Is Your Office Desk Breaking Your Back?

desk causing back painYour Workspace Should be Pain-free

Many of us work at jobs that require spending a large part of the day in a sedentary position in a chair, in front of a computer. This actually places a lot of stress on our bodies and can even lead to the development of physical pain and ailments. OSHA (The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration) defines working environment ergonomics as: “The Science of fitting workplace conditions and job demands to the capabilities of the working population.” If your desk was set up without any consideration to ergonomics, it may be contributing to — or causing — a range of aches, pains, and even injury.

Dr. Richard Busch of Busch Chiropractic in Fort Wayne, who has treated thousands of patients who suffer with neck and back pain states, “Some of these injuries could have been avoided. Years, even months, of using poor quality office furniture, furniture that has not been set up properly for the user, or bad posture, may lead to early wear and tear, chronic back pain or neck pain including disc degeneration or herniated discs causing back pain and/or neck pain.”

Below are guidelines for workspace use that will reduce physical strain and increase comfort and productivity:

Proper Seating

  • maximize the options of an adjustable chair to find the best fit for you
  • keep a couple of inches between the front of the seat and the back of your knees
  • support your lower back with the chair’s lumbar support or add a small cushion
  • sit reclining slightly away from your desk — a stiff-backed posture is stressful for the spine
  • keep your feet flat on the floor, about hip-width apart, and don’t cross your legs
  • adjust the seat height so that knees are at a 90 degree angle — or lower — from the hips

Upper Body Relaxed

  • the alphabetical part of the keyboard should be centered in front of you
  • with hands on the keyboard, wrists should be in a neutral position or supported by a wrist rest
  • elbows should be at a 90 degree angle when hands are on the keyboard
  • keep the mouse as close to the keyboard as possible
  • use keyboard shortcuts instead of the mouse — when using the mouse move it from your elbow rather than your wrist
  • consider an adjustable keyboard tray attached to your desk for proper wrist and arm positioning
  • keep shoulders relaxed when holding the phone — consider a headset if you are on the phone for long periods
  • don’t crane your neck towards your computer — its weight should be supported by the neck and spine

Limit Eye Strain

  • keep the monitor at arm’s length from your eyes; raise it so that the top of the screen is about eye-level
  • tilt your monitor 10-20 degrees away from you
  • avoid glare on the screen from windows or other light sources
  • give your eyes frequent breaks by looking at a far away objects for a few seconds
  • if you reference paperwork while typing, use an attachable holder to place documents as close to the screen as possible

Get up!

  • take frequent small stretching breaks for hands and fingers, legs and ankles, neck and shoulders — you can even do these while seated
  • throughout the day, take occasional longer breaks to move your whole body — stand, stretch, walk, and climb stairs

A note on laptops:

Laptop use at the office is on the rise. Unfortunately, the ergonomics in laptop design are poor — if the screen is at an appropriate height and distance, the keyboard is impossible to use, and vice versa. If you work at a laptop for a significant amount of time, add an external keyboard or monitor so that less stress is placed on your body and eyes. Keep in mind your office chair and desktop height, as described above, for the least stress possible.

Your workspace arrangement may be putting more stress on your body than you realize. The knowledgeable professionals at Workspace Solutions in Fort Wayne can help you identify the best office furniture and designs for a more ergonomic office space and improved work flow. Our goal is to help you work better — more efficiently and more comfortably.

Organizing the Mess on your Desk

organizing deskIt has been said that a messy desk is a sure sign of a creative mind.  While that may be true, a messy desk is also a sign of disorganization, chaos, and stress.  If you find yourself feeling frequently overwhelmed and stressed, the chances are that a good old-fashioned desk cleaning will get  you back on the path to serenity.  Here are a few tips you can use in order to get rid of the mess on your desk  so you can maximize your productivity, efficiency, and even your attitude.

Purge your Papers

If your desk is cluttered with papers, the first and most important step is to go through these papers and find a place for them.  It helps to organize the papers into three different groups; “Current,” “Archives,” and “Recycle.”  If it is an item or project that you are currently working on, file it in the “Current” folder.  If it is a document that you don’t need to have on hand, but still need to keep on record, file it under “Archives.”  And thirdly, if there are papers that you never need to look at again, go ahead and get rid of them!  You will probably be surprised at what you don’t even need anymore.

