How to Create an Ergonomically Designed Office For an Inspiring Office Environment
Feng Shui is defined as “a system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy (qi), and whose favorable or unfavorable effects are taken into account when siting and designing buildings.”
This tried & true ancient Eastern philosophy has re-emerged in recent years to provide inspiration for home and office design professionals and “simple living” aficionados alike. Whether or not you consciously subscribe to these philosophies, there’s no denying that it boils down to some basic truths. We want to feel comfortable in our surroundings. We want to feel inspired. We want to feel enlightened. We just want to feel good. And this goes beyond one’s home and branches out to the place that many regard as their second home: their workplace. Office design is key.
Contemplate the following elements of your office, the ergonomics, how they correlate to one another, and the cumulative feel they create in your office interior design.
Gone are the days of the basic “one size fits all” office desk. Today, we have a variety of styles, layouts, and finishes eager for our choosing. Whether you are designing your home office or office away from home, remember to factor in comfort and versatility as well as style. A bright white lacquered finish may provide the perfect contrast to other brightly-colored touches to the office, just as a rich cherry desk will lend warmth to your professional work environment. An ergonomic desk is equipped with a desktop ample enough to allow for the monitor, necessary peripherals, and perhaps a couple of personal items for the employee to make it their own. Satisfying those elements fosters an environment of empowerment and connectedness in employees and their workspaces.
And don’t forget to take into account your employees’ specific ergonomic requirements. Your Pinterest vision board may involve a neat row of identical, compact workstations lining the rows of your office, however, be mindful of the special needs of your team, for some employees may need adjustments to suit their size or to accommodate any mobility issues.
A properly fitted work station allows for the “width clearance of legs and feet.” Having a work station that is adjusted for proper ergonomics frees up one’s mind to concentrate and focus on the work at hand, allowing creativity to sprout and take form.
The chair is probably the first element that comes to mind when pondering ergonomic furniture. Desk and chair fit together like hand in glove, and when combined with the computer, complete the “Ergonomic Triangle” necessary for good posture. In order to create the proper configuration, a suitable ergonomic chair provides lumbar support, offers adjustable height, and wheels for easy repositioning. Arm rests that can be raised and lowered facilitate the perfect 90-degree angle between torso and arms. Feet should also be flat on the floor, with a stool provided if there is space between the feet and the floor.
Correct floor selection not only ties the office design elements together, but it also brings comfort. Just as dancers know the value of a sprung floor for shock absorption, an ergonomic office floor—whether carpeted, wood, or tile, should be equipped with a subfloor or cushion to ease the joints. This is especially relevant in offices with workers who have standing desks or who stand as a function of their job.
Lighting isn’t something we are always conscious of, but we certainly notice when it’s bad. Take for example, the draining effects of fluorescent lights, which sometimes feel like they are draining the life out of you, not to mention making everyone look bleary-eyed and exhausted. The Office’s “Dunder Mifflin” certainly comes to mind! But I digress…
It’s also best to avoid a heavily incandescent (warm-toned) light, which resembles candlelight and can invoke sleepiness. Yes, a neutral “daylight” bulb is often regarded most successful in providing a clean, inspiring light. Happily, many LED options are available today which provide for a more soothing and flattering source of illumination, while still being cost-effective.
To avoid eye strain, experts suggest that workers look away from their screens about every 10–20 minutes.
Most of us prefer to travel light these days, and there’s no denying the benefits of mobility and the freedom of pulling out our tablets or laptops whenever inspiration strikes. A lighter load means a happier back! But when you settle in to do a few hours of dedicated work, are you satisfied with the small, albeit brightly-lit and graphically impressive laptop screen? Or are you hunching over to read the reduced pitch size at a compromised sight line? Straining one’s eyes can lead to longer term visual issues, and even a minor slouch can cause neck and back strain…and visits to the chiropractor or dependence on over-the-counter painkillers.
Consider making the extra step to connect to an external monitor positioned at eye level, thereby giving your eyes, neck, and back a much-needed break.
In today’s world, smart phones seem to keep business moving 24/7. And we’re all too familiar with that feeling of panic when we think we’ve lost ours. But for those who spend the majority of their day dedicated to their desk phone—receptionists, salespersons, and dealmakers—a headset or speakerphone (for those in offices) are invaluable for a couple of reasons: saving a crick in your neck and allowing you to multitask while on the phone.
Air Quality and Temperature
Air: Another unsung hero! The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) define air treatment engineering as “the removal of air contaminants and/or the control of room temperature and humidity.” OSHA recommends temperature control in the range of 68-76° F and humidity control in the range of 20%-60%.
So, although it’s hard for everyone in the office to agree on that exact sweet spot when it comes to temperature, it’s beneficial to keep it in this range, which suits most of us and is also shown to increase alertness and productivity.
Investing in a functioning HVAC system or a few air purifiers around the office will keep everyone’s lungs happy and will optimize breathing and minimize symptoms of allergies in the office.
Office Interior Design
Last, but not least, you can jazz things up with some style! Give your surroundings a color pop and mix up some textures with contrasting upholstery, tile, and carpet. Vibrance creates vibrance. Creating a visually appealing workspace will invigorate and inspire employees to increase creativity and productivity!
Come visit D2 Office Furniture + Design at our Midtown Showroom to see a sampling of our ergonomic office furniture. Our design professionals are well-versed in combining all of these elements together for your customized office design. See what we can do for you!