The Office is a concept that has dominated Business since at least the Eighteenth Century, and maybe even earlier. A very large proportion of daily business is carried out from the Office. Daylight hours have traditionally been reserved for business as conducted from the Office, by Office Workers. Lately, however, even these hours have been gradually extended, until 24-hour Offices have become popular everywhere. Run as two-shift or three-shift periods daily, it has meant continuous attendance at the same Office. Certain businesses, like “Call Centers”, in fact totally depend on their 24-hour daily coverage, though of course by workers taking shift duty. But all this has meant spending long concentrated work periods in the same Office Chairs. This has often led to a special kind of extreme Chair Exhaustion for the workers, ultimately leading to severe skeletal and spinal problems. The number of workers diagnosed with these muscular and skeletal defects caused by sitting-related reasons have now reached staggering proportions and is now medically considered to be a major cause of office-borne diseases. Some progressive organizations insist on physical exercise breaks at regular intervals, to try and prevent some of the causative factors. Others advance seminars to teach their staff to take care of their own bodies from long-term fatigue. But the main preventive measure proposed by the Ergonomic Experts is to use modern physical-medical technology to improve or completely change the Seating Posture for the continuously sitting Office Staff. This Article deals with this most important aspect of modern-day Office Work and tries to teach the basics for the 3 seating posture to sit while using office chairs for lengthy hours.
The Office Chair
The Office Chair is an extremely crucial piece of office furniture. Office Employees need to stay in the office for the best part of the day, and so their comfort is of prime necessity. Otherwise, their interest and concentration in their work is bound to drop. Comfortable seating not only reduces fatigue but also helps the employees remain healthy. The renowned Experts O. Standingford and G. Mills have suggested two types of Office Chairs: one type for the secretaries and clerks who form the majority in any Office, and the other type for the Executives. Both types of chairs have adjustable backrests and heights, in order to suit the needs of the individuals. Standingford further advises that, after individual adjustment and correct setting of a particular chair, each chair should be labelled with the name of the individual clerk for whom it has been adjusted. This is to prevent the willy-nilly unplanned transfer of chairs to persons for whom the chair has not been adjusted, which may cause more harm than good. Another way to avoid fatigue is proper cushioning, which can also increase productivity. Man-made fibres such as Rexene and Vinyl provide sufficient cushioning comfort for the Staff and middle-level executives, while the demands of prestige also apply to the higher posts such as the top management executives, were genuine leather cushioning is found more applicable and attractive.
The 3 Seating Posture
The Main 3 seating posture to sit while using office chairs for lengthy hours are listed as follows:
- Seat Height: The Seat Height needs to be adjusted to optimal levels such that the User’s feet rest flatly on the floor. Every user is different, and not only is he or she of different overall height, but the legs are of different length from person to person. At the same time, most work desks are of fixed height, hence it is the seat height which needs to be altered. In general, however, a seat height is alterable from 16 to 21 inch by the floor, which covers most people.
- Seat Depth and Width: The seat depth should be such that there is a gap of about 2 to 4 inches between the edge of the seat and the back of the User’s knees. A seat that is too far forward can create undue pressure at the back of the knees, and long-term usage may actually damage the ligaments of the knees.
- Seat Tilt: The seat of a good ergonomic chair must allow sufficient tilt, in order to create correct positioning of the pelvis. It has been observed that the posture problem known as the anterior pelvic tilt is common with almost everyone who is a sedentary Office worker. It is therefore essential to ensure that the pelvis is in a neutral position while working in a sitting position, with an 80 degrees angle between the hips, knees and ankles.
Some other points are additional supplements to the above Three, and sometimes equally important. These are as follows:
- Swivel: The Swivel function of ergonomic Office Chairs ensure that different points of the desk can be reached without undue strain while working.
- Armrests: The Armrests help reduce tension in the upper body while allowing the shoulders to relieve painful tension and relax. But armrests can be a hindrance when typing as excessive wrist movement to compensate the reduction in overall arm movement can lead to straining of the forearm muscles.
- Backrest Lumbar Support: The lower back needs to be supported while working, and stabilize the natural S-shape of the spinal column. This prevents slumping and stress on the spine and pelvis. For this, the chair must have adjustable backrest in order to align the curve of the chair to the curve of the spine for perfect support.
- Backrest Recline: The adjustable backrest can be used by the User to gradually ease the stress on the spine position throughout the day to progressively comfortable positions.
- Headrest: This supports the back of the head.
- Materials: These have been discussed earlier above.
- Wheels/Castors: Soft rubberized wheels ensure smooth movement of the chair, while still sitting.
The 3 sitting posture on the ergonomic Office Chair is essential for long hours of continuous work, which allow the management to extract the height of Productivity from the Office Staff, while also looking after their welfare.