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Workplace Insight

The Balancing Act - Optimizing Health and Work

These days, the what, where, how, and why of the American office are all up for debate. The only thing that hasn’t seen a revolutionary change is the “who” of our workforces.

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For the most part, humans haven’t been replaced by algorithms, databases, and automatons--yet. In other words, there are still humans with human bodies behind all those desks and screens.

Work of all kinds can take a physical toll on the body. As we work, our bodies adjust to access the tools of our environment. We stoop, hunch, shift our weight, and droop our heads at the screen. And as even minor aches and pains add up in our daily lives, the quality of our work is bound to similarly suffer.

Employees and employers are far from powerless to improve health and happiness across the board. By investing in better equipment, thinking about posture, and taking a break once in a while, we can maximize comfort, productivity, and potential!

Better Equipment

Our understanding of how office furniture harms or improves our health is constantly evolving for the better. If we’re putting first things first, investing in a comfortable, stylish desk can set the tone for a better work environment and better work.

For an all-in-one, modular set up, Herman Miller’s Canvas series private office provides workspace versatility with desktop space for every kind of office activity. The Nelson Swag Leg Desk, on the other hand, uses a higher desktop and minimal design to create a peace of mind and peace of body. Both styles of desk allow for standing or sitting and have ample leg room for planting both feet firmly on the ground throughout the day.

Next up, you’ll want the ideal chair--something comfortable that also adjusts to keep you firmly planted and upright. Aeron Chairs swivel, rise, and fall to put you in perfect position while also keeping you lavishly comfortable with padded armrests and cooling mesh on the back and seat.

If you invest in nothing else beyond a chair and a desk for your office, you’ll still have what you need to get your work done in basic human comfort!

Better Posture

We’ve all heard so much about “ideal posture” that we could lecture ourselves until we’re blue in the face. There’s a silver lining to our slumping habits, though--they’re not always 100% our fault.

To achieve the ideal office posture, we need relaxed shoulders, support for our arms and back, our feet flat on the floor, and our computer screens as near to eye level as possible. It also helps to keep our thighs and arms horizontal. Most of these conditions are easily met with the right desk and chair pairing, but what about bringing our screens up to eye level? Short of buying a new computer or monitor, what options exist?

For the laptop devotee, an adjustable Herman Miller mount can do wonders. A laptop mount frees up valuable desktop space while aligning your screen angle to meet your needs. For workspaces with multiple users, Flo Monitor Arms allow for customization and comfort, accommodating both those of diminutive stature and those of NBA hall-of-fame height.

In the age of Zoom meetings, proper monitor alignment can also position cameras for selfie-level shots, so you can finally ditch the 900 page book you were using as a laptop stand.

Better Breaks

In an ideal world, we’d all have time for a 45-minute walk twice a day. Barring an unheard-of level of generosity from our employers, this solution seems unlikely. There are, however, smaller, beneficial exercises that we can perform during a quick 5-15 minute break.

Few activities are more efficient than a quick yoga session. Keeping a mat at work, and even starting a daily yoga gathering with coworkers, can have immediate results. If you’re in the market for something more habitual, try only using the stairs to get to and from your office. Even walking up two flights of stairs 3-4 times each day can improve circulation and burn calories!

There are dozens upon dozens of stretching exercises that you can perform without leaving your chair! To improve back, neck, shoulder, and even wrist aches, a good rule of thumb might be 15 minutes of stretching 2-4 times a day.

Better Work

It took the onset of the digital age combined with a global pandemic to finally break up our concepts of what an office can be in the 21st century. Radical times encourage radical thinking, and both encourage radical adaptation to the new--if ever-changing--normal.

As our understanding of ergonomics expands, we must similarly strive--as both employees and employers--to focus on our health and wellness while we work. The future is bright and (hopefully) more ache- and pain-free!

Let Office Environments help you make work better!

Our mental picture of “an office” has evolved beyond acres of cubicles. A modern office promotes modern values such as health, wellness, and overall fitness. To keep up with the times (and keep your workforce happy) consider investing in more body-friendly office furnishings and desktop solutions. A fit workforce is a productive and happy workforce to the betterment of everyone involved! For more office health and wellness solutions, contact Office Environments today!

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