It used to be my kids that introduced me to new words. My son's friends new mobile is 'dope'. Apparently. According to urbandictionary.com this means 'something that is cool'. Which is vastly different to it's meaning when I was at school. Urbandictionary's definition of 'agile' is: 'a generalised term for a group of anti-social behaviors used by office workers to avoid doing any work while simultaneously giving the appearance of being insanely busy.' So I did my own research on agile working, and this included taking a look at co-working office space, which there has been proliferation of in recent years. It seems Urbandictionary's definition was spot on. There's lots of pictures of cool funky interiors, pool tables, even beer being served and consumed, but not a lot of people working. I'm in the wrong job! But what this piece is really about is the need to consider ergonomics for agile workers. Most employers now provide their most valuable asset with at least the basic requirements in seating, monitor stands, footrests etc as necessary in their office. But there seems to be a large vacuum in the correct equipment for those for whom work is an activity, not a place. We now have people working on a laptop at their kitchen table, writing reports sitting on a train, and making casual use of co-worker office space as they need it. Laptops, notebooks, call them what you will are a convenience tool, designed to be used for brief tasks that can't wait until you get back to the office. But the office is disappearing, and with them the correct ergonomics we all need to work pain free. If you're using a laptop for long periods, adapt them to work for you. Or at least, not working against you. Your head weighs approximately 5 kilos, and the small muscles in your neck and shoulder just don't have it in them to hold that weight for long. Ensure it stays on top of your shoulders, where it was designed to be. Make sure your seated at a desk, avoid working in the car. Take it into McDonalds if you must (other temporary desk/coffee facilities are available). Use a portable laptop stand. Ergonomic Cafe have a terrific range of stands that fold as flat as the brochure for your next company car and weigh less than a match box. Use a separate keyboard. If your using co-working spaces consider what you really need from one. There'll be a pub nearby; an adjustable monitor arm and a quality chair at the desk your paying for will provide far greater benefit while you work than a pool table.
Just served a customer who bought a chair a while back from a shop that doesn't specialise in chairs. She's been in so much pain ever since she was really concerned there was some serious damage. The pain was so bad it took her a while to realise the chair was the cause. How could it be? She's been using chairs all her life, they've never hurt before, this one was shaped like a chair. There was nothing right about her purchase. It wasn't suitable for her workstation, and it didn't fit her, the ensuing pain was inevitable. The seat base was too deep for her so circulation was restricted at her knees, and her back wasn't being supported at all. The opening at the base of her desk wasn't wide enough to get the chair base into so she was having to reach forward to read and type. There's probably nothing inherently wrong with the chair, but whoever sold it took no time to understand what it was being used for or the limitations of where it was going to be. Taking time to understand the client, and her workstation it was clear to me that a 'traditional' seat wasn't right for her. We had 3 products that would have worked, but by taking our time and assessing all the parameters she walked away the proud owner of a Salli Swing. It fits under her desk, her posture is terrific and her pain has gone. We spend a lot of time sitting down, and investing in the right chair for the job will promote the health and well being of the user, and can make the difference between a full productive day, or a week off in bed with back pain. The cost? Less than a weeks wages. Don't suffer on the wrong chair, it's not necessary and it's not worth it.
Maybe you do! I served three customers today, and not one of them needed a new one. Good chairs can be deceptively complex. The Hag Sofi is an elegant chair. It's controls have been beautifully incorporated into the chair, so much so, that this owner didn't realise it had a seat slide. It was bought for the husband, his wife thought it was too big for her. Of course I would have loved to have sold her another chair, they were prepared to buy one, but this customer simply did not need one, and after a little instruction, they were on their way. Then we had a customer who had a very old RH Logic 4. This chair was launched 34 years ago, and it broke. It had exceeded it's warranty by up to 24 years so again, the owner was prepared to purchase a replacement. But he didn't really want to, and all these years later, he's still reaping the rewards of a wise choice. RH still have the parts, I fitted them, and again, on his merry way the customer went. The last visitor had a genuine warranty claim. Fortunately he'd bought the chair from a proper shop (as opposed to an online one, or worse still a foreign one), the supplier sent the replacement part overnight, and I was able to fit it while he enjoyed a cup of tea. So, an oddly rewarding day in which I made all my customers happy, proved that investing in good product pays back over time, and is infinitely better for the environment.
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