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The Employee Workspace is Often the Forgotten Child in Modern Office Design Trends

30 October 2018

Modern office design trends have come a long way in the last 50 years. Now, businesses do more than house basic work functionalities. They now aim to create communities, facilitate collaboration and encourage an environment conducive to teamwork. Thus we have open floor plans, meeting rooms that double as training rooms, interesting social design integrations and more. But why has the employee’s workstation been left out of the modern design equation? It is the one area of office design that has not seen innovation in more than 50 years.

Yes, We Have Interesting Chairs, but It is Not Enough

The biggest modern design contribution to the standard workstation has been the incorporation of the ergonomic chair. This new design element certainly represented an important first step towards improving the posture and health of employees, but unfortunately, it has not been enough. Workers continue to have problems with poor circulation, back problems and other health conditions associated with prolonged sitting. No, ergonomic chairs have not completely solved the problems associated with working long hours at a desk.

The Workstation Problem

Most employees sit at their desk hunched over. They lean on the armrest or sit with their leg propped underneath the other. Sure! It may be comfortable, but the truth is, sitting in this way for hours on end can have negative long-term health implications. Not to mention this poor sitting posture can also cause back pain and energy slumps.

Recent findings from a Princeton University study, show that poor posture and poor workstation design significantly increases the risk of musculoskeletal problems. Prolonged sitting and static posture are also associated with cardiovascular and circulatory disorders, weight gain and lower back problems. Nerve and tendon related disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome and epicondylitis are also factors here. These are some pretty scary health problems, which may not develop until a person reaches middle age or even later, but it is a result of poor posture while sitting at a desk. Ergo, it is a problem workplace designers really do need to address.

We Need Workstations that Offer More

We need workstations that help employees move, get more circulatory movement, improve health and ultimately, enhance work performance. Implementing workstations with adjustable desks where employees can sit or stand can promote comfort and good posture. More importantly, they can improve health. Experts say that being able to adjust the workstation allows for less body exertion, fewer strains and better work heights. These modifications to the average workstation can help prevent fatigue, eye stress, and even enhance performance.

How Can We Get Even More from The Workspace?

Additionally, new workstation accouterments can also promote healthy habits. New technology has brought about the design of the desk bike or under desk bike at the workstation. Yes, it is exercise equipment made for the workstation. The desk bike fits under the workstation allows employees to improve movement and posture while working. It offers enhanced employee performance because it offers the body movement, exercise and improved circulation to legs which are otherwise stationary. This new workstation design implementation can make the job easier, less stressful and prevent mental strain, and also help the employee better focus on the project at hand.

Bottom Line: Experience Enhanced Employee Engagement

When a company makes a real commitment to the health and well-being of employees, even before addressing other design needs, employees take notice. It is this type of innovation that can make a real difference to the health and well-being of employees. This motivates employees to perform better and reach targeted goals more easily. Overall, an improved workstation makes the employee feel valued.