Buying always involves spending and many people generally believe that you have to spend a lot of money when buying ergonomic office furniture. This belief is not necessarily true. With a little effort and preparation, you can make a wise investment that will pay back health dividends in the future. However, you cannot approach this project casually. The reason? Ergonomics is not a product but a process: a process of matching furniture (including tools, workstation, equipment, and environment) to the workers (and their work tasks) to reduce the hazards for injury and discomfort without undermining productivity.
Knowing the prospective users is critical. Individual characteristics can make a significant difference. Always consider the following points:
Different office tasks require different equipment, different accessories and different layouts. Understanding the basics of the work carried out helps one to understand more clearly what the workers need in order to make their job better "ergonomically". Consider the nature of the tasks to be done:
Many aspects of the work environment must be considered. You should take into account:
Having made the initial assessment, you may start looking for a suitable purchase. We suggest that you focus your attention on:
When buying chairs, consider any maintenance and repair costs. Some chair manufacturers will recommend an inspection and maintenance schedule. Normal wear problems may include:
Do not assume that your job is done once you have found suitable products. Before you make a final decision, you should give your staff an opportunity to test them. Remember that people accept change with differing degrees of ease. Therefore, having the staff actively involved in the decision-making process is very important for the selection of furniture and equipment that is suited to them and their work tasks. Interactive training on how to use, adjust, and readjust new equipment is also crucial for the successful introduction of new equipment and furniture into the workplace.
Keep in mind that the supplier's claim that his products are "ergonomically" correct is no guarantee of comfort. Arming yourself with valid information from reliable sources will help you make the right investment that will benefit an employer and employees equally. Consulting a specialist, specifically when you have little or no understanding of ergonomics can be a valuable investment in the entire purchasing process.
You can find more information on office equipment and furniture under the following topics:
The document Office Ergonomics also contains a lot of useful information.
Document last updated on March 9, 2005