Workplace health and safety are topics that don’t see as much focus as they should. Proper ergonomics for employees will help reduce the incidence of workplace injury, but there are several other things that need to be done to really ramp up the healthiness of an office environment. While some of these changes can be done by individual employees, employers can do much more to enhance the health quality of the workplace. Below, you will find four important tips to increasing workplace and worker health.
Consider Standup Desks
When you think of a desk, chances are good that you picture the standard model – a flat surface a couple of feet off the floor with space for a chair and room underneath for the worker’s legs. While sit-down desks are still the norm, many companies are beginning to implement standup desks. These are designed to allow the employee to stand up and complete their duties, rather than sitting down. A mounting body of evidence suggests that long periods of sitting actually contribute to significant health problems.
Most workplaces use the most cost-effective type of lighting (usually fluorescents). However, that’s not necessarily the best option for creating a healthy workplace. Natural light is better for the eyes, improves vision and can also enhance mood and productivity. Letting in plenty of natural light is as simple as opening the blinds on your office’s windows. If your office lacks enough windows to make this feasible, look into lights that mimic natural sunlight’s wavelength and color.
Add a Fitness Area
Encouraging workers to take a break from the job and get their hearts pumping is actually a good thing for both your workers’ health and your company’s bottom line. It doesn’t have to be all that expensive, either. Find an unused office or area in your workplace and add a couple of treadmills and an elliptical machine or two. Encourage your employees to take periodic breaks and exercise. This gets them out of their sitting position, enhances blood flow and also improves overall health.
Encourage Healthier Eating
Lunch in an office environment is usually an unhealthy affair. Your employees might be wolfing down a massive burger and fries, or they might be eating quickly so they can get back to their responsibilities. They might be skipping lunch altogether. Encourage healthier eating in your employees. You can do this in a number of ways, including introducing meal plan suggestions, or hiring a healthy food vendor to come to the office. Of course, it helps if you (the manager or owner) are able to lead by example. Encourage your employees to take their entire lunchtime, too.
Creating a healthy workplace doesn’t have to require a revolutionary change. Small steps in the right direction can result in big improvements. Start small and think smart. Encourage your employees to get out of the rut and do things differently. Of course, you need to think differently as well.
It’s true that, as the saying goes, we weren’t born yesterday. We think we know how to talk, walk, and sit down. However, so many of us do not sit in a chair properly. It might sound silly or seem pretty basic, but there are a number of ways that you can harm your body merely by how you sit. And as most people sit all day for their jobs, you could be placing a great deal of stress on the body due to the way you sit at your desk. In order to correct these bad patterns and postures, here are a few ways you should never sit in your office chair.
When most people sit down, they cross their legs or ankles. While this might be commonplace at your workplace, you will want to break this habit. You should sit at your office chair with your thighs parallel to the floor and your feet resting flat. If you cross your legs all day, you can develop knee problems. Crossing your legs also impairs blood flow to your legs, which can lead to pains and cramps. You also don’t want to sit at your desk with your legs dangling above the ground and crossed. This will lead to poor blood circulation.
Leaning away from the back of the chair
We all are guilty of bad posture from time to time. However, if you notice how you sit at the office, you might discover that your back is seldom resting against the backrest of the chair. If you lean away from the back of the chair to read computer screens, write, or talk on the phone, you are placing unnecessary stress on your back. Your back isn’t supported in this position, which can produce a great deal of pain. One way to kick the habit of leaning in your chair is to purchase a chair that is ergonomically designed so that it will promote good posture.
Legs stretched out parallel to the floor on a footrest
At your desk, you might pull up another chair to rest your legs and feet. However, your legs should never be resting parallel to the floor on a footrest. While it might sound comfortable and even look more comfortable, it can actually lead to a great deal of discomfort. This practice does not promote good circulation to the legs. Poor blood flow can only make you feel more tired on the job.
You might think that there is really no wrong way to sit down. You bend your legs and rest your upper body on a surface. However, you can contort your body into different positions that you fail to notice over time. It is merely the way you always sit down. Those positions could be hurting your body more than helping it. The effects of how you sit can be both physical and mental. In order to promote the best health possible as you sit at your job, remember to avoid sitting in these three positions.
