The dictionary definition of ergonomics or human factors is the application of scientific information concerning humans to the design of objects, systems and environment for human use. When a manufacturer uses this process they take into account many factors which can affect the consumer. They use theory, data and principles in order to design a chair that limits all unnatural motions which will cause fatigue and pain. What kind of things do ergonomically designed task chairs take into account?
Some of the factors that help in the design process are taking into consideration are the type of fatigue that will be undertaken, how fast a person must be able to move for quick movements, demands on memory. Physical factors include Strength, size, and speed. Ergonomics can study specific work environments and chair types such as a task chair or executive chair and even stools. Many things in a persons work environment can affect comfort and productivity. The time it takes to do a task, the risk demands and the physical requirements can all be improved with the proper positioning.
Ergonomics includes more than just office chairs. There is a whole industry devoted to proper office ergonomics. After working in the ergonomic industry for a number of years, I started to realize that I am often asked, “What kinds of products are ergonomic?”
In the office environment you can buy ergonomic stools for doctors or factory workers, posture knee chairs for those who work on computers, swopper models to help increase the muscles that promote good posture, and pretty much every chair design comes in an ergonomic model.
But how do I know which are the ergonomic ones and which aren’t? This part is easy. Because a lot of research and design go into the development of each ergonomic chair and often they have more parts they tend to cost a little more. Many are turned off by this but it is like buying a cheap mattress. Yes a $500 mattress can be slept on as easy as a $1000 one but your back pays the extra $500 in pain if you buy the cheap mattress.
Ergonomics is such a growing market that most ergonomic chairs are just a fraction more than there non-ergo counterparts. The main way to know if a product is ergonomic is if it says so. Companies who have energy saver technology advertise it. Ergonomic products will say loud and proud that they are ergonomic. If a product doesn’t openly advertise that it is ergonomic than either it was not designed to be sensitive to ergonomics or it is a cheap knockoff.
There are also many other ergonomic products designed to limit improper movement. By now most of you have seen those awkward looking keyboards and wondered why thy split the keys into two sections. The reason behind this change is ergonomics. By changing the angle that the keys are placed it allows your arms and wrists to use a more natural angle. The next time you type on a traditional keyboard notice how you have to bend your wrists outward to achieve a good angle.
Besides all of the health and wealth benefits of the new ergonomic products they tend to be a lot of fun. Often times they change the way you traditionally do a task. Learning a new way can be challenging but a fun process. Co-workers may laugh at your struggle but trust me after a few days of your new chair or keyboard. One by one they will come up and ask you where you purchased it and then in no time the entire office is ergonomic.
Most ergonomic chairs look different in some manner and this is also an eye catcher. So with all you new found coolness and comfort go out and enjoy a good walk after work because now you’ll actually have the energy.
Author, Amy Pedersen is penned as Sit On This Ergonomics featured Ergonomic Insider. Having worked in the ergonomics and office industry for over 10 years now, she is currently co-founder of Sit On This Ergonomics, operating a number of Ergonomic Sites dedicated to office chairs and the practice of good workplace ergonomics for better seating and productivity.
Featuring a wide variety of executive, leather, mesh and task office chairs with an online sales catalog, their website also provides detailed ergonomic information on proper work chair positioning.