Many times in a day, I find myself grabbing a sticky note, and jotting down a quick note or phone number.  It never fails, that by the end of the day, my desk is littered with sticky notes.  Rather than your desk becoming an ocean of sticky notes, grab your phone and take a picture of any notes or phone numbers you might need, and then throw the hard copies away!  Chances are, when it comes time to need those notes, you are more likely to have your phone on you anyway.

Rank your Office Supplies in Order of Importance

On every cluttered desk sits an army of unused office supplies.  Your desk should have a certain “hierarchy of needs.” Keep track of which supplies you use most.  If there is an item you use most, keep it in closest proximity, on the side of your dominant hand.

Likewise, if there are any that you hardly ever use; toss those babies back in the supply closet, like it’s the Island of Misfit Toys.

Keep a Wastebasket Nearby

If you have to get up from your desk to throw something away, chances are you probably won’t throw things away as often.  Because of this, simply having a trashcan within arm’s reach can severely diminish mess.

Get Organized With Workspace Solutions

The best defense is a good offense!  And by that I mean, if you don’t have a place for every single item that comes across your desk in a day, those things tend to just stay right there on your desk.

Without a doubt, the most important factor in maintaining an organized workspace is having plenty of storage, and keeping it well organized.  If you lack storage space, give Workspace Solutions a call.  They have a wide variety of storage solutions including under the desk storage systems, lateral files, storage towers, bookcases, large filing cabinets, and more.

Workspace Solutions has been helping people around the Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, South Bend and Warsaw areas get organized for  years.  To find out what we can do for you, give us a call today at (260) 422-8529.  

What’s New in Office Furniture?

What’s new in office furniture?

As time goes on, new ideas in technology and trends continue to develop. The same goes for office furniture.  Quality office furniture manufacturers are always coming up with product lines better than the last in order to improve office planning, design, and productivity.  In order to stay ahead of the curve, here is a quick guide to some new products and lines that can be found at Workspace Solutions.

HON Basyx

At the forefront of American-made office furniture, HON creates quality office furniture that is guaranteed to last. Their contemporary designs and superior workmanship have made them one of the leading office furniture manufacturers in the United States.

New to the HON line of products is the Basyx Collection; a collection of office furniture ranging in items from office chairs to tables and desks.  The idea behind the Basyx collection was to bring the highest quality and most modern look available at the lowest price possible.  The highly reputable HON company has now made high quality office furniture available for those on a budget.  Not only is this the best deal around, but the Basxy collection is guaranteed to bring a sleek, modern look to any contemporary office.

Allsteel’s Gather Collection

When it comes to office furniture, Allsteel is leading the way in its revolutionary designs.  Based in Iowa, Allsteel produces quality, American made office furniture in a new, creative way.  Allsteel’s new product line, the Gather Collection, transcends all other styles of furniture.  Their unique philosophy on the importance of office atmosphere and collaboration is revealed in the Gather Collection.  This line highlights the importance of comfort, while also creating a highly productive work environment.

Product overview image
The unique design of the newScooch chair allows you to literally pull up a chair anywhere you might need it.  It is extremely lightweight and portable, and because of the unique design, there are multiple ways to sit in this chair, allowing for maximum comfort and versatility.

Product overview image

The ingenious design of the Rise seating area  takes group projects to a whole new level.  Literally- the three tiered structure of the Rise allows multiple people to sit and chat, without taking up a whole room.

ABCO’s Z-Series Tables

Another leading office furniture manufacturer, ABCO creates unique product designs that help give modern office spaces a more contemporary, sleek aesthetic.  New from ABCO is the Z-Series; a line of all new tables designed to bring life to any classroom or conference room setting.  The lightweight yet sturdy tables are built on wheels so you can easily take your meeting anywhere you need to be.

ABCO’s philosophy is that office furniture is the basis of productivity and creativity in an office.  If the furniture reflects creativity, employees are more likely to carry that creativity with them in their projects. This philosophy certainly comes through in the Z-Series.

Workspace Solutions Has it All

For these new lines of products, and many more, visit Workspace Solutions.  Not only have we been helping businesses around the Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Warsaw, and South Bend areas furnish their offices, but we also have great office planners and designers on hand to help you maximize creativity and productivity!

