What are the Different Types of Ergonomic Office Furniture?

Tara Barnett

Ergonomic office furniture is constantly evolving with new technologies. The philosophy that furniture in an office should be comfortable, prevent stress or injury, and promote efficiency by its very design is an old one, but the science to back up that philosophy has become highly developed with the growing ubiquity of office buildings. Ergonomic office furniture can range from an office chair to desks and computer equipment.

Ergonomic office furniture is designed to make workers efficient, comfortable and able to avoid stress or injury.
Ergonomic office furniture is designed to make workers efficient, comfortable and able to avoid stress or injury.

Ergonomics is the practice of making the furniture fit the worker, not the other way around. This philosophy can be applied to many different facets of office design, leading to many different ergonomic office furniture items. Often, the most common items in offices are chairs. Most office workers spend the majority of their work time in office chairs, so ergonomic design of these items can work to prevent injury from extended sitting, promote circulation, and even improve attentiveness by correcting posture. There have been many theories about what constitutes the most ergonomic chair design, leading to unique chairs that place the sitter in a kneeling position, as well as many chairs with improved lumbar support.

Any workplace area may benefit from ergonomic office furniture.
Any workplace area may benefit from ergonomic office furniture.

Offices also usually need ergonomic desks. Many desks incorporate organization for workflow as well as physical benefits such as appropriate height for the user. Some desks are designed to minimize clutter by providing specialized areas for typical office items, such as cords or pens. Many technological items, such as keyboards and mice, have been developed to harmonize with these ergonomic desks creating the perfect height and angle for the wrists.

Some people believe changing the layout of the keyboard can reduce the risk of repetitive stress injuries from typing, even without special ergonomic products.
Some people believe changing the layout of the keyboard can reduce the risk of repetitive stress injuries from typing, even without special ergonomic products.

Any workplace area may benefit from ergonomic office furniture. A break room with an ergonomic design may promote office morale and productivity, for instance. Structures used to separate mail, prioritize company goals, or even organize shared devices like printers may improve workplace function. The kind of work that is performed in the office has a large effect on what kind of furniture is needed, and the way that furniture will be used determines what constitutes ergonomic design for that situation.

One of the problems with ergonomic office furniture is that what is comfortable and practical for one person may not work as well for another. For example, a very short person may not be comfortable in a chair designed for a tall person, and a person with a unique typing style may not be as comfortable at a desk designed for a person with a more standard style. The best kind of ergonomic office furniture available is individually tailored to the needs of each person and the company overall, often through adjustable features for maximum comfort for all users. Through features like these, any type of furniture can be designed ergonomically and produced for office use.

Sitting at an ergonomic desk may help support and minimize pain in the lower back.
Sitting at an ergonomic desk may help support and minimize pain in the lower back.

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