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Workplace Wellness: Beyond Ergonomics

Butch T. Cougar trying out the Safco Balance Board

Several years ago, the office furniture industry declared that “sitting is the new smoking.” As we learn more about the human body at work, and as more studies have come out, it has become clear that the key to a healthier workstation is that it promotes movement – not simply standing, but changing from sitting to standing several times throughout the day. Moving around the space, taking breaks, going ta different part of the office (or going outside) or scheduling walking meetings all help to fight the unhealthy, sedentary work day that those studies said would contribute to our early deaths.

Desks that adjust to allow workers to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day are tremendously helpful in combatting health problems from back pain to obesity, high blood pressure, fatigue and diabetes. Taking it to a whole new level, some companies have combined fitness equipment with workstations, resulting in mixed reviews. The treadmill desk was a pretty short lived sensation; while it definitely promoted movement at work, it also was found to decrease accuracy and increase the chance of workplace injury.

To create the best possible work environment, we are always looking for furniture that promotes movement and promotes postural variation throughout the day. We are selling more sit/stand desks than ever along with an increasing number of perching stools that allow a third posture at a desk, one that promotes a healthy back position but also relieves pressure on the worker’s knees.

We offer anti-fatigue mats to ease the stress of standing for more than an hour at a time.

Recently, we have begun offering the Safco Balance Board, a standing desk accessory that combines the benefits of a ball chair (you have to engage core muscles to stay upright and working on a balance board) with the benefits of an anti-fatigue mat (the balance board is made of a firm but springy plastic that is much easier on the joints than a hard concrete or wooden floor). The balance board is fun, too – it looks like a big skateboard.

We continue to monitor the innovation in the office furniture world because we care about the health and well being of every employee working with every one of our customers. Please let us know if we can help you make your office a healthier, friendlier environment.