Whether you are looking to add a more modern appeal to your waiting room, or you just need to update your space with more modern office furniture, Workspace Solutions can help you bring your business into the 21st century.

WaveWorks by National Captures Your Imagination in Metal

 

Remember metal desks?  Probably not in a good way if you do, but you had to admit, they lasted forever, and were very cost effective.  What if you could combine the durability of metal with a great modern style?  Too late, it’s been done.  Take a look at WaveWorks metal furniture from National Furniture.

National Wave Works from Workspace Solutions photo 1

Let your metal imagination run wild with the flexibility of WaveWorks Metal and the unlimited options of WaveWorks Laminate surfaces to create incredibly durable, beautiful configurations. The blending of woodgrain, solid or patterned laminates with the sleeknessof metal delivers an awesome, enduring aesthetic. Combine all this with National’s extensive seating line, and you now have a single source for sustainable solutions to oblige all your metal desk and storage applications and footprints.

National Wave Works from Workspace Solutions photo 2

Enjoy the long-lasting appeal and ease of ownership of WaveWorks from National. Contact us here at Workspace Solutions to learn more about Wave Works from National, just one of the many hard working, professional lines we carry, sell, and install all over Fort Wayne, Northern Indiana, Central Indiana, and Indianapolis.

Natinal WaveWorks at Workspace Solutons showroom in downtown Fort Wayne, IN

Natinal WaveWorks at Workspace Solutons showroom in downtown Fort Wayne, IN

 

 

Which type of Worker is most likely to Develop Chronic Back Pain from Work?

Which of these two people are most likely to develop chronic back pain later in life?

A. Lumberjack

B. A Secretary in a modern office

The answer, of course, is B.  An office secretary, or business executive, or anyone who spends most of his or her time at work sitting, is far more likely to develop back and neck pain than a physically active worker.

Here are three of the major workplace contributors to back pain:

  • Slouching forward in your chair
  • Holding your telephone between your ear and your shoulder
  • Lack of movement during the work day

So, why are you still just sitting there. Get active now!  Here are some ideas from San Francisco State University’s Dr. Erik Peper

1.)   Support the natural curve of your spine! Office chairs should have lumbar support, a natural forward curve at belly button level. You can also put a pillow or rolled up towel behind your back to achieve this effect.

2.)   Adjust the height of your chair so you can keep your feet flat on the floor and your knees at 90-degree angles. You can also rest your feet on a prop, like a footrest or even a phone book, for extra support. Crossing your legs tightly reduces circulation in your legs and causes varicose veins, which look dark blue on your skin!

3.)   Remove or lower the armrests so your arms are at 90-degree angles. This will encourage you to hold your shoulders low, which your good for your upper back.

4.)   Keep your monitor about an arms length away and at or slightly below eye level. This will encourage you to sit back, instead of lean forward and reduces neck strain.

Stand Up and move around

Sitting (or even standing) in one position for an 8 hour workday can be very hard on your body!

1.)   Take short breaks, once every hour to use the restroom, get a glass of water, walk down the hallway, or just stretch. Sitting for long periods of time will weaken the muscles in your back. Stretching for just 60 seconds will counter the bad effects of long periods of just sitting.

2.)   Research suggests that about half your hours at work should be spent standing up. If you have a sit-stand workstation, alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day.

3.)   Strengthening your core muscles with exercise, such as yoga, pilates or sit-ups works  your stomach as well your back, which naturally improves your posture and reduces pain.

Workspace Solutions in Fort Wayne, IN, has ergonomic chairs, workstations and office desks that can help keep office workers healthy and happy.  Contact us to discuss how we can help your employees avoid the long term health issues that come from sitting all day long at work.

What ideas do you have for keeping active and not just sitting at your desk eight hours every day?

Creating an Office Space for Collaboration with Hon’s new Flock Collaborative Solutions

Everyone today is talking about collaboration, bringing employees together to share and discuss their ideas.  It improves communications, cuts down on paperwork, and helps spark new ideas.  Collaboration is likely to happen anywhere, or not at all, depending on the layout of your work place.  It is more likely to happen if you encourage it with proper office design and layout.  Since collaboration is still a new concept for many, the nations’s top office furniture companies are just starting to offer specific products that they have designed and tested to increase the collaboration process in your office space.

