34 NOVEMBER 2019
STAND AND DELIVER
Providing computer users with flexibility over
monitor positioning is another way to maintain
operator comfort. Because we tend to look
downward naturally at -15 degrees, our eye line
should meet the top two-thirds of the screen,
and the device should be positioned about an
arm’s reach from the body. Multiple monitor
set-ups are challenging from an ergonomics
perspective because they impact on body
alignment. Adjustable flat panel monitor arms
can be used to aid with proper positioning
and alignment, and can also help to free up
previously used desk space for writing or
Most o ice environments are drastically
overlit from an ambient perspective, wasting
a tremendous amount of energy – yet are also
underlit from a task perspective. Monitors are
best viewed in dimly lit settings because they
emit light. Documents, however, reflect light
and require light in order to be viewed. This
creates an obvious conflict.
Single-source lighting schemes are not
appropriate for computer workstations. Age is a
factor as well. As we get older, the corneal lens
hardens, and the process of accommodation
becomes progressively more di icult. Focusing
on near field objects becomes increasingly
challenging. By the time an individual reaches
the age of 61, they require at least 250 per cent
more contrast to view the same documents as
they did in their twenties.
To solve this dilemma, many organisations
are employing a dual component lighting
scheme by lowering ambient light levels and
providing users with controllable task lights.
This approach has been shown to significantly
reduce visual symptoms and reduce energy
requirements by up to 40 per cent.
Workstation design changes are o en met
with opposition because it is human nature to
resist change. Improvements should therefore
be accompanied by sound ergonomics training.
Involving employees in the change process has
been shown to significantly reduce injury rates
and associated lost productive time.
Challenging your firm to design highperformance
work environments that
accommodate 95 per cent of the population
will not only improve worker comfort and
reduce costs, but will also preserve the original
design vision of the space. Enhancing the
human experience will di erentiate your firm
from the competition, attracting higher-quality
candidates and improving the engagement of
existing employees, encouraging them to stay.
Are stand-up desks a fad, or a progressive
move towards a healthier workplace?
We need to take our cue from Scandinavia,
says Sarah Booth of Kinnarps Design
You can be pretty sure there’s something to
be said for a ‘healthier’ workplace practice
when the Scandinavians are taking it seriously.
In Sweden sit-stand desks are commonplace
(at Kinnarps’ Stockholm head o ice everyone
has one), and Denmark has recently made it
mandatory for all employers to o er their sta
the option of a sit-stand desk.
However, according to Jeremy Myerson,
professor of design at the Royal College of Art,
there’s something of a perspective problem in
the UK. “There’s a tendency to treat workplace
design as a cost, not an investment,” he says.
Dr John Buckley of the University of
Chester’s Department of Clinical Sciences and
Nutrition was part of a special advisory group
to England’s Chief Medical O icer. He attended
a key meeting in Whitehall to discuss modern
workplace design, where the sedentary nature
of modern o ice life was cited as a key culprit
in the obesity epidemic. Buckley, who now
works at a standing desk, calculated that by
working in this way for three hours a day (with
no additional changes to his job or leisure
activities), he will burn at least an extra 144
calories per day, compared to just sitting at
“If you stand for three hours a day for five
days, that’s around 750 calories burnt. If you
want to put that into activity levels, then that
would be the equivalent of running about 10
marathons a year – just by standing up for
three hours in your day at work,” he explains.
CREATIVITY AND CHOICE
It’s not just that having a desk you can stand
at is better for you physically; it can also
contribute to the success of your business.
Working in a non-conventional way can make
people more productive – a meeting where a
few people are standing up can be concluded
much more quickly than when everyone is sat
around a table relaxing with a co ee. Specific
ways of agile working have been designed
to involve activity in order to help stimulate
Kinnarps’ newly launched Next Gen Project
Rooms have a mix of furniture to encourage
project teams to work dynamically. People can
move from the stand-up desk to the screen
(designed for use by several people while
standing), or perch on a Mr T stool or Boulleé
ball while thinking through ideas, then make
notes sitting at a desk.
Introducing a more activity-based
environment should always primarily be
about o ering people a choice of how and
where they work. The most ergonomic way
of working is variety – it’s the regular moving
about, changing position and walking to
another location that bring the real benefits.
Just as your back might ache if you sit down
all day, so it will if you stand still all the time.
It’s like fitting a bicycle for the first time. You
have to adjust the seat (your chair) to the best
position, then adjust the handlebars (desk).
There’s no point setting your chair to the
optimum ergonomic position if you then have
to alter it to accommodate the desk.
Can you a ord to switch to standing desks?
Well, at £400 a sit-stand desk is around the
same price as a regular desk. When you
consider that it helps your sta to be more
engaged and focused, improves their health
and contributes to the desirability of the
workplace, the real question is: can you a ord