which can alleviate pressure on the thighs, pelvis and back when adjusted properly. Well-placed armrests put less upper-body stress on the neck and shoulders while still making it possible to dig into one’s work.

As a business owner, it is important to realize that these decisions regarding ergonomics have a daily impact on productivity, ultimately to the tune of thousands of dollars. This is exactly why it is pivotal to begin your company’s ergonomic chair search on a site and with a seating provider that genuinely is concerned with your employees’ well being.

The value of good posture and ergonomics in seating and chairs