Tag Archives: sitting

Aging in the Office

October 13, 2016 by

The older workforce is continuously growing. By 2022, the number of workers over the age of 54 is projected to increase by nearly 40 percent, due largely to baby boomers working past typical retirement age. Older workers’ valuable experience contributes to their companies’ productivity. Yet, they experience natural age-related conditions that compromise peak performance. Paying attention to ergonomic principles in office furniture and work practices can improve and enhance older workers’ ability to effectively contribute.

An older workforce brings stability and institutional memory to a company. In fact, older workers often impart knowledge to new hires—which is a proven way new workers learn how to do their jobs. C-level employees often become mentors, developing younger talent. Older workers at all job levels tend to be more motivated, with lower rates of absenteeism.

The down side is there’s no denying age-related functional limitations. Fortunately, steps can be taken in everyday office tasks to prevent strain or injury. These include: understanding sound ergonomics and methods of human factors, along with teaching how to recognize the principles of universal design, regardless of age, or physical limitations.

Age affects the musculoskeletal system by reducing one’s strength. Muscles and tendons weaken. Similarly, bones become more porous, and cartilage can degenerate—both of which are considered a normal consequence of aging. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) often involve back, hand, shoulder, and arm pain.

While 62 percent of men and women between ages 51 and 61 report one or more MSDs, work-related MSDs are difficult to separate from those caused outside the office. Employers should be proactive in making sure tasks neither cause MSDs nor make them worse.

These Steps Will Assist Workers of All Ages:

Ergonomically designed seating with effective lumbar support is essential for an office chair. Armrests are doubly important for the older worker to support forearms during typing, and to help rising from the chair.

Encourage breaks. Short stretch breaks disrupt the repetitive arm/wrist/finger motions of keyboard and mouse usage. Standing to work is more available today, and should be done approximately 18 minutes every hour.

Other Age-Related Changes

Hearing loss occurs at a rate of 2–3.5 percent per year throughout life, meaning, a 50-year-old may miss what a 25-year-old hears clearly. Also, an older worker is less able to tune out background noise.

Vision changes begin to affect most people in their 40s or 50s. While the amount of light needed to see increases, the time it takes for eyes to adjust to changing levels also increases.

Addressing these limitations may require individually adjustable task lighting, reducing the pace of presentation in training situations, using larger type in instructional materials, and employing sound-masking techniques to dampen background noise. Though these changes are intended to help older workers, such steps are likely to benefit all workers.

Closing

Recognizing both sensory and musculoskeletal differences in older workers means adapting the workplace to offer them as much comfort and safety as possible. It also means encouraging ergonomically sound ways of working. These adjustments help younger workers as well, who will continue to benefit from them as their generations mature. B2B

Doug Schuring is the director of sales administration at All Makes Office Equipment Co.

Doug Schuring is the director of sales administration at All Makes Office Equipment Co.

Get Moving

March 29, 2014 by

By now, everyone has probably heard how sitting for extended periods of time is bad for your health. The Surgeon General recommends a minimum of 10,000 steps or five miles per day, yet the average American walks less than half of this amount, which leads to chronic health problems brought on by inactivity.

In the work environment, sitting for long hours is the norm. We spend many hours a day in front of a computer typing, surfing the web, and Tweeting. During a typical workday, Americans spend as much as 95 percent of the day sitting.

The treadmill desk and height-adjustable work surfaces are designed to change sedentary work environments. Consisting of a desk with an integrated control console, the treadmill desk still allows users to accomplish daily tasks like e-mails, phone calls, and typing while being a bit more active. The console displays speed, distance, steps taken, time spent, and calories burned. It also allows users to synchronize data with an online account where they can set goals and track their walking progress. The treadmill desk has a quiet motor that is ideal for the corporate or home office.

Adjustable-height workstations allow workers to raise and lower their work surface and monitor throughout the day, permitting them to sit or stand while working. From companies such as Google and Facebook and classrooms from elementary to university level, height-adjustable tables are starting to become more popular.

If you don’t have access to a treadmill desk or height-adjustable work surface, you can still find creative ways to move more throughout the workday. Here are a few ideas:

Stand up while you talk on the phone.

Every time you finish a task, take a stretching break.

Remind yourself to get up and move. Set a reminder on your phone that goes off every hour.

Take the stairs, not the elevator.

Don’t roll your office chair. Get up and walk instead.

Our bodies are made to move, so get moving! Stop by the All Makes showroom at 25th and Farnam to see what’s new in the office and to demo the treadmill desk and height-adjustable work surfaces. The All Makes team is trained to help you make furniture and business equipment purchases that fit your office atmosphere, your work style, and your budget.

Visit the All Makes showroom at 25th and Farnam streets in Omaha to see the latest office furniture and design trends on display. The All Makes team is trained to help you make design and furniture purchases that fit your office atmosphere, your work style, and your budget.

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Office Seating

November 25, 2012 by

When it comes to your office chair, one size does not fit all. Chairs are the most personal piece of office furniture—and the most complex—because they must adapt to all kinds of people and many types of work.

If you sit behind a desk regularly, you know how important it is to have a good chair. Many of us spend more hours in our office chair than all the other chairs and sofas in our life combined. Not having the right chair can cause lower back pain, as well as neck and shoulder pain.

Studies have linked the comfort of a workplace directly to the efficiency levels of employees and employee turnover. In an average day, people spend 5.7 hours sitting in their chair and 7 hours sleeping in their bed. If you’re one of those people who spend hours in a chair, below are some guidelines to healthy seating.

  • Raise or lower your seat so your thighs are parallel to the floor and your feet are flat on the floor or a footrest.
  • Adjust the depth of your seat pan so you have at least 2” of clearance between the back of your knees and the front of the seat.
  • Adjust the height of your backrest so it fits comfortably on the small of your back.
  • Adjust your chair’s recline tension—if necessary—to support varying degrees of recline. Avoid using recline locks.
  • Lean back and relax in your chair to allow the backrest to provide full support for your upper body.

Remember, a quality chair should always have a lifetime warranty on the frame and mechanical parts and a 5- to 10-year warranty on fabric.

Stop by All Makes Office Equipment Co. at 25th & Farnam streets to see what’s new in the office. The All Makes team is trained to help you make design and furniture purchases that fit your office atmosphere, your work style, and your budget.