Sure, we thought the same as you. Bungees chairs by Seatability can’t be comfortable. I mean, it’s like a chopped up trampoline. There are like no solid seating areas on the whole chair. What is there to be comfortable about these chairs??
But when I sat on these chairs (the Solace series) it was very different that what I expected. The straps are flat, which is nice. But they actually feel comfortable – not part of you feels like you are slipping between the cracks. And the bounce does actually feel nice. A unique, but relaxing feeling. For example, the chair’s bungee straps will, not unlike mesh, contort to your body and form nicely. Unlike mesh though, they are not abrasive against your clothing and are a bit firmer on the back, which means there is more support. It really is a nice feeling. Then there’s the ventilation issue. The chair breathes nicely, because there is no stopgap between the user and the air.
As far as the chair itself is concerned, its well built. Solid construction and it feels durable. Rated for 250 lbs and BIFMA certified, which is a good thing. The lumbar support, while passive, is there and you can feel it nicely. I gotta say, I was impressed with the bungee chair. Very impressed. Might we say, I was ‘bungee’ jumping for joy after sitting in it?!
Now, if your feeling a little uncomfortable with the whole bungee thing, there’s always this Seatability Solace chair, with a bungee back and a vinyl foam seat. Not exactly a leather office chair, but a nice compromise between the two. It is comfortable…
How do you make a leather office chair ergonomic? It’s a tricky endeavor, and probably one you shouldn’t worry too much about trying to accomplish. We have some nice options available here, if you want to take a gander…There are some leather office chairs that have actual adjustable lumbar supports, we have a few, and you can most likely find these with a knee tilt mechanism too. If you can get a leather office chair with these components, that is probably the most ergonomic you are going to get with a leather chair. It’s not that they are mutually exclusive attributes, ergonomics and leather chairs, but its just that the design of them hasn’t caught up to include the ergonomics craze that has been sweeping the furniture world for the past five years or so.
Of course, you can also go for the ultra ergonomic Humanscale Freedom Chair, which is available in leather, and even though their ergonomic principles aren’t the standard run of the mill, they are true and sound to proper ergonomic thought. Or alternateively, you can opt for the the chair Sigourny Weaver would probably try to kill, the Verte chair (you know, because it looks like an alien…ha-ha very funny…). But other than these, I wouldn’t stress about making your conference room wholly ergonomic. Just make it comfortable. And the same goes if you are set on getting a good, plush leather chair for your office…you can always get part of the ergonomics from a keybard tray and monitor arm. Again, here are some ergonomic leather chair options, in case you want to look.
About two months ago I woke up numerous times throughout the night. My left shoulder, the lower part of the deltoid to be more specific, was aching quite a bit; sharp shooting pains. Being an athlete, I thought I’d just strained it at the gym or the softball field. The next morning I had breakfast, popped a couple of ibuprofens and soon the pain dissipated to a slight ache. Over the course of the next couple weeks, I continued this routine nearly every day. Eventually, I began taking ibuprofen before going to sleep, but I was still waking up during the night with sharp cutting pains. Those weeks of pain multiplied into two months.
The denial that I’d done some damage was reinforced frequently. The pain wasn’t constant and only occurred when my arm moved to a particular position. I could still throw a softball; actually my throw had become more accurate. I couldn’t lift as much weight on my right side at the gym though, and being that I’m not a person who enjoys sitting on a bike or running on a treadmill, my workouts became sporadic. My rationale? I probably just needed a break from the gym.
The pain was still there though, and it was getting worse.
I went to see a physical therapist. We talked about a number of different situations and it came down to the chair I was using. Yeah, I know, I work for Sitbetter, so you’d think I’d know better. And, no, it isn’t my chair at the office but my chair at home. The one in my home office, where I sit to pay my bills, respond to personal emails, to chat with family and friends, journal, and to do research.
My favorite ergonomic chair is the Infinity Series Mesh Back Chair (EMC-11), so I ordered it. It comes with free shipping and should get here in two days. It has some great adjustments, like a two-way adjustable lumbar, adjustable arms, a 2:1 syncro knee tilt locking mechanism and a breathable black Mesh.
On Wednesday of next week, I start doing exercises with some rubber bands; different colors with different tensions. I can’t even begin to tell you what exercising with rubber bands is going to do for my ego, but I have the right chair in my home office, and according to my physical therapist, “You just need to ‘sit better’ at home.” Her words, not mine.