Employees are generally the most important resource any company has. It follows, therefore, that looking after these employees is crucial to the success of any business and office furniture plays a vital role in achieving that. Acquired and used properly, it can help to ensure workers are best able to do their jobs.
For employees to work effectively they need to be contented, comfortable and focused on the job at hand. Successfully using office furniture to accomplish this will reduce operating costs, avoid wasted time and make everything run more smoothly with a consequent improvement in profitability. It’s something that no business can afford to ignore.
The Importance of Ergonomic and Flexible Office Furniture
Old-style office furniture was based on a ‘one size fits all’ principle, which meant it hardly fitted anyone and discomfort was common. Nowadays, however, the emphasis is on ergonomic furniture that is much more flexible and so supports each worker individually. This type of furniture adapts to the person using it rather than the person having to make do with what’s provided.
Employees have different body shapes and heights, and so need office chairs that can be adjusted to their specific needs. This is particularly important since office workers spend most of their day sitting at their desks. By sitting at the right height and with the correct posture, employees can avoid the development of back, shoulder and neck problems that prevent them from working effectively and eventually lead to time off work to treat these problems.
Ergonomic chairs have adjustable seat height, depth and tilt, lumbar support and moveable armrests that enable improved posture, better circulation and increased energy levels. These features can be supplemented by footrests and computer accessories that will reduce strain and discomfort. All these features are of little use, however, if employees are unaware of how to use them effectively to achieve a comfortable working position so they need to be provided with the necessary information.
The use of height-adjustable desks that enable a standing position to be adopted for certain tasks will also contribute to comfort and productivity. Workers can change position depending on what they’re doing and so stay active with improved circulation and energy levels. You may also have different areas, such as individual cubicles for privacy and concentration, meeting areas for collaborative tasks and relaxation spaces to take breaks from work for refreshments.
Sufficient storage should be provided so that employees can put things away tidily and know where to find them. This reduces the distraction caused by clutter, avoids wasted time from items being lost and enables workers to be focused and organised in their work.
Creating the Perfect Environment
As well as their own desk space, employees react to their immediate surroundings. Providing the maximum amount of natural light and ensuring that desks are positioned near natural light sources will ensure employees sleep better at night and so are more alert and focused during the day. When natural light is not available, light with a blue or green tint promotes increased awareness and should be focused on work areas.
Prevent employees from being distracted by excessive noise through the use of sound-absorbing wall coverings and screens. Also use bright colours, such as blue, green, orange and yellow to promote enthusiasm and alleviate stress. The use of plants around the office will also help to create a pleasant environment, improve air quality and reduce stress.
Using the right furniture, correctly adjusted and positioned, plus appropriate accessories, need not cost a lot of money. However, they will more than repay the investment in terms of improved employee well-being and increased productivity.