Ergonomics in the Modern Office
Exercise balls and standing desks are just a few examples of new workplace trends being spotted in many modern offices. While examples like these are favored by some for promoting informal group collaboration and by others for their perceived health benefits, both have the potential to cause discomfort or injuries. So before trading in the traditional desk chair for a hipper alternative, it is important to understand the possible risks you may be facing, and how those risks relate to office ergonomics and your comfort.
Exercise Balls: Lack of Back Support a Concern
Exercise balls have been a frequent fixture in fitness and physical therapy programs over the past decades, used in exercises and rehabilitation programs to target specific muscle groups. Sitting on an exercise ball without back support can result in constant back movement, which is believed to activate the back muscles and to help maintain muscle tone.
但是，尽管已经对使用锻炼球的健身和治疗益处进行了研究，但很少有研究支持锻炼球作为椅子在办公室环境中长时间的使用。使用锻炼球作为椅子，没有后背支撑，并导致背部肌肉收缩，从而导致背部圆盘受压。根据康奈尔大学进行的一项研究，虽然使用锻炼球可能有助于加强核心，但它无法提供背部支持，不应用作替代良好的人体工程学办公室主席的替代者。1Placing an exercise ball in a frame with legs may address some safety concerns, but still does not support the lower back region when seated.2
What to Look for in an Office Chair
According to Travelers Risk Control ergonomics professionals, proper seating provides the following features, which exercise balls lack:
- Adjustable padded armrests with rounded edges.
新闻头条继续引用长时间坐着的健康风险，并且总体上是久坐的生活方式。根据美国国立卫生研究院的说法，久坐的行为与寿命较短和各种医疗问题有关。3Standing desks have been growing in popularity as an alternative to eight hours spent sitting. But are they really all they are cracked up to be?
In fact, standing desks can present their own health risks. According to Travelers Risk Control ergonomics professionals, there is an increased risk of injury if a worker spends a prolonged period of time working at an improperly designed workstation. For example, if a workstation is too high, it leads to raised elbows, and if it is too low, it leads to stooped back posture. Other potential ergonomic problems include unsupported back or legs, leaning and reaching. Static postures, a hard floor or poor shoes can also contribute to potential discomfort and injury. Prolonged standing also becomes a risk, as it is linked to reduced circulation and discomfort in the feet, as well as in the lower back.
Designing Standing Desks for Comfort
Whether sitting or standing, the goal is to help the employee work at a neutral posture:
- Weight is balanced.
Consider providing an anti-fatigue mat for the floor or encourage employees to wear shoe insoles for prolonged standing. Employees should change their posture by occasionally sitting or walking if using a standing workstation.
For more on ergonomics:您是否正在竭尽所能帮助您的员工在工作中感到舒适？学习技巧如何调整桌椅和工作站.
The Economics of Ergonomics for Small Businesses
When choosing new office furniture, consider how proper seating and workstations could offer significant cost savings in the long run.
Sitting at a desk all day can put stress on your body. Learn how to create an ergonomic workstation setup to help prevent injury.