Why Ergonomic Chairs Matter

If you owned a factory, you would never allow a worker to operate a dangerous machine without safety shields. If you owned a trucking company, you would never send out a driver in a vehicle without brakes. If you owned a fleet of fishing boats, you would never let your fishermen sail without lifejackets.

So why would you let your office workers sit in old or unhealthy office chairs that lack proper ergonomic adjustments? A lot of time and effort goes into making offices look good, but are you paying enough attention to the health and wellness of your most valuable asset — your employees?

 

There are two aspects of a complete workplace well-being program. First, employers must look at the ergonomics of the office — the physical space,  tools, furniture and office chairs you give employees to work. Second, employers must design and implement a comprehensive wellness program. Before we get into the details of these two key elements, let’s take a look at why it matters.

If you are on the fence about investing in the well-being of your employees, consider these facts:

  • OSHA has cited that musculoskeletal disorders and ergonomic injuries have direct costs of between $15 billion-$20 billion per year.
  • According to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, which reviewed 250 ergonomics case studies to reveal the impact of ergonomics on business goals like cost savings, productivity and product quality, companies that invest in the wellness of their workers see a 59% average reduction of musculoskeletal disorders; 75% reduction in lost workdays; 68% reduction in worker’s compensation costs and a 43% decrease in labor costs.
  • Since Johnson & Johnson implemented an employee wellness program in 1995, the company’s leaders estimate that wellness programs cumulatively saved the company $250 million on health care costs in a decade and the return was $2.71 for every dollar spent.
It is helpful to divide ergonomics and health and wellness programs into two related, but separate baskets. Think of ergonomics as the healthy space a company creates for its employees. It is the healthy thinking behind the space and the tools used by workers. Wellness programs give employees incentives, tools, social support, privacy and strategies to adopt and maintain healthy behaviors. Employers design them, but participating in wellness programs is usually the employee’s responsibility.

Ergonomics help employees stay more comfortable and ergonomic solutions can increase productivity by as much as 25%, according to multiple studies. Ergonomics is important because when you’re doing a job and your body is stressed by an awkward posture, extreme temperature or repeated movement your musculoskeletal system is affected. Your body may begin to develop symptoms such as fatigue, discomfort and pain, which can be the first signs of a musculoskeletal disorder. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are conditions that affect your body’s muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments and nerves.  MSDs can develop over time or can occur immediately due to overload.

In addition to being a literal pain in the neck for the employee, ergonomic problems also cost employers a lot. According to the Oregon OSHA, the average direct cost of a workers’ compensation claim for an MSD is $14,120. The indirect costs involved bringing the total average claim cost to well over $32,000.

A wellness program is any kind of organized activity in the workplace designed to improve and support the health and fitness of employees. Wellness programs could include fitness programs, health screenings and preventative care and include activities like stress management education, smoking cessation programs, exercise programs, weight-loss competitions and wellness assessments.

 

According to the Society for Human Resource Management Employee Benefits Survey, about 64 percent of employers provide wellness resources and information, and 58 percent of organizations offer wellness programs in general.

Employers can promote a healthier, more productive work environment by offering employees the means and the educational tools to take control of their wellness. A well-executed wellness program can reduce health care costs, augment productivity and increase employee retention, providing further support for the correlation between personal health and job satisfaction.

Creating a healthy workplace is a journey for most companies. It doesn’t happen overnight. But it doesn’t take much to get started either.

Take a look at your furniture. A good place to start is a review of your office chairs. The main feature to look for in an ergonomic seat is adjustability. The more that you are able to modify the chair, the better you can customize it to suit your individual needs. Look for a chair that supports your lower back. The seat pan — the part you actually sit on — should have enough width and depth to support the user.

Just because you are sitting does not mean the experience should be static. Active or dynamic sitting allows the worker to move while seated, which is important since the human body is not meant to stay stationary for long periods. Static seating can cause joint stiffness, circulation problems and back and neck pain.

Picking the right chair makes all the difference.

 

9to5 Seating’s lineup includes two best-selling European task chairs that certainly fit the bill. The company distributes HÅG Capisco and HÅG Capisco Puls, two chairs designed by Peter Opsvik that perfectly blend movement and a comfortable seat. HÅG Capisco is fully upholstered and well designed for desk work. The HÅG Capisco Puls is a plastic frame chair with upholstered seat or seat pad options intended for shorter sits.

Because of its award-winning ergonomic design, the HÅG Capisco chair stimulates intuitive and natural movement in a variety of seated postures. You can sit on it with the seat back behind you or facing you. The wings on the back let you rest an arm while you meet with a coworker or simply need a new position. The innovative base is designed as a footrest and an optional ring makes sitting even more comfortable.

The 9to5 Seating Luna Collection is another great choice. The Luna Collection includes task, task stool, and side chair models, all built with comfort and movement in mind. All Luna models have a pull handle that makes them easy to move. They also feature a mesh back that flexes and adjusts as you move. An optional height-adjustable lumbar provides additional back support.

