Haworth white papers: working styles are changing, but ergonomic design is stuck in the days of the "cubicle farm" and not evolving quickly enough to support more mobile employees, according to US furniture giant Haworth.
"The very nature of work is changing," says Haworth in its white paper Active Ergonomics for the Emerging Workplace. "Technology has freed people to work anywhere, and a growing proportion of that work is collaborative and social."
"But traditional office ergonomics does not address group work or spaces. These emerging space types are being created with no ergonomic guidance," it warns. "Organisations that fail to apply a 'big picture' approach to office ergonomics are missing the opportunity to provide a safe and high-performing workplace for their employees."
Collaborative work now accounts for as much time in the average office worker's day as individual computer work, according to the white paper ? meaning that employees are more likely to be moving between a variety of formal and informal spaces.
Younger workers in particular expect a wide range of interactions rather than just heads-down desk work, according to Michael O'Neill, Haworth's head of global workplace research, and author of the white paper.
"That change is well established, it's just the thinking around the spaces that is lagging," he said.
Ergonomics is a design discipline that focuses on creating products, processes and environments that physically support the people that use them while working.
Correct posture has been proven to improve productivity as well as worker health
Classic ergonomics concentrates on individual workstations, with the assumption that an employee stays in one place throughout the day.
It focuses on the employee's seated posture at their workstation, with factors including the distance of the screen from their eyes, the position of the hands and wrists over the keyboard and desk, and the height...