Finding quality office furniture to support your posture can be a difficult task, but it is crucial that you are able to create a healthy work environment for yourself and your employees. Whether you work from home or run a busy office, the physical stress you endure on the job can take a toll on your body over time. Making a few adjustments to the furniture you use, however, can make all the difference. Therefore, when you are looking into office furniture services, you might want to take a few important postural factors into consideration before making your final selection.
Why Your Posture Matters
Your posture plays a huge role in how your body feels. Many people hold down jobs where they have to sit, bend, or stoop down for a large portion of each working day. While you might not be able to see the physical results of this, you might notice that you feel more aches, pains, or stiffness throughout your spine and into your shoulders and thighs. The joints in your knees, ankles, hands, and even your fingers might ache more too. Also, your overall core strength can deplete over time if your poor posture continues. If you continue to engage in sedentary behaviors for years, you run the risk of developing (and possibly dying from) cardiovascular disease.
Having good posture throughout the day helps you maintain your balance, improve upon your favorite sports, and keep your risk of sustaining an injury reduced.
So, what does good posture look like? Your shoulders should be even, your chin level with the floor, hips kept evenly spaced, knees facing straight ahead of you, and your spine should be in a neutral position. Unfortunately, when you are on the job, you might find yourself hunching over, turning your knees out to the sides, or placing more weight on one foot than on the other.
How Your Office Furniture Affects Your Posture
When you are looking to create refurbished office environments or to acquire custom office furniture, you will want to consider how each piece of furniture can potentially impact your posture. Desks, computers, and office chair heights can impact your posture. If your chair seems too low and desk and computer screen too high, you will likely end up craning your neck to try to get a better view of your screen.
Office furniture that promotes poor posture can affect productivity in the workplace. When you are using stiff and uncomfortable office furniture, you and your employees might find yourselves feeling more symptoms of chronic pain and fatigue. As many studies have found, sitting down for prolonged periods of time can lead to increased health risk factors. Cardiovascular fatality in particular has been linked to the increase in sedentary behaviors in adults, including in adults who sit down for hours at a time while they work. Over the past 50 years or so, workers are expending significantly less physical energy while at work, a trend which is projected to continue well into the future as sedentary office jobs become more widespread.
This is why some workplaces are adopting more sit-stand work stations for their employees. Since it is difficult for you and your employees to keep up on physical activity during the working day, you might want to consider getting furniture that adapts your environment into one that encourages better posture through standing at desks for part of the work shift.
What to Look For When Buying Office Furniture
When you are looking at refurbished office furniture or custom office furniture for your work space, you are going to need to take several key factors into consideration before finalizing your purchases. What should you keep in mind as you browse different office furniture services?
Selecting the Right Surface Height of Your Desk
When buying office desks, one of the chief factors that you might want to consider is finding a desk with a surface height that best fits the job that you or your employees will be doing. You can choose between traditional seated desks or opt for standing or semi-standing office desks. It is also a good idea to base the height of the desk’s surface on individual workers or find desks that are adjustable by height. If you are working as an architect, you might want to find a desk with a higher surface than you would if you were working in a data entry position.
Are you working predominantly from a laptop? If so, you might want to invest in a high-quality laptop stand that also comes with a built-in stand for your mouse. This can help keep your laptop at eye level and prevents you from having to crane your neck in an uncomfortable position. These stands are easy to adjust and are typically lightweight, making them easy to carry with you if you need to move about to different work stations.
There are also height-adjustable stands for your office desk if you work from a PC. Treadmill and standing desks are both helpful at promoting better posture while on the job. However, getting a sit-stand office desk stand can maximize your comfort level while you work. This stand will allow you to get up on your feet as needed but are also adjustable enough to level your face with the computer monitor when you go to sit back down. You should look for the sit-stand office desk stands that give you the most diversity in terms of how you can arrange the three different panels it has built in to fit your body type and preferred posture. If you are buying for an entire office full of employees, you can get maximum versatility for their body shapes and postures by investing in sit-stand office desk stands.
Finding a Chair That Adjusts to the Height and Posture You Need
Your average office chair might offer little in the way of postural support, and older office chairs certainly lack the dynamic shapes and adjustable features that brand new office chairs have. In your quest to find quality office furniture, finding chairs that adjust to the right height and posture is important, especially if you will need to do more sitting than standing while on the clock. Whichever type of office chair you decide to get, it should be able to get you sitting level with your desk at elbow height, which is the optimal position for maintaining good posture.
