Comfort opens the door for us to perform our work effectively. When the body is relaxed, and the mind is in good shape, we are able to get more done. Also we have a better mood in the process! An ergonomic office is a win-win solution, where both employees and the boss end the day with a smile on their face. See what to do to create a comfortable office environment.
What does ergonomics mean at work?
Ergonomics really revolves around comfort and safety. It’s a scientific discipline that helps us live healthier lives by adapting tools, machines, furniture and working conditions to our anatomical characteristics. For example, if we spend all day in an uncomfortable chair, we are likely to experience considerable discomfort in the evening. However, if the chair makes us comfortable, we are more rested and focused on the task at hand.
We can divide ergonomics into conceptual and corrective. The former is concerned with designing a space to make it as comfortable as possible and reduce the risk of accidents. At the planning stage, designers consider the layout of workstations, appropriate lighting, access to fresh air, the choice of materials or the use of ergonomic furniture. The goal is to create a space that allows users to customize it to their individual needs while ensuring comfort. Corrective ergonomics instead deals with improving spaces that already exist. To do this, a thorough analysis of working conditions is needed, both in terms of safety and employee comfort. The solutions introduced should respond to needs that are not being met at the moment.
What is ergonomic work?
Why is well-being so important at work? The better we feel, the better we work.
Body comfort translates into behavior and the way we experience emotions. For this reason, ergonomics in the workplace aims to take care of us comprehensively, addressing physical and mental needs. When we feel good, we automatically respond in a more favorable way to stressors, like a short deadline hanging over our projects. At the same time, when we are overtired, we become irritable and lack patience with co-workers. It is worth remembering that prolonged stress is a factor that negatively affects not only our mood, but also our health.
The impact of ergonomics on our productivity
Why is ergonomics important in the work environment? The body and psyche are closely connected, and consequently, when we feel comfortable, we are definitely more productive. It’s logical, but in the office we often forget to make sure we are comfortable. We wave our hand when the chair is uncomfortable and the air conditioner is set to too low a temperature. We think to ourselves: I don’t have time for this! In such situations, however, we should stop and make the right changes, because more and more of us are experiencing musculoskeletal health problems. Have you wondered lately why your head, spine or joints hurt. The starting point is a sedentary lifestyle and incorrect posture at a desk. You need to pay special attention to the factors that can have a direct impact on musculoskeletal disorders, which include:
- improper sitting or standing posture at a desk
- performing work in a forced position, performing monotypical, repetitive movements
- poorly adjusted computer workstation (improper positioning of the monitor)
- lack of movement
- lack of stretching exercises during work
- lack of breaks
- working in a semi-recumbent position
- lack of proper wrist support
- poor eating habits
- lack of short breaks during the day
The above factors have a direct impact on your health. Did you know that pain and other symptoms in specific areas can indicate specific diseases? It turns out that, unfortunately, yes. The most common symptoms of musculoskeletal conditions are pain syndromes in the spine, a feeling of muscle stiffness, numbness and tingling in the limbs, carpal tunnel syndrome, pain syndromes in the lumbar and cervical spine, chronic tendonitis and tendon sheath, neuritis, increased anterior tilt of the pelvis, excessive rounding of the chest and shoulder girdle.
This is why it is so important to pay close attention to whether the workstation is ergonomic. Proper posture affects your well-being, health, work comfort and productivity, so why should you give it up? By working in an ergonomic workplace you gain a great deal:
- a sense of security,
- greater focus,
- increased efficiency,
- better well-being,
- job satisfaction,
- greater motivation for action,
- better results with less effort.
What can be done to make the posture correct when working, sitting or standing? First and foremost, and the most difficult behavior, is to get into the habit of maintaining the correct posture. It is very important to step away from your desk at least for a while every now and then, do some simple exercises, help stretch your muscles, and change your body alignment. Give yourself and your body a break.
When sitting, pay special attention to:
- the height of our chair should be such that we can rest our feet comfortably on the floor and bend our knees at a 45-degree angle
- the back of the chair was bent so that the lumbar region of the spine is supported
- the screen should not be more than about half a meter away.
