Reduce Staff Absences and Increase Staff Happiness with Ergonomic Seating

August 21, 2013 Ergonomics
Did you know…

Back pain is the most commonly quoted cause of absence in the UK costing UK businesses over £5 billion in lost productivity and 4.9 million working days.

Back pain is the most commonly quoted cause of absence in the UK costing UK businesses over £5 billion in lost productivity and 4.9 million working days.

75% of the population are chair-bound for 7 hours of their working day? Did you also know that 80% of people will suffer from back pain through their working lifetime?

You must remember that  it’s not just businesses that suffer; a poor or uncomfortable work environment is the second most quoted reason for an individual leaving their job. What’s more, the discomfort of a poorly designed seat and consequent back pain can lead to a significant increase in stress and fatigue – both of which can have a negative impact on an individual’s health and well being, productivity, morale and work quality.

It is the in the best interests of every business to consider the impact of poor office furniture – you only need to look at the hard cold facts to see the negative effect that it can have on both your staff and your bottom line. It’s time to take notice and consequently reap the rewards.

So, what’s the solution?

Put simply; ergonomics. Ergonomic seating puts the focus back on the workplace fitting the worker, not the worker fitting the workplace. Its aim is to evenly distribute the weight throughout the body, reducing the amount of pressure on any one point, consequently reducing pain, fatigue, stress and muscle strain. Just some of the benefits include;

  • Increased productivity
  • Increased quality of work
  • Decreased absenteeism and related costs
  • Improved employee retention and, consequently, lowered training costs
  • Increased job satisfaction and morale
  • Decreased injuries and worker compensation claims
Choosing your ergonomic seating…
  1. Look Out for Lumbar

    The spinal cord is meant to maintain its natural inward curve at all times. However, traditional office seating does not support this and instead flattens the lower back, straining its structure and leading to mobility problems. Be sure to look out for chairs that offer additional support in the lower back or ‘lumbar’ region. Adjustable support in the lower back – often provided through shaped padding or an inflatable lumbar cushion and used in conjunction with back height adjustment – allows the user to tailor the seat to their individual needs.

  2. Get Moving

    The human body wasn’t designed for sitting – and certainly not for the extended periods of time that we find ourselves in each day. With this in mind, opt for ergonomic seating that caters to a wide range of movement and working positions (adjustable elements, wheeled seating and swivel functionality) whilst continuing to support key points of the body.

  3. Take Time to Adjust

    Opt for ergonomic seating with a range of adjustable mechanisms. This allows the user to create a bespoke seating arrangement that’s specific to their needs. You’ll find that most ergonomic chairs offer one of two types of mechanism;

    • Synchronised adjustment (whereby back and seat angles adjust together)
    • Asynchronised adjustment (where back and seat angles can be moved independently)

    Both offer great support so it’s your decision as to which type of functionality would best suit your needs. Work with a knowledgeable provider that can offer advice and guidance to help you with your choice.

  4. Ignore Your Teachers

    Remember being scolded in school for not sitting up straight? Sitting bolt upright can actually have a negative impact on your health; your spine should be in a vertically stretched ‘S’ as opposed to an ‘I’ or ‘C’ shape. With this in mind, work with a provider that offers ergonomic seating reflecting the natural position of a user’s back.

  5. Level Your Legs

    Sitting in a position that requires you to hunch up your legs or, at the other end of the spectrum, freely swing them without touching the floor can put severe pressure on the discs in your back. Look out for a chair that allows you to tilt the seat in multiple ways to reach a position that’s comfortable and supportive for the user. Another point to consider is the seat depth; choose an ergonomic seat that allows you to move the back of your seat forwards and backwards, accommodating different leg lengths. Ideally, there ought to be a three-finger-wide space between the edge of a user’s seat and the bend in their knee. A gap any bigger than this can lead to muscle fatigue and back pain.

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