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Alternative Seating Solutions
Workplace happiness once seemed unimportant. Workers came in to do a job. Whether they were happy about it or not was irrelevant. However, it actually turns out that happiness in the workplace matters a great deal. Psychology Today indicates that it can have a direct impact on everything from productivity to worker retention and profitability. Smart employers need to ensure that their workers are as happy as they can be. While that doesn’t mean you need to “coddle” them, it does mean that smart businesses should take certain steps. Below, you’ll find eight important tips to improve workplace happiness.
1. Focus on Family
Your workers split their time between the job and their families. Of the two, their families are ultimately the most important. Show that you care and put the focus on your workers’ families first.
2. Build a Community
Your workplace should be more than just a collection of different people busily going about their duties. There should be a sense of camaraderie, a feeling of togetherness. Your workplace should be a community itself. Inspire a feeling of community by encouraging mutual goals, group events and fostering connections between your workers.
3. Share the Spotlight
Your employees work hard for you and you need to give credit where it’s due. If your firm experienced a jump in profitability, share the credit with the departments and employees responsible (after all, your company didn’t jump up in the ratings on its own; someone had to put in the effort).
4. Lead by Example
If you routinely take time off, or ask employees to do things that you wouldn’t do yourself, you’re creating a negative workplace. Lead by example. If you ask your employees to follow certain policies, do so yourself.
One of the factors affecting your workplace’s level of happiness might actually be the layout of desks, cubicles and equipment. Be open to change. Look into alternative layouts that foster better traffic flow, let in more natural light and open the space up.
6. Encourage Hobbies
Let’s be realistic. Your employees aren’t all work and no play. In fact, chances are their true personality shines through in their hobbies and extracurricular activities. Encourage your employees to explore other interests and don’t denigrate hobbies and other pastimes in the workplace.
7. Stock Snack Machines Smart
Most offices have some sort of vending machines on the premises. Chances are yours are full of soda, cookies, crackers, chips and other junk food. Make a shift and encourage healthier eating. Bring in vendors who can supply high quality snacks and healthy foods/drinks, and your employees’ morale will rise.
Break time equals less productivity, right? Wrong. If you actually encourage your employees to take periodic breaks, stretch, exercise and unwind a bit, they’ll be much more productive when they return to the job.
Following these simple tips will help you create a happier, healthier workplace and you might even be surprised at just how much that benefits your business.
Whether you’re looking for a more ergonomic workspace or are just sick and tired of the ages-old chair and desk combo, there are alternatives out there. You’re not limited to sitting in an office chair and using a standard desk. What’s more, there’s evidence that going a nontraditional route can actually help prevent you from many common musculoskeletal injuries sustained during long-term desk and office chair use, as pointed out by UCLA. Here’s what you should know about your options.
If you think a desk must be sat at to be used, you haven’t looked at the marketplace much in the last couple of years. More and more, standing desks are coming into vogue. That’s not just because of the “cool design” factor, either. It’s because standing at work can offer some serious health benefits. A number of studies have pointed out the correlation between standing at work and weight loss, as well as the ability to prevent many musculoskeletal problems that stem from sitting for long periods with poor posture.
Standing desks are exactly what they sound like. They’re designed to allow the user to do pretty much anything they could at a sit-down desk, but in a standing position. You’ll also find desks that can adjust to both standing and sitting positions, which is important. It’s impossible to do certain tasks in a standing position – typing for more than five minutes is better when seated, for instance. Any task that requires fine control or stable hands should be done when seated as well.
Office chairs are both a comfort and bane to workers. A good office chair can keep you happy and comfortable through a long day as a desk jockey, but a bad chair (or bad posture in a good chair) can cause serious back, shoulder, neck and arm problems. Ergonomic chairs can help, but many offices are now turning to alternative seating arrangements.
A good example of this type of seating is the ball chair. You can find these in two varieties – plain balls that require significant effort to balance and ball chairs mounted on a wheeled frame (like a regular office chair, but without the seat, arms or back).
What benefits will you find with these types of seating? For one thing, the lack of arms and back forces you to sit properly, which alleviates back pain and muscle strain. They can also help improve balance and force you to work your abdominal muscles to stay upright. Some office workers switch between ball chairs and standard office chairs depending on the task at hand. Transitioning to this type of seating does require some time and effort, and it should be done incrementally to avoid problems.
A nontraditional office space can offer significant benefits. Standing desks and ball chairs can help improve posture, alleviate the discomfort of musculoskeletal disorders and can even improve productivity in some instances. However, they’re not for everyone, so match your office furniture to your needs and your tasks.
What do a traditional office chair, computer, keyboard, and desk all have in common? These are all long-established, staple products found in almost every home office in the United States. A desk is a key component for any home office as a surface to work on as is a computer and keyboard for getting your work completed. This being said, one would assume the same should hold true in the case of having a traditional office chair to sit on while getting your work completed. While this might have been true in the past, there are now many alternative seating options available to choose from for your home office that offer many distinct benefits that regular office chairs do not offer including affordable pricing, improved posture, and a unique sitting experience.
It is important to discuss what constitutes an alternative seating solution before discussing the benefits these chairs have to offer. An alternative seating solution is a unique piece of office furniture unlike any traditional office chair that you are accustomed to seeing in both design and functionality. There is not one standard alternative seating solution; there are many different makes, models, and designs available for purchase with each offering similar benefits. Most alternative seating chairs are quite different from your typical office chair with most having a backless design and require you to focus on how you are sitting throughout the day. They can be used as your primary seating solution or be used in conjunction with your current office chair. Some of the most common alternative seating solutions include kneeling chairs, saddle stools, ball chairs, rocking stools, sit stand stools, and balance knee chairs.
