All About Ergonomics

25 October 2021

Ergonomics has become a buzzword in the furniture industry. We see it in almost every furniture article, catalog, or advertisement but do most of us really know what it means? For instance, what will I benefit from having an ergonomic chair or using an ergonomic table? How is it possible for furniture to impact my workflow dynamic?  

Ergonomics traces its origins from the Greek word “ergon” which means “work” in English and “nomos” which means “natural laws.” Put together, it means the “laws of work” and was said to have been used for the first time in 1857. Polish scholar Wojciech Jastrzębowski used it for his book entitled “An Outline of Ergonomics, or The Science of Work.” 

But even before the term was coined, it is believed that ergonomics has existed even during Ancient times. Drawings found during 400BC show that Ancient Greeks have already been designing chairs with contoured backrests and adjustable armrests, features that modern ergonomics furniture also have. Records also show Hippocrates talking about thoughtful design to improve workplace efficiency from 460 BC to 375 BC. 

Other notable years include the 1890s when Frederick Winslow Taylor analyzed workflow using measuring units of work and time, and in the 1900s when Lilian and Frank Gilbreth aimed to minimize the total number of movements to accomplish a task by making use of “Time and Motion Studies.” Other traces of ergonomics were during the world wars: World War 1 when they were considering how the aircraft design affected the pilot and; during WWII when weapons were designed to maximize the capability of humans. 

In 1949, physiologists and psychologists in the United Kingdom formed the Ergonomics Research Society, now known as the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors. In North America, the US soon followed with its own group in 1957, calling it the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. When computers and software became the buzz in the 1970s, the need for cognitive ergonomics rose. And since computers catapulted to success in the 80s up to the present, ergonomics has become a solution in making workspaces more functional and comfortable for its employees. 

Ergonomics Today

The International Ergonomics Association (IEA), a global federation of ergonomic organizations, defines ergonomics or human factors as the “scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data, and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.” 

Designing systems for different economic sectors, industries, or application fields, ergonomics involves multiple disciplines that integrate science to center on the user’s needs and want. To be considered ergonomic, an entity should address issues involving cognitive factors (perception, memory, reasoning, etc), physical factors (human anatomy, physiology, anthropometrics), and organizational factors (participation, cooperation, socio-technical systems). 

According to the IEA, the essential core values of ergonomics or human factors are the following: humans as assets, promotion of quality of life, technology as a tool to assist humans, responsibility to all stakeholders, and respect for individual differences. 

What a Workplace Will Benefit from Ergonomics 

Employees have overall better health in an ergonomic workplace. With ergonomics, employees feel less tense because eye strain is minimized, neck pain is alleviated, swelling of legs is addressed, and the body’s blood circulation is at its best. 

With physical distractions out of the way, the mind is more capable of thinking. Ergonomics helps sharpen focus, reduce stress, uplift mood, and improve work efficiency. Productivity thrives in the workplace with more focused workers. 

Having happy employees also ensures overall better quality of work. 

It may be pricey for some at first but ergonomics can save money for the company and individuals in the long run. Daily hazards and future serious health problems can be avoided with ergonomic solutions in place. 

Ergonomics in the Time of the Pandemic 

When COVID-19 hit and froze the whole world’s operations, ergonomics even became more ubiquitous. Employees were instructed to work from home in the meantime but no one could have predicted how long the pandemic will be. Because of the long period of working from home, many companies realized that remote work could be viable for their operations. With this set-up still being explored for most industries, employees had to face many difficulties including the blurring lines between work and rest. 

Ergonomics came to the rescue. Many companies and individual employees tapped into it to maintain and improve work efficiency even in a work-from-home set-up. The home office space had to fit the criteria of reducing an employee’s discomfort and physical pain during hours of prolonged sitting, all while improving efficiency and productivity. 

FlexiSpot, An Ergonomic Brand for 20 years and counting 

FlexiSpot is no doubt a leading provider of ergonomic furniture. It carries a rich catalog of products and services that redefine health, love, and care in a workplace. 

Backed by its 20 years of experience in the ergonomics industry, the company has helped oversee the spine health of 10 million people. More than a thousand enterprises have used FlexiSpot to facilitate employees. 

Office workers are subjected to prolonged sitting, a daily sedentary routine. This is why FlexiSpot provides quality options for height adjustable standing desks that will help employees shift from standing to sitting positions throughout the day. The company also carries standing desk converters that can instantly upgrade a workstation—elevating workspaces that help encourage sitting and standing shifts and also improve body posture. 

If you’re looking for a good quality desk bike, FlexiSpot has the V9 Pro Home Office Height Adjustable Cycle Desk Bike that helps the mind and body stay active and alert. It also has a massage gaming chair that has ergonomic features for its users—minimizing neck, back, arm, and leg pain. 

Simply put, Flexispot is a one-stop-shop for any company or individual employee who wants to maximize ergonomics for workers to be more efficient and productive in the office space. Some people may find the price tag hefty but the investment is surely worth it. It pays for a great quality of life that allows for a more balanced work and social life dynamic. After all, Flexispot products are durable and last their customers for years before any damage or malfunctioning. Most clients come back not to replace the FlexiSpot items they already have in their workspaces but to purchase other items to make their work even more ergonomic.