Ergonomics in practice - 5 tips for better health at work
To make sure your working environment is suitable for all employees, you need to have flexible furniture and mobile solutions that can easily be adjusted to each individual’s needs, and be adapted to different tasks. You should, for instance, be able to adjust the desks up and down to vary between sitting and standing. Flexible and functional workspace solutions must also be adjustable to different activities. Imagine a natural link between the different areas and different tasks and then you will find a natural ergonomic way to furnish.
A THOUGHT-THROUGH SOUND ENVIRONMENT
In factories or other workplaces with continuous and high noise levels, sound is often high on the agenda. In a survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of Kinnarps Norway in 2016, 47 percent of Norwegian office workers reported that there is too much noise in the office. Of these, 82 percent reported that they are being bothered every single day by colleagues who speak too loudly.
Sound is a complex phenomenon, and after all, it's not something that’s easy to forget or close out. Nevertheless, thought-through acoustics are essential for creating an ergonomic and healthy workplace. Although noise levels in office spaces are not harmful to hearing, according to the Labour Inspectorate, it may affect the cardiovascular system, increase blood pressure and contribute to muscle tension and indigestion. Fortunately, it's not hard to improve the sound environment in your workplace. The first and most important step is to become aware of it. Then it's about finding the optimal mix of floor coverings, ceiling insulation, curtains and furniture that can absorb and dampen the sound.
GOOD LIGHT CONDITIONS
Light has a huge effect on us humans, and if we are to work efficiently and comfortably, the quality of the light is crucial. Considering that on average we spend 90 percent of our awake time indoors, it is no wonder that lights and lighting are so important to us.
5 TIPS FOR BETTER HEALTH AT WORK
STAND UP FOR YOUR HEALTH
Most of us sit too still during the day. At work, in the car, at the dining table and in front of the TV. It is estimated that adults sit approximately nine hours a day during 16 awake hours. Think about what it does to you and your health. What can you do to become more active? A sit/stand desk at the office is a good start to a more mobile and healthy life.
TAKE AN ACTIVE BREAK
Remind yourself to take an active break from time to time – gentle muscle tension sets off lots of positive processes in the body. Taking a break is not the same as passive rest. On the contrary. If you move around, your muscle strain initiates a number of positive processes. Do this every hour, not to relax, but to be active.
HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH
It is a challenge that we spend so much time in front of a computer screen. The screen itself is not the problem, but that we tend to bend down towards the screen. This leads to so-called screen knot, which can cause pain in the neck and shoulder area, and make us tired and tense. It makes a big difference to raise your eyes and keep your head up high. A good tip is to place an independent monitor in front of you, so you need to raise your head to look at it. By lifting your gaze and holding your head a little higher, you achieve a better posture and relieve pressure on the neck. If you do use a laptop, try to angle your gaze downward when you're looking at a screen, without leaning your head noticeably forwards.
SIT, BY ALL MEANS, BUT DON'T SIT STILL
Supplement your sit/stand desk with a task chair that follows your body movements and allows you to sit in as many different ways as possible (such as the Capella chair which promotes active sitting).
THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN'T SEE
We all perceive sound and light differently, so consideration and respect for other people's perceptions and expectations is a good starting point. Sound and light are subjective, but it's a lot about planning your workplace with solutions like sound absorbers, adjustable lighting and phone rooms.
For us at Kinnarps,
ergonomics is primarily about feeling well;
mentally, physically and emotionally.
The goal is not to fill the office space with furniture, but with ease. Therefore, we believe that the best thing is to base the design on the prerequisites of each employee to achieve better health at work. After all, there are as many needs in a workplace as there are employees.
We always have ergonomics in mind when we develop new products and workspace solutions. Physical, cognitive, social, organisational, environmental and other relevant factors are all taken into account. We’re all different and everyone needs to find his or her own solutions for prosperity and wellbeing.
We have an entire book dedicated to helping you create the best ergonomic workplace for you and your colleagues. "ERGONOMICS – THE ESSENTIALS" is packed with interesting and valuable knowledge, tips about exercise and trends, as well as some facts and figures.