Benefits of Ergonomic Office Furniture

Sitting is deadly. Sitting is slowly killing people right now. If you’re sitting down while reading this, your body is fighting hard to prevent permanent damage. If you’ve already been seated for hours today, your body is losing that battle. And one of the culprits of your body’s destruction is your furniture. Luckily, there’s a way to fight back.

The modern worker faces a very sedentary work life. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, sedentary workers spent a majority of their workday seated. Shockingly, workers in the legal, business operations and computer-based professions spend over 80% of their workday sitting down!

Spending hours working in a seated position causes musculoskeletal problems leading to lower back pain (LBP), neck pain, spinal disk compression, pelvic misalignment and cardiovascular issues. To make matters worse, everyday furniture can exacerbate the musculoskeletal damage and discomfort that arises from a sedentary life. One way to prevent the effects of sedentary work is to outfit your workspace with ergonomic office furniture like an ergonomic chair.

Whether sitting or standing, your muscles are constantly working to maintain your posture. Even though staying in one position might not seem like an activity requiring your muscles to work, staying in any position for too long will exhaust your muscles, forcing you posture to slacken over time.

Standard office furniture does nothing to support your body, which means your muscles have to work hard to maintain a safe posture. Office furniture that is not adjustable or uncomfortable will cause your body to experience fatigue faster. As you slouch into a worse posture, you become susceptible to the stiffness and pain that most sedentary office workers are familiar with. In addition to worsening posture, being seated requires you to place pounds of pressure on the disks of your spine, as well as your pelvis. This pressure can lead to spinal disk damage and anterior pelvic tilt.

Ergonomic office furniture is designed with the specific needs of the human body in mind, often allowing you to make adjustments in order to enhance your individual sitting experience. The design of ergonomic office furniture can mitigate the dangers of sitting for long stretches of time. That not only helps prevent pain and physical damage, it can also make you more productive, more alert and, research has shown, improve your job satisfaction. Those sound like pretty good reasons to invest in ergonomic office furniture.

Two of the most popular types of ergonomic office furniture are ergonomic office chairs and standing desks.

Ergonomic office chairs are often designed with the ability for you to adjust the chair in a number of ways that support healthier sitting positions. The most common adjustments made possible by ergonomic office chairs are chair position, seat height, seat tilt, chair back recline, lumbar support, arm rest position and head and neck support. Ergonomic office chairs also often utilize materials that increase support and cushioning. The duration of sedentary work exacerbates the damage done by sitting. That means that the more you sit, the more an ergonomic office chair will pay off.

While an ergonomic office chair can have major positive impacts on comfort and health, another piece of ergonomic office furniture that can have a huge positive effect on these factors is a standing desk.

These days, when people talk about ergonomic desks, they typically refer to standing desks that get you up and out of your chair. Standing desks make it easy to raise and lower your desk so that you can work seated or standing without leaving your workspace. Breaking up your sitting routine with periods of standing can reduce the strain you place on your body when sitting all the time. Standing while working can also help prevent circulation issues associated with sitting.

There is also an exciting ecosystem of pseudo standing desks available that can get you moving while you work. These include walking desks, allowing you to walk on a treadmill while working, and cycling desks, allowing you to put miles on the stationary bike while getting your work done.

While this article is about furniture, I’d be remiss not to touch on ergonomic accessories as well. There’s a huge ecosystem of ergonomic tools and gadgets available to help fine tune your work space. There are specially designed keyboards and mice to reduce hand strain, portable tabletop platforms that can transform any desk into a standing desk, and an endless parade of other ergonomic accessories to enhance your working life.

Sitting all day while staring at a screen is extremely common and incredibly unhealthy. Using the wrong office furniture can lead to chronic pain and permanent damage. Luckily, there are numerous resources and products that can help you choose the ergonomic office furniture that will work with your body to counter the damage caused by sedentary work.

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