Another option is Sol. Sol is a task chair that seamlessly integrates technology and supports all the postures we assume as we read on tablets, text on phones, video chat or draw. A slim layer of upholstery or mesh cushions the back while allowing easy movement. Sol uses responsive pivot-back technology for total support regardless of how much you move. The pivoting back mirrors your natural posture changes, letting you settle in or sit up, or even move side-to-side.

With the right office chair in place, it is time to turn to the rest of the workstation. To improve workstations, make sure all the worker’s joints are properly aligned in the neutral position, the office chair is adjusted correctly, the back is supported and the computer monitor, keyboard and mouse are at the right height and aligned.

Ergonomics and wellness should be at the core of every company’s workplace strategy. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it will also improve productivity, save money and boost employee morale. If you were the coach, you wouldn’t send a football player on the field without a helmet. Don’t send your employees to the office without protection either.

Good Design Awards

9to5 Seating has been honored with three esteemed GOOD DESIGN® Awards for Jax, Sol and Mila. Granted by The Chicago Athenaeum since 1950, the prize recognizes innovative industrial, product, and graphic designs from around the world.

Founded in Chicago in 1950 by pioneers Charles and Ray Eames together with former MoMA curator Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., GOOD DESIGN spotlights work that has “chartered new directions and pushed the envelope for competitive products in the world marketplace”.

Winning products Jax, Sol and Mila creatively address needs in the market while delivering on style. With dramatic silhouettes and a sculptural aesthetic, the Jax Collection is a complete lounge line with high-back, mid-back and side models to create a cohesive look office-wide. Task chair Sol features active pivot-back technology, engineered to support a range of working postures for users on cell phones, tablets or laptops. Mila enables easy ergonomic adjustment, with a mechanism that automatically adapts to each user’s weight, hidden in a contoured aluminum frame that encircles the seat and back.

“9to5 Seating is honored to be granted not one but three prestigious GOOD DESIGN Awards this year,” said Dara Mir, President and CEO of 9to5 Seating. “We are just as committed to design and innovation as we are to making it accessible to a wide audience.”

Jax, Sol and Mila are now available to order. Products can be specified using 9to5 Seating Chair Designer.

 

 

 

Sol Wins Again

Sol wins BEST of CFYC Seating- Task. MRL launched the very first Chicago From Your Couch (CFYC) in June of 2020. Over 150 manufacturers participated in the virtual special event. Then in August 2020, MRL had 30 designers (A&D, dealers and students) vote for their favorite products across 38 categories.

Click on the image below to check out the awards ceremony announcement:

Sol has also won the following awards:

Sol Wins a Product Innovations Award

9to5 Seating is proud to announce that Sol has received a Product Innovations award from BUILDINGS and interiors+sources. The product is a member of an elite group of 33 innovative products that will be showcased in the September/October issue of BUILDINGS and the October issue of interiors+sources, as well as online at www.BUILDINGS.com and www.interiorsandsources.com.

The BUILDINGS and interiors+sources editorial staffs evaluated submissions in terms of their innovation and contribution to productive workplaces. Sol received the Merit Award  in the Furniture/Seating category.

Sol Named HiP Honoree

9to5 Seating’s Sol has been recognized as an Honoree for innovative design in the Workplace Task Seating category by Interior Design’s HiP awards.

The 7th Annual HiP Awards—usually celebrated in conjunction with NeoCon—were held in a virtual event June 12 and highlighted the stand-out work in product design of 2020.

Sol, designed by HUB Studio led by Paul Mazzotta, longtime partner of 9to5 Seating, is a revolutionary chair that integrates technology to support natural postures for working with tablets, phones or video chat. Its responsive pivot-back technology enables natural freedom of movement, while a sweeping aluminum flourish makes Sol’s design instantly iconic.

Interior Design is a global design authority with a tradition of identifying and highlighting trends in creative innovation. A leading industry voice, it is widely read by architectural and facility management professionals alike.

“Sol reflects how we embrace the changing needs of the workplace through design innovation,” says Dara Mir, President and CEO of 9to5 Seating. “We’re proud to be recognized by the HiP judges and rewarded for a product we’re excited about.”

Click here to learn more about Sol.

Sol Supports Today’s Flexible Workplace Needs

 

9to5 Seating launches Sol, a new task chair specifically designed to meet the needs of today’s agile workplace. Sol features a flexible back, adjustable arms and seat, engineered to support a range of working postures for users on cell phones, tablets or laptops.

Sol’s pivot-back technology was created to enable the torso rotation and side-to-side movement necessary for sharing or reading screens beyond the desktop. Its upwardly tapered back addresses the need for seating that allows for free movement of the shoulders and arms for users of devices of all kinds. These innovations round out Sol’s other ergonomic design features including adjustable arms, seat, lumbar and synchro mechanism.

Sol’s design supports its purpose with a slim layer of upholstery or mesh allowing easy movement. Sol’s modern lines and aluminum accents were created with a contemporary workspace or conference room in mind.

“Sol was imagined for integration in today’s fluid workplace,” said Dara Mir, President and CEO of 9to5 Seating. “Smart design isn’t a perk anymore—it’s how today’s offices do business.”

Sol starts at $925 list, is BIFMA LEVEL 1, GREENGUARD Gold certified and warranted to 300 lbs. Click here to learn more about the new Sol.