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Making your office ergonomic

Lee Moore

Ergonomics is the process of arranging workplaces, products or systems to fit the particular needs of the employee. It seeks to build an environment that betters performance, enhances productivity and improves workers health.

With the average Australian clerical worker spending 22hours each week sitting whilst at work (Australian Health Survey 2011-2012) and recent evidence linking prolonged sitting to increased rates of musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, some cancers and even premature death (Safe Work Australia), having an ergonomic office is more important than ever.

Whilst sitting and your choice of office chair are key issues, ergonomics goes beyond these and looks at the function of the workplace as a whole, including fittings, lay-out and lighting.

Chairs

Ergonomic chairs are designed to correct and support your posture whilst maintaining good neck and spine alignment.

Chairs with contoured seats will help to even out weight distribution and take pressure off the lower back.Those with the ability to adjust the seat height, depth and tilt allow you to adopt the ideal sitting position with hips, knees and ankles at 90degrees regardless of the length of your legs. Chairs with adjustable back rests and tilt allow you to place the lumbar support exactly where you need it, whilst those with adjustable arm rests can reduce the pressure placed on the shoulders and neck by supporting the elbows.

A good ergonomic office chair should allow you to move freely and to access all parts of your workstation without the need to strain. If your office is carpeted a chair mat may assist with this.

Desks and accessories

Choose a desk that is an appropriate height for your natural sitting position. If you often change position throughout the day, choosing a height adjustable or sit-stand desk may be beneficial. Computer monitors should be fitted at eye level and should be at an appropriate distance to prevent straining. Keyboards should be at a distance that allow both the wrists and elbows to be supported; if your workspace does not allow this choosing a chair with adjustable arms rests can assist.

Choosing the right ergonomic furniture for your office

Every office and employee will have different needs.It is important, where able, to involve your staff in making the workplace a space that works for them.

Be sure to trial furniture in store prior to purchase. At our Sunshine Coast showroom, you can trial any of our chairs with the assistance of our team of dedicated and experienced staff. For those a bit further afield or wanting a longer trial period we offer ‘Danny’s trial service’. This service allows you to try one of our chairs, free of charge in your workplace Australia-wide (exclusions apply).

Still unsure or ready to get started? Contact us instore!