Making sure your employees have the right equipment to work can boost productivity, decrease stress and reduce workers’ ill health. But just how important is it to get it right?
Office furniture is a basic necessity, and without it employees can’t work; it’s as simple as that. But do all chairs, desks and other equipment work the same? Is there any point in spending a lot of money on the swankiest stand-up, enhanced-comfort, modernised desk?
While spending your finances on the latest furniture for the sake of making the office look good is arguably unnecessary, investing in equipment that will genuinely help employees can be more beneficial than you may think. According to a study by Cardiff University’s School of Psychology, office furniture, like plants, significantly increases workplace satisfaction (by 15 per cent), as well as improving self-reported levels of focus and perceived air quality.
When we think about it, office employees spend a huge chunk of their lives using office furniture, so surely it’s only fair for employers to ensure they get it right. Here, we take a look at how office furniture relates to health.
The office chair
Providing workers with low-quality office chairs can cause an array of health problems, specifically in the lower back and neck, caused by pressure on the spinal discs. According to this report, hours of sitting down in an uncomfortable chair can increase your risk of an early death. It also found that spending 11 hours a day sitting down is likely to increase your chances of developing a cardiovascular condition by a staggering 50 per cent. This remains true even if you take part in regular exercise.
To lower the chances of this, it is crucial that employers invest in decent furniture for their staff. Factors to consider when buying office chairs include the seat height and width, whether or not it has lumbar support, and what material the chair is made from. Naturally, a person's back is designed to curve through the length of the spine. Bearing this in mind, a good office chair should have an adjustable back that shapes to the curves of a person's lower back, preventing them from slouching for prolonged periods of time while sitting down.
The posture a person has when sitting at a desk can really impact their health, depending on the height, width or structure of the desk. If it is too low for an employee, they are likely to slouch, whereas if it is too high, they could strain their joints and back muscles. Health experts advise that when possible, workers should stand up and stretch at regular intervals.
Good-quality office furniture, like sturdy desks, has been proven in numerous studies to boost productivity and reduce back pain and other health problems. In recent years, a popular trend that has developed among workers is the use of standing desks. By disregarding an office chair and standing up to work, employees can experience improved energy levels and better posture, according to Invoice Ninja. Breaking up your day by standing at a desk instead of sitting down increases blood flow throughout the body, helping you feel more awake and alert.
A minimalist setting
Research also shows that our surroundings have a significant impact on productivity and wellbeing, with 70 per cent of workers feeling stressed by cluttered office settings. The survey also found that a minimalist office helps half of employees sleep better, and over two thirds claim to be more productive when they are surrounded by less ‘stuff’.
CMI Workplace claims that injecting colour into an office space can also impact significantly on the psychology, inspiring and encouraging mindfulness while also increasing wellbeing. Natural lighting also plays an important role when it comes to employee health and wellbeing, with workers that don’t have office windows found to suffer from worse sleep quality, daytime dysfunction and sleep disturbances, than those with.
Interested in providing your workforce with the best office space? Check out our offices today.