Alternative seating chairs are generally much more affordable in price compared to an ergonomic office chair designed for sitting up to eight hours a day, typically on average costing between $75-$200. Higher end options that include memory foam or a specialized design might run a little more than the average price, however almost any alternative seating solution will be less than $400 in price. This is considerably less compared to a typical high quality ergonomic office chair that can cost upwards of $600. If you are wary about purchasing something other than a traditional office chair to sit in, consider trying a cheaper kneeling chair to test out. This leaves little risk and a lower return cost than if you were to splurge on a more expensive knee chair or active stool, and you can always upgrade in the future.
Perhaps the greatest benefit that will be gained by sitting on an alternative seating chair is improved posture and core strength. The primary purpose of alternative seating chairs is to force the individual to sit in an upright position and also makes it more apparent when slouching or hunching over. This is mostly attributed to their unique backless designs that deliberately teach you how to maintain proper posture while sitting for extended periods of time. A health benefit that is gained by sitting with proper posture is reduced back pain which is a prominent reason why people make the switch from their standard office chairs or why they may take a break for a few hours at a time by switching to an alternative seating chair.
Sitting in an alternative seating chair is a unique experience that will be unlike your previous experience sitting in any other office chair. You will have the freedom to move around and stretch throughout the day which is often forgotten when sitting in an office chair, and you will see improved posture over time. Your spine is also forced into proper alignment when sitting correctly leaving you with less aches and pains that are normally experienced when sitting for extended periods of time. While these chairs do take some getting used to, especially if you have been accustomed to sitting in an office chair for years, and require you to start sitting for only a few hours a day gradually making your way up to a full 8 hours as the weeks progress.
Home office users usually spend only a few hours a day sitting while at home, which will be a nice break for your back if you are required to sit in an office chair all day at work and then will be coming home to work even longer. Home office users also have the freedom to choose the exact furniture they want in their house rather than having to adhere to corporate specifications in their work environment. Alternative seating chairs also have a smaller footprint over a regular office chair allowing for space-saving which can be useful especially in smaller home offices. No matter what reason you have for considering making the switch from an office chair, there is little risk and much to gain from trying an alternative seating solution.
Saddle stools are more popular now than ever before. They can typically be found in hospitals, clinics, hairdressing and beauty salons, veterinary offices, laboratories, architect firms, and in art industries. What once was a predominant form of seating solely in the medical industry is now quickly making its way into homes and businesses worldwide. While most used and seen in medical offices, particularly in dentistry offices used by both dental hygienists and dentists themselves, more consumers are becoming familiarized with what a saddle stool is and how it can provide them with back support. The main health benefits received by sitting on a saddle stool are improved muscle strength, back pain relief, improved posture, and musculoskeletal disorder prevention.
A saddle chair simply put is a stool with a saddle seat, very similar in look, design, and feel as an equestrian saddle. It does not have a back rest but does come with a five-star chair base with a pneumatic gas cylinder for adjusting the correct seat height. They have a small footprint conveniently fitting under just about any desk and into just about any work area of any size. One of the main benefits received from sitting in a saddle stool is improved muscle strength which is achieved by using both your abdominal and leg muscles to sit up straight. After using a saddle chair for just a few weeks you should be able to feel improved core strength and enhanced muscle tone, all from simply sitting correctly on your stool.
Perhaps the greatest health benefit received from sitting in a saddle stool is back pain relief that can often occur from sitting in a regular office chair for extended periods of time. Not only are saddle chairs helpful in relieving back pain they can also alleviate neck and shoulder pain along with related headaches. The larger angle between the hips and the knees at a 135° is a much more natural position to be in than the 90° angle, typically associated with sitting on a traditional chair. As a consequence posture is improved and tension in the upper back and neck is reduced. The backless feature on saddle stools also eliminates pressure that is typically felt on users back from leaning on a back rest, causing discomfort while sitting and especially when trying to focus while working.
Sitting on a saddle chair essentially forces you to have to sit with correct posture with the chair's design. It also prevents you from slouching and hunching, a common occurrence when sitting in a traditional office chair that is often overlooked by not being brought to your attention. You are much more likely to notice yourself slouching over in a saddle chair with your back not being supported, providing a constant reminder to sit up straight. By promoting good posture the stool is also improving blood circulation, your spine by putting it into a healthy lordotic curve, and digestion. Leg circulation is improved by your legs being in a more open position with no edge pressing behind the back of your knees as with a normal chair seat.
Musculoskeletal disorder is a condition where a part of the musculoskeletal system is injured over time typically occurring when the body part is called on to work harder, stretch farther, and impact more directly at a greater level than it is prepared for. Most commonly this is associated with repetitive stress injuries, one of the most common workplace injuries that can be attributed to sitting in a bad chair that causes strain over a long period of time. Saddle chairs reduce work related limb disorders such as pain and aching in the wrists, arms, and shoulders associated with regional musculoskeletal disorder, cumulative trauma disorder, and repetitive stress injury. They decrease pain and fatigue associated with muscular tension that often occurs from continuously sitting or typing in an unnatural position.
Saddle chairs take time to adjust to the new unique sitting style and it is recommended to only sit in for an hour or two a day to start while progressively increasing your sitting duration over a period of a month. They can also be used in conjunction with your current office chair or as an alternative seating solution when your back needs relief. Whether you want a saddle stool for the health benefits or because you want to try something new, you will surely not be disappointed when you make the switch.
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