- position the chin parallel to the ground
- maintain a relaxed, lowered shoulder rim, and shoulders should be slightly back.
On the other hand, if you prefer a standing position at your desk, remember to:
- the back of your head, shoulder blades and buttocks aligned
- do not tilt your head back, and do not extend your chin forward,
- keep shoulders at the same level, and avoid unforced lifting of shoulders
- shoulders should be kept at the same level, avoid their unforced lifting, pull the shoulder blades back, thereby avoiding pushing the chest forward
- avoid excessive forward bending of the lumbar region
- keep feet slightly apart, distribute body weight evenly, so as not to strain the heels.
If we introduce a few basic exercises into our daily lives and take a moment to do them, it will have a beneficial effect on our body awareness. Changing positions every 10 minutes and averaging 30-60 minutes of effortless exercise can help you alleviate musculoskeletal discomfort. Stand up, stretch and walk a few steps. If you have the opportunity, try practicing yoga, where the positions you practice may soon become your good habit. You can also do simple exercises such as climbing on your toes, lifting your knees to chin height, transferring your body weight from one leg to the other, walking in place, circular arm movements, among others. Any physical activity activates the secretion of endorphins, the so-called happiness hormone, which has a positive effect on mood and increases motivation to act.
As we know, behind the success of any business are employees who are more willing and effective in their tasks when they have a supportive, comfortable space to do so. An ergonomic office can also support business growth.
Factors that create an ergonomic work environment
An office is more than walls, so while designing we should pay attention to both material and social elements. Sometimes it is what is invisible to the eye that plays the biggest role.
Positive work environment
The social factors that prevail in an office can sometimes be much more important than a comfortable office chair. Which of these are key to creating a positive work atmosphere? Among others, the interpersonal contacts within the company and the atmosphere within it, the opportunities for professional development and the demands that are placed on us.
The material factors that make up the work environment are nothing more than the place where we work and the tools we use to do so. Among other things, the temperature in the office, the lighting or also the presence of air conditioning, as well as substances that sensitize us, are important in this case.
What makes us comfortable in the office?
- monitor screen to reduce glare, equipped with a special filter to protect your eyesight,
- comfortable chair for computer work,
- access to natural light and fresh air,
- presence of live plants,
- comfortable customizable furniture (e.g., adjustable desk height),
- enough space to feel comfortable at your workstation.
What kind of environment increases our comfort at work?
- The freedom to be yourself,
- confidence in one’s superiors,
- low stress levels,
- the opportunity to develop talents,
- a sense of meaning in the duties performed,
- clear communication between employees.
What does an ergonomic, or comfortable, workplace look like?
First and foremost, an office is supposed to give freedom of choice, that is, to be a flexible space that we can adjust under ourselves, not the other way around! Solutions that benefit our work are therefore those that are tailored to the specific tasks we perform.
While creating the coworking brand for several years, we had a lot of conversations with our clients, we experimented and tested solutions on our own skin to make work easier. The experience helped us create a vision of an ergonomic workplace.
Principles of an ergonomic workplace
- Principles of an ergonomic workplace
We invited the future users of Brain Embassy coworking spaces to work on the concept, so we were able to create a versatile space that addresses a range of needs at the same time. If you want to design a truly comfortable office, bet on the variety and flexibility of workspaces, as well as areas designed for relaxation.
This way, all the company’s employees will be able to choose the space that best suits them at any given time each day. How to do it? First of all, think about what your typical work day looks like. Write down all its stages, types of tasks. Talk among yourselves and write down your observations. Everyday life is the best inspiration for office design.Codzienność to najlepsza inspiracja do projektowania biura.
At Brain Embassy, for example, we have both private offices and open space. We have equipped the open space with a number of different solutions, such as long table stations for those who like to be among others and quiet work rooms for those who can only focus in seclusion.
Did you know that at Brain Embassy, 90% of clients tried a new work position other than sitting at a desk for the first time?
