We have come across an interesting article from the National Research Centre for Working Environment written by Head of Research Andreas Holtermann.
In the article, Andreas debunks the myth that there is one correct working posture when sitting in front of a desk. He explains that far too much time is spent talking about the correct posture and position in the workplace.
Instead, there should be more focus on listening to the body’s sensory system, which tells us what we need. And in this context, the working environment must be designed to allow us to act on the signals our bodies send.
We, at BeneSit, find these points enormously interesting as they challenge many of the dogmas that exist around the good working environment today.
We believe, like Andreas, that it is ideal if the workplace accommodates different working positions – relaxed, active, standing, sitting, varied. This is one of the reasons why we never recommend our customers to use the BeneSit chair all day. Rather, we encourage its use as a complement to another office chair while frequently varying the working posture.
Read more about the BeneSit chair and back pain here.
Do you follow exact “rules” to obtain the correct sitting position or do you listen to your body?
Some people love having a day at the home office, but not everyone. Are you one of those who find it hard to enjoy a working day from home, or perhaps you’re self-employed and find it hard to create structure in your everyday life?
We’ve been inspired by this article and want to share our variation of some of these tips with you below.
REMEMBER YOUR BODY
In the office, we often have access to a variety of ergonomic furniture – most likely a height-adjustable desk and perhaps an ergonomic computer mouse. Not everyone has this luxury at home, so it may require a little creativity to incorporate good seating positions.
But it’s not necessarily about finding one perfect sitting position – perhaps more about finding many different positions to switch between. Stand at the kitchen table, sit on a balancing chair (such as the BeneSit chair), sit on the floor and lean back on the sofa. After all, the best position is the next position!
UTILIZE THE COMMUTE
One advantage of working from home is that you save time on commuting. Instead, spend it on something that will set the scene for a good day’s work.
Examples include going for a walk, preparing a nice lunch, getting some housework done so you can relax after work or reading a good book.
CREATE A SENSORY ENVIRONMENT
Explore which sensory elements make you feel energised, efficient and in a good mood.
Maybe sitting in front of a window so you can look at the sky, the trees and the people on the street will inspire you? Maybe you work best when you hear music or have “white noise” in the background? Maybe you keep your brain active if you move your body at the same time (e.g. by using the BeneSit chair) or maybe you associate a nice and efficient working day with a good freshly brewed cup of coffee?
Would you try some of these tips to create a better day at the home office?
If you were to ask a great number of people how they would define “a chair” the answer would probably be something along the lines of “something you can sit on that has four legs”.
We have a clear association connected to the word “chair” and therefore it is very understandable when people need a minute to figure out that the BeneSit is also a chair – despite it not having four legs.
Developing for the human body
An example of someone who is also rethinking the way we sit is Niels Diffrient. We have been inspired by his TED Talk where he shares his story about how he developed a new office chair based on a fundamental data set – the human body.
He explains how the chair should do as much for office people as humanly and mechanistically possible and that no 20-page manual should be necessary. He says that “…the one thing they don’t need, is a chair that interferes with their main reason for sitting there”.
These points fit perfectly with the BeneSit vision of a good office chair. However, when we express that the chair should do as much for office people as possible, we probably mean it in a different way than Niels Diffrient.
Rather than supporting the person from head to toe and therefore helping the person to avoid engaging the body, we want the chair to support an active way of sitting. We believe that, in the long run, it is more helpful for office people to be supported in incorporating subtle movement in their sitting rather than “taking away” the movement and engagement of their sitting posture.
You can read more about the principles of the BeneSit chair here.
What are your thoughts? Should office chairs “take away” movement or initiate movement?
When discussing work space design, sitting positions and back pain we often think of adults. However, children also spend much of their time sitting down.
Today, we want to share some inspirational points from the article “Children’s behaviour and the design of school furniture” by Knight & Noyes. They explain that furniture is used extensively during childhood, which is a vital period of human physical development. A study even shows that children aged 13-16 were seated for 78.7% of their time in the classroom.
This illustrates the importance of well-designed school furniture. To ensure this we must consider the tasks children carry out at school to be able to identify the functions that are needed from the furniture.
School furniture should support the children’s tasks
The article explains how the school furniture should support the two major tasks of school children; attending to the teacher and writing/drawing at the working surface. Furthermore the furniture should ensure that the children stay in one place (to not distract each other) as well as facilitate learning through a comfortable and stress-free workstation.
Knight & Noyes explain how it is generally accepted that school furniture should be designed to accommodate movement while sitting. They present this as a paradox as they have just established that school furniture also should ensure that children stay in the same place.
We find this “paradox” very interesting and believe that this is exactly what we try to solve with the BeneSit chair. We do agree that school furniture should minimize distracting interactions and accommodate movement, but we do not agree that one excludes the other.
The BeneSit chair creates a workstation which – through small movements – makes the child concentrate for longer and thereby also minimizes the distraction of other children. “Staying in the same place” and “movement” should not be seen as a paradox but rather two coexisting elements which create the basis for great children’s furniture.
Our BeneSit chair in the size Small is primarily developed for children who need higher movement freedom when carrying out seated work. You can read more about the BeneSit chair here.
At BeneSit, we often talk about functionality and aesthetics. It is an important priority for us that these two elements are integrated in our product.
According to this article published by Cambridge University Press, functionality refers to the performance of a product, while aesthetics represents the visual and ergonomic appeals of the product.
In our opinion, it is difficult – if not impossible – to create a successful product where only one of these elements is present. They must therefore coexist to meet both the practical and visual needs of the user.
