As the Table Leg World team made the rounds on the trade show circuit during the last half of 2013, speaking to corporate purchasers and our industry colleagues, we observed many emerging and sustaining trends in office furnishings.
Many corporations have figured out how to furnish a more ergonomically-correct workplace through the use of many types of pieces and tools, including desks, chairs, keyboards, mice, and monitors optimized for human factors. Innovations resulting in these solutions have taken many years to come online for professionals, but they are already making a big difference in comfort, health, wellness, and productivity.
As we first saw in 2012, we continued to see throughout 2013 that more companies are realizing that the “fixed work space” is becoming a thing of the past. These fixed work spaces are being replaced with internal offices built as work zones and work group complemented by external sites such as coffee shop environments and home offices. Laptops, tablets, and mobile phones are the innovations that have driven many professionals to replace their traditional desks, chairs, and telephones with a fresh take on more comfortable surroundings. However, many users find that their posture in a coffee shop chair or living room sofa may be far from perfect, and smaller keyboard and screen sizes are creating problems such as strained eyes and fingers.
Another interesting observation is that while facilities and physical plant departments often hold decision-making power for furniture purchases, the more educated professionals on the topic of workplace ergonomics typically lie in human resources and compliance departments. More collaboration among these business units will yield a far greater human experience in the workplace, to be sure.
As bad posture in the workplace escalates, so too do pain, discomfort, and ultimately worker’s compensation claims. For example, here’s a scary statistic: in a survey of 500 employees at CBS, nearly 74 percent revealed that they had enough current discomfort in the workplace to justify seeing a physician. The good news is that more than 75 percent of the time, changes to the workplace environment can resolve worker discomforts. These changes can include moving the monitor closer or adjusting its height, adjusting chair height, and changing the type of lighting used.
Thus, companies should continue to strive for more collaboration among purchasers and ergonomics experts to ensure a great experience.