Sitting has become the new smoking, so it makes sense to arrange the space to allow work to be done in a different position. Anyway, there are a whole bunch of ways to sit! In our coworking spaces we have swings, poufs, couches or even stationary bikes as alternatives to the typical office chair. Changing positions while giving your body relief, at the same time, can also provide you with fun!
- Space that takes care of physical comfort
Comfort first and foremost! Time spent in a chair looking for the right position is hardly productive. Therefore, in order to fully focus on tasks, we need a comfortable chair for computer work, a desk with a height-adjustable top or a good quality monitor.
Ergonomic furniture dedicated to work is one thing, but physical comfort should also be taken care of by arranging a relaxation space in the office. In each Brain Embassy coworking space you will find a living room with a comfortable couch, alcoves with armchairs or poufs. We also have chillout rooms with hammocks for deep relaxation.
- An environment that helps take care of our good mood
When our mind is rested, we are more motivated to work and find it easier to focus on completing tasks. A pleasant place (preferably in a package with supportive people) allows us to feel at ease, and this opens access to hidden talents. Feeling good about ourselves, we are more confident – we use our skills more boldly or reach for new competencies.
How, then, can the office environment support our psyche? At Brain Embassy, we studied the effect of colors on the mind and selected a color palette to positively stimulate it. Talking with clients while designing the first coworking spaces, we also understood the importance of being able to relax while working. That’s why we decided to equip the space with nap and meditation rooms that provide a comfortable environment for a reset, helping to recharge energy for further work.
- Plants that give us relaxation
The presence of living plants is calming – a few minutes gazing at the green leaves gives you respite and allows you to return to work with more ease. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep the principles of biophilia in mind when arranging your office. Biophilia involves enhancing interiors with elements from the natural world. Plants, in addition to their calming properties, are also a great acoustic element. So if you want to provide comfort to your employees, walls of greenery will definitely help you with this.
However, designing in harmony with biophilia is not only about plants. Monstera or sansewieria will go perfectly with furniture created from natural materials. The presence of wood or stone in the finishing of a space has a positive effect on employees – we can confirm this ourselves!
- Space to take a breath of fresh air
Access to oxygen gives us energy and ensures better focus. Instead, stuffy rooms reduce productivity and put creative thinking to sleep.
Weary from work, we run to get another cup of coffee to stop yawning. However, there is a healthier solution – just get some fresh air.
At Brain Embassy, you can boldly open the windows in your offices or open spaces to feel a breath of vitality. Most of our coworking spaces also have terraces where you can catch some sun or stretch your legs.
- Plenty of natural light for healthy eyes
Eyes are one of the body parts that suffer the most when working at a computer. That’s why proper lighting is fundamental in designing an ergonomic office. Lack of access to daylight makes us sleepy, tired and, unfortunately, also more stressed. Instead, the right amount of natural lighting has a positive effect on sleep and provides a better quality of life.
So as much as possible, make sure to have a large number of windows in the office. At Brain we have a rule – one window for Brainers! In addition, part of the walls are glazed, so that natural light also reaches areas that do not have direct access to windows. What else can you do? Choose light bulbs with a light temperature similar to daylight. When designing workplaces, also position lamps so as to avoid the phenomenon of “glare”, which tires the eyes very quickly.
- Positive people you can count on
Although the office creates the space, the community creates the atmosphere. Relaxed team spirit or trust in the manager increases our motivation to work. It also improves our mood – we open our laptops with a smile and support others in difficult moments because we see the company as a whole. We also spread this attitude at Brain: together we are smarter is our main slogan. We know that by working together with empathy, we can achieve goals together that are beyond the capabilities of an individual.
An ergonomic office is therefore not a fad of employees. It’s the best way to create a healthy workplace full of happy people, which is why we have taken care of monitors in common areas in many of our locations. In addition, we took care of an adequate number of up & down desks, so you have the opportunity to customize your workstation. With any inquiries you can report to our Community team or email us at [email protected]
Good luck in creating a comfortable office!
Powodzenia w tworzeniu komfortowego biura!