If you have browsed around the Internet lately or been inside another office, you might have seen balance ball chairs. These look like Pilates balls stuck onto office chairs, and they pretty much are! Sitting on one of these balance ball chairs helps to promote a healthy posture since they gently force you to keep your body balanced while you are sitting down on one of them. Just be aware that prolonged sitting on a balance ball chair might have a negative impact on your lower back, just like sitting down in a regular office chair for any extended period of time.
Finding the right balance ball chair size is also important and should be based on your own stature. Men and women who are under 5′ tall should get an exercise ball chair that is 45 cm. 55 cm balance ball chairs work best for those who stand between 5′ and 5’7″ while those who are over 5’7″ should use a 65 cm balance ball chair.
Some contemporary office chairs will actually adjust automatically to your body shape and your own unique movements. With manual controls, it can be hard to find the right adjustment or to even know what height will promote the best posture for you. Automatically adjusting office chairs tend to offer special features like arm rests that move along with you as you recline. Many of them also have pivoting back rests that curve themselves to cater to the shape of your spine while you are sitting. Also, these back rests offer you plenty of lumbar support for your lower back which is crucial for maintaining good posture and avoiding chronic lower back pain.
Think about investing in new or refurbished office furniture that offers you the maximum amount of movement. The more freedom you have to move about in your office chair, the better you will be able to avoid chronic back pain. Finding an ergonomic chair that offers a seat that is molded into a saddle-like surface is ideal since these seats force you to sit with your legs further apart, which will encourage you to straighten out your spine for balance.
If you can swing the price for them, office chairs with massage functions can provide that extra bit of pain relief that will help you maintain good posture. These chairs often plug in via USB and are easy to use. They are ideal for anyone who has to sit for long periods of time, so data entry clerks and illustrators might find that they get a lot of use out of massaging office chairs. Additionally, these chairs are designed with posture and lumbar support in mind, so even without the massage feature, they are still typically very comfortable to sit in for several hours at a time.
How Are Ergonomics Making a Difference?
Although ergonomic office desks and chairs do not usually come cheap, they can make refurbished office environments all the more pleasant (and pain-free) to work in. They are becoming increasingly viewed by business owners and self-employed workers as a good investment. Not only do ergonomic office furniture pieces look contemporary and chic, but they can be an asset that attracts new talent. The highly-skilled workers that come into your office looking for work do not want to be stuck in old office chairs and desks that cause them to experience back pain. Showing that your work environment offers physical support is also a great way to show that your business also offers them a sense of positive workplace morale.
Investing in ergonomic office furniture keeps you and your employees healthier, which is truly the biggest reason for buying them. The healthier you and your employees are, the more productive you can be at work. The more productive you and your employees are at work, the better workplace morale can be. Ergonomic chairs and desks are specifically designed to offer adjustable means of physical support, but having them present in the work environment is a way of showing emotional support and that all employees there are valued.
Since ergonomic office furniture is highly adjustable, it can usually cater to each employee’s physical needs with relative ease. A lot of office furniture services and manufacturing companies offer bulk ordering options that make it easy for businesses to provide quality office furniture for their employees.
Adding Ergonomic Accessories to Your Office Stations
In addition to desks and chairs, ergonomic office accessories can really spruce up and bring comfort to the work space. Investing in ergonomic mice and keyboards can help prevent employees from experiencing the painful development of carpal tunnel symptoms.
Posture is not strictly related to the spine. In fact, the way you position your forearms, hands, and wrists over a keyboard and mouse can greatly affect your health. Ergonomic mice and keyboards are shaped and contoured in order to promote neutral posture and grip forces in the hands, wrists, and forearms. This makes them an incredibly important but often overlooked addition to the workplace.
Promoting good posture in the workplace not only leads to you and your employees being healthier, but it can keep morale high while everyone gets their jobs done. Investing in the best office furniture for maintaining good posture cannot be overemphasized, and there is generally a pretty large return on this investment. Start building a healthier office environment by selecting furniture that will keep you and your employees feeling great and motivated to work through each and every shift.