The Hon Company, sold inFort  Wayne and Northern Indiana by Workspace Solutions,  has a new line entirely dedicated to collaboration.  It’s called Flock Collaborative Solutions because the idea is that workers will flock to these areas to share their best ideas.  In the same way as cubicles naturally keep people apart, collaborative areas must lure people into their spaces.  They must also facilitate the needs of the collaborators, or the desired collaboration won’t take place.  Companies like Hon, and office designers like Workspace Solutions, have been carefully studying what type of furnishings and designs not only bring people together, but help them work together to create the desired results.  At the same time, they are aware that such spaces must still fit the décor and decorum of your office.  Many companies have learned that their collaboration area is useful as a recruitment tool, since perspective employees are excited about the prospect of a strong collaborative environment, and are even already experienced these in college.

So the bottom line is, it must function properly, and it must look great, or it just won’t work at all.

With the incredible rate of change driven by technology, it shouldn’t’ be surprising to find our workspaces are changing as well.   Hon’s new Flock Collaborative Solutions, from Workspace Solutions shows how we continue to innovate to keep your work space up to date and running at maximum efficiency.

What if you designed furniture with the goal of keeping just the essential elements of function and form? You’d probably wind up with the Clarity seating series from AllSteel. Nothing extra, just what you need. The result is a chair that adapts to any space you put it into, and any type of work you are doing.

Workspace Solutions is proud to be an AllSteel dealer for Fort Wayne, South Bend, Indianapolis and most of Northern Indiana. AllSteel has been quality, innovative office furniture now for almost one hundred years.

 

When you sit on the Clarity chair, the mesh seat and back adjust immediately to you, providing instant comfort that actually anticipates your posture. Your comfortable at your desk, or anywhere you sit, and no matter which office task you are performing.

Contact us and learn more about the latest in seating, the Clarity Series Chairs from AllSteel and Workspace Solutions.

 

Treadmill Desk the next big thing in Office Furniture?

(Salo LLC/NPR)

First, there was the standing desk, where instead of sitting all day, you worked standing up, a much healthier alternative.  So, it didn’t take long to make the next leap of faith to create the treadmill desk, where you not only stand, but work out while your working.

The creators of the treadmill desks claim that this process actually increases productivity.  It certainly helps you find the time to get in your daily walk, and that should make you a healthier, happier worker for the long run, anyway.

According to NPR, the idea belongs to a Mayo clinic doctor, who believes it’s not only healthy, but also a great way to lose weight, while working.  The Doctor warns people not to jump on and walk eight hours a day to start.  He suggests a half hour on, then a half hour off for three or four days a week to get started.

What would you think if you came to work and found your desk was now a treadmill?

Ideas Flock together with new Flock line from Hon and Workspace Solutions

The current trend in office design encourages people to get up from their desks occasionally, to spend some time together collaborating and creating new concepts.  To make this work w need inviting spaces that welcome employees to work together away from their desks or workstations.  This fall, Hon Office Furniture and Workspace Solutions, your Hon dealer for Fort Wayne, and northern Indiana introduce Flock.  Flock supports collaboration and creates an environment of how people want to work and where they want to work.   Instead of making team members “make do” for group activities, Flock lets you dedicate zones where teamwork comes naturally.  As with all office furniture at Workspace Solutions, Flock from Hon is made for work.  It’s tough, hardworking, yet great loopking office furniture designed to last a long time and get the job done.    Flock by Hon becomes available this fall at Workspace Solutions in Fort Wayne, IN.

Google’s new London Office Offers us a Sneak Peak at the Future

Google has been  a trend setter in style and management over the past several years. So, when Google builds a new office (this time in London), the rest of us check it out to see if there’s any great new ideas we need to borrow, or at least to see what our office might look like in another ten years or so.  If Google’s London office is any clue, we’ll be seeing more padding on the walls, and a continuation of the trend to encourage employees to collaborate and work from many different parts of the office, technology freeing us from being tethered to our desks.

For fun, anyway, take a look at Google’s new London office in this web article by the website, digital trends.  Click here

What Google ideas would you like to see in your office?