The BeneSit chair has been designed with a starting point in functionality and through its simple construction and the few selected materials, the aesthetic is created. We believe that the two elements support each other, creating a better product overall.
What role do you think functionality and aesthetics play in the development of a product?
Studies show that just a little movement during the working day has great benefits. This is both in regards to avoiding lifestyle diseases such as cardiovascular disease, but also shoulder, back and neck pain.
There can be many reasons for not incorporating movement into the working day. Therefore, we encourage you to think about how movement can be incorporated in a way that does not “work against” your daily tasks. Perhaps it can even improve the quality of work, support creativity and boost energy?
Here are some ideas for bringing movement into the working day.
Plan an internal meeting with a colleague as a “walk and talk”. Often, seeing something else than the four walls of the meeting room while talking can bring new ideas and perspectives.
Use the adjustable table to vary your sitting position. Stand up and sit down – preferably on different chairs.
Finish your lunch break with a walk around the building. It brings you fresh air and aids digestion.
Use the BeneSit chair to activate your back muscles while sitting. The rounded bottom keeps you moving, even though the movements are barely visible. Read more here
Get in a few extra steps by using a toilet that’s a little further away.
Do a few stretches while waiting at the coffee machine. Even a few neck rolls also makes a difference
How do you incorporate movement into your workday in a way that also benefits your work?
Today we will share a little story from a visit to a BeneSit customer. We find it very inspiring to learn how our customers use the BeneSit chair and how they create an active everyday life despite having a sedentary job.
This customer has a strong focus on staying active during the day. In general, his sedentary work contradicts his desire for a playful and active everyday life, but he has developed four different working positions or “strategies” to maintain a healthy and strong body. The customer works as a teacher and the choice of “strategy” depends on the type of work he has to do.
The client uses his spinning bike when his work primarily consists of listening. The bike is stored under the height-adjustable table in the home office for easy access.
The regular office chair is used when he has student exams. This helps to create a calm and professional atmosphere.
The BeneSit chair is used when the customer works on the computer and during meetings with his colleagues. In these situations, he also switches it up by standing up once in a while.
The customer explains that he is happy to have the BeneSit chair in his everyday home office and even uses it in the kitchen when the working day is over (as shown in the picture).
We hope you found it interesting to hear about this customer’s everyday life and perhaps even got inspired to create a more active everyday life yourself. You can read more about the BeneSit chairs here.
Several times we have had interesting conversations with customers about our choice to design the BeneSit chair in four fixed heights rather than having one adjustable chair.
Of course, an adjustable chair can have many advantages, as one chair can be adapted to users with a large height difference.
However, there are several reasons why we have chosen the fixed heights of the BeneSit chairs, and we want to share them with you here.
When is the “correct” sitting position achieved?
During the development of the BeneSit chair, we were in close dialogue with talented occupational therapist Mette Boye. It quickly became clear that the correct sitting position is achieved by having more than 90 degrees between the upper body and the thighs. This meant that the correct chair height for one person would be a range rather than one specific height. In addition, we found two chair heights (which we now call M and L) that would be ideal for about 85-90% of the population. Later, we decided to introduce heights S and XL to ensure that we accommodate people of all heights.
Weight of the chair
A clear advantage of having fixed heights is to avoid heavy mechanical parts in the construction of the chair. This means that we use fewer materials, but also that the weight of the chair is only a few kilos, making it easy to move around and use in different scenarios.
The design aspect
In addition, the absence of height-adjustable mechanical parts was a high-priority design decision. This ensures a simple construction and a minimalistic design, which also distinguishes the BeneSit chair from other more traditional office chairs.
We’ve been getting questions lately about how to find the ideal table height. One of the questions came from a customer who had just purchased a BeneSit chair and therefore wanted to adjust the table correctly when using the BeneSit chair.
The Danish Working Environment Authority advises that the table should be adjusted so that the hands are at about elbow height. We can also refer to this video, where physiotherapist Pernille Andersen shares her recommendations for finding the correct table height. She explains that the table should be adjusted so that there is no space under the forearms when using the keyboard or mouse. The arms should be supported by the table and the shoulders should feel relaxed.
The way you set up your desk can vary from person to person, so we can’t provide specific measurements. Please follow the points below and feel free to contact us if you have any questions. You can read more about the BeneSit chair and back pain here.
Hands should be around elbow height
There must be no space under the forearms
The arms must be supported by the table
The shoulders should feel relaxed
Were you aware of how to adjust up your table in an ideal way?
Following on from last week’s blog post on trends in hybrid working and working from home, this week we’ll be delving into the principles of “resimercial” design.
The word “resimercial” combines “residencial” and “commercial” and Work Design Magazine predicts that this concept will increasingly influence the way we design office landscapes and workplaces going forward.
As Work Design Magazine describes here, the concept of “resimercial design” is about incorporating the comforts of the home environment into our work environment. The aim of this is to make the workplace a more comfortable place, which is a key factor in employee well-being and health. People are increasingly becoming the source of companies’ value – so it is important that the workplace supports its employees both mentally and physically.
Specifically, ‘resimercial design’ can be incorporated by using domestic artefacts such as lamps and carpets, adding multi-sensory elements such as plants, music and scents or by incorporating flexible ways of working. Flexibility in the workplace, for example, can be achieved by having flexible meeting spaces and offering employees alternative seating options.
Read more about our customized BeneSit chairs, which are ideal for companies that want to create more flexible working environments and focus more on employee well-being.
What would you implement in your company to create a more homey atmosphere?