Office Design for Optimal Health and Productivity
Penny Lorain & Jennifer May recently visited “NeoCon” Chicago - the largest and most comprehensive commercial furnishings trade show in the country. “It’s important to us to learn about new research and new products that can improve the welfare, comfort and effectiveness of the people working in the office spaces we design”, says Penny Lorain. This year’s NeoCon show introduced some staggering research about the health of office workers as well as a huge array of products that could transform your office environment many steps forward in employee health and happiness.
Technological changes in the last few years have changed how our offices function. We don’t have to get up to send off or pick up a fax, we check our e-mail from our desks. We don’t have to go over to a co-worker’s desk to talk to them, we email and message them. We don’t have to get up to find a paper file folder anymore, we access the electronic file folder on our computers. Many of these changes that we thought made our lives easier, are contributing to extended periods of sitting still which is actually detrimental to our health.
“Your best posture is your next posture” says Certified Ergonomist Josh Kerst. Every hour that you are at work, you should sit, you should stand and you should move. Changes in body positioning increase blood flow, improve circulation, reduce static compression on the spine and upper body, and keep muscles from getting fatigued. Workers who alternate between sitting and standing are not only less fatigued at the end of the day, they also burn more calories, increase their metabolisms, have lower body mass indexes, lower rates of heart disease and have increased productivity due to reduced break time.
Due to the plethora of research and case studies regarding the benefits of changing your body positioning throughout the day, nearly all the desk manufacturers Lorain & May work with (at a variety of budget levels) now offer electric height adjustable desks. The desks typically adjust from 28”H at the lowest to 44”h at the highest with all the stops in between, so they are comfortable for sitting, standing or leaning on a barstool for employees of varying heights. Power to the desk and computer monitors and hard-drives can be contained in a simple flexible cord-management track or plugged in to a workstation wall panel.
Adjustable-height stools made to accommodate sitting or perching at a standing-height desk were
another important option offered by many of Lorain & May’s favorite venders. In addition to height adjustability, many of the stools they saw allowed for circling and side-to-side movement as well, so workers can slowly but continually adjust their positioning, unconsciously engaging different back and abdominal muscle groups resulting in less fatigue and more productivity.
Please feel free to contact us if you would like to have us help you improve your office’s health and productivity with the newest and most ergonomic products with proven results.