Furniture can have more than simple aesthetic implications to an office. The choice of furniture can also have significant implications to the health and safety of everyone who use these pieces of furniture. The Office of Management of the National Institutes of Health in the United States has outlined the health and safety benefits of ergonomic furniture, particularly an ergonomic chair. Occupational health and safety has many facets that need to be carefully considered. One of these is the improvement of workspaces and the use of ergonomic furniture in workstations.
It is within this context that choosing the best and most ergonomic furniture should receive utmost consideration by purchasing managers of companies or businesses. Offices that require employees to be in a singularly monotonous position throughout the duration of the workday should invest in pieces of furniture that allow them to maintain optimum posture in order to minimize postural related health conditions such as low back pain, frozen shoulder, and stiff neck. You can check out some of the pieces of furniture being offered at the online furniture store I Wanna Go Home (http://www.iwannagohome.com.au) to have an idea of what an ergonomic furniture would look like.
Before you can appreciate how ergonomic furniture can affect health, it is important to establish a baseline understanding of what ergonomics really is. Ergonomics is simply the scientific term for human factors. This means that it includes the study of the interactions that occur between man and the different elements where he is presently located. The overall aim of ergonomics is to optimize the wellbeing of the individual while at the same time improve the overall performance of the system where the individual is working in. Simply put, ergonomics is the science of manipulating the environment so that they become perfect fit to individuals who use these environments.
While many understand ergonomics as the design and fabrication of chairs, car instrumentation, and vehicle controls, ergonomics is more than just designing products in order for the people who use them will be comfortable and feel a lot safer. Ergonomics take into consideration the entire environment upon which this man-system interaction occurs.
As such, the health implications of ergonomics is vast. However, it all boils down to comfort, safety, and the prevention of a variety of health conditions that would otherwise result from an ill-designed piece of furniture.
One classic example is the office chair. A stiff, hard, and immovable office chair can lead to lower back pains, stiff neck, sore muscles, and even frozen shoulder. The coccyx – the bone at the end of your vertebrae where you sit on – can sometimes produce shooting pains if you were to sit on a hard surface continuously for 8 hours every single day. Additionally, the height of your chair in relation to your work desk can either produce strain on your back and on your upper arms if the chair was lower than usual or even pain in the entire length of your back together with neck pain if the chair was higher than the desk. Not being able to rest your tired and weary head while working can lead to stiff neck, shoulder pain, and other discomforts in the back.
Now consider an ergonomic chair that has been optimized to follow the natural contours of the body. There will significantly be lesser incidence of pain and discomfort. There will be no incidences of frozen shoulder, stiff neck, tired and sore forearms and upper arms, lower back pain, and shooting pains from the feet. When you stand, your posture is maintained giving you more efficient breathing that will lead to better oxygenation of the blood. The more oxygen is mixed with the blood, the better is the oxygenation of the tissues. Improved tissue oxygenation can help prevent hypoxic events that can signal the beginning of ischemic-hypoxic pathologic processes. In other words, with an ergonomic chair or furniture, not only are you eliminating problems associated with pain and discomfort, you are also facilitating the more efficient delivery of oxygen to the tissues.
One of the often cited benefits of ergonomic furniture is the comfort that they provide. By maintaining the proper alignment of the different parts of the body, strain and stress is avoided at vulnerable body parts. This provides the feeling of comfort that is necessary to ensure increased work productivity. When individuals show improvement in their work productivity, they tend to feel a lot better about themselves. They become more confident which, in turn, helps facilitate better social relationships and more stable emotions.
It is for this reason that offices and businesses should carefully consider their choice of office furniture. Not only are businesses and organizations investing in the health and well-being of their employees, they are also enhancing their employees’ work productivity. Health must always come first so that work can run smoothly. In the end, all of these will translate to better business and better income.