The Ergonomics of Office Furniture Explained

The one thing that should never be overlooked when planning any office space, whether for a home office or a communal office is the ergonomics of the space. It’s terrific if you manage to find office furniture in Melbourne that is both aesthetically pleasing and highly comfortable, but if you had to choose between one or the other, it is always advised to choose comfort over style when it comes to office furniture. Your employees are going to be spending close to half their day in the office, on their desks, and sitting for very long periods of time on uncomfortable chairs can cause a multitude of health problems, including sciatica and back pain.

When your employees aren’t comfortable at the place they’re supposed to be doing their work in, productivity is going to dip, resulting in loss to your bottom line. Here are some of the things to take care of when buying office furniture in Melbourne:

What are office ergonomics?

“Ergonomic” furniture is furniture that has been designed primarily for efficiency and comfort in the working environment. This will include chairs that provide proper support to the back, lumbar, elbows, knees and other joints that are most likely to be affected by long periods of sitting. It will also include desks that are designed for comfort, as well as all other equipment such as keyboards, mice and other equipment.

Why are office ergonomics important?

Back pain is the leading cause of sick leaves in Australia, and a majority of these cases result from poor posture, sitting on the wrong chairs for extended periods of time and using the wrong equipment. A lack of ergonomic office furniture can result in:

  • Swollen or stiff joints
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome or pain, tingling or numb feelings in the wrist or fingers
  • Discomfort and pain in the shoulders, back and neck
  • Eye strain
  • Muscle cramps.

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs) are becoming increasingly common and employes have the responsibility to choose the right furniture for their employees, not just for the health and wellbeing of those who work for them but also to enhance productivity.

Choosing ergonomic office furniture

  • Office chairs

The best office chairs have several layers of adjustability that offers more flexibility to the average user. Ideally, the right chair should promote good posture by encouraging the user to sit up straight and prevent slouching, provide support to key areas of the body and be breathable. 

Look for the following features when choosing an office chair:

  • Lumbar support. The lower back is often the area that bears the brunt of extended periods of sitting. A good ergonomic chair should have a naturally curved back that hugs the contours of your back and pushes the lower back slightly forward to prevent slouching.
  • Adjustable head rest. The neck and shoulders need proper support when working as well.
  • Adjustable seat height. Not everyone is the same height and allowing your employees to adjust their chairs to their heights will prevent back, knee, neck and shoulder strain. Ideally, your knees should be level with your hips with your feet firmly planted on the floor and your arms should be level with your desk.
  • Adjustable arm rests. If your employees are likely to be typing or even using their computers a lot, it is advisable to choose a chair with both height and angle adjustable armrests to prevent shoulder and wrist strain.
  • Adjustable seat depth. Ideally, there should be at least half a centimetre between the back of the knees and the edge of the seat to promote proper blood flow.
  • Office desk

While having an ergonomic table is slightly less important than the chair, sit stand desks are a great way of promoting better back and joint health. These desks usually have a button or lever to raise the height of the tabletop such that it can easily be used while standing. The goal of using a sit-stand desk is to reduce the amount of time your employees spend sitting and help improve circulation by allowing your employees to get some exercise in. The desks should also be at arm height and have a flat, stable surface.

  • Lighting

Working in dull lighting can strain your eyes and weaken your eyesight, which is why it is so important to invest in bright, comfortable lighting or large windows to bring natural light in. Your monitors should also be fitted with blue light filters to prevent strain and headaches due to long hours of staring at a screen.

When choosing office furniture in Melbourne, many people complain about having to choose between style and ergonomics. Luckily, with Gainsville, the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Our office furniture is designed with the utmost comfort in mind but also for stylish living. Check out our Nefil Luxury Office Chair available in black mesh or classic black leather for the ultimate in smart design and comfort, or our range of luxury leather desks, such as the GF-302 Leather Office Desk or the GF-217B Leather Office Desk, both designed for luxury.