Only thirty years ago, “The Computer” was named Machine of the Year. In the early ’80s, companies were struggling to fit the computer into their business model and figuring out how to fit their employees to the computer. Fast forward to today, and conversely, there is an industry — the ergonomics industry — that is responsible for fitting the computer and its workstation components to the employee.
With the nature of technology being such a rapidly changing animal, I’m lucky that I’ve started my career in a time where the principles of ergonomics are directly applied to my individual workstation, which I spend 35% of my waking hours in per week. A very important component of all of that is the ergonomic chair that I sit in every day.
The late, great Niels Diffrient was a pioneer of ergonomic design and his Humanscale Freedom chair has become a staple and a cornerstone in the realm of ergonomic chairs. In a recently re-published interview with Today’s Facility (originally published in October 2002) we came across a quote from Niels Diffrient that we think speaks volumes to what we try to convey to our customers: “It’s easier to buy a good chair than it is to repair somebody’s lower back.”
It may sound like a sales pitch, but Niels wasn’t a chair salesman. He was a designer who was passionate about his work and a proponent of the industry of human factors engineering, or as it is more colloquially referred to as today, ergonomics.
In short, yes Niels, it is much easier to buy a good ergonomic chair, rather than repair someone’s lower back. It’s also much more cost-effective. We get a lot of customers that are directed by their doctor or physical therapist to search for a good ergonomic chair to help alleviate and manage back pain. Not everyone is a candidate for back surgery nor is surgery the answer for everyone. That’s what we are here for.
A good ergonomic chair makes all the difference in the world for someone who experiences back pain, no matter how major or minor, and even for those without back pain. Luckily, today’s society and business leaders recognize that importance. It can mean money saved on potential workplace injuries and it can certainly mean happier and more productive employees.
Of course, putting an ergonomic chair to use as a preventative measure is an even better idea than a last-ditch effort to ease existing pain. While I entered the workforce at a time when office jobs were the norm, thirty years ago,
ergonomics in the office work environment were not as prevalent a practice. Luckily, we’re now more cognizant of the dangers of sitting all day, especially in a chair that doesn’t provide sufficient back support.
You don’t need to have back problems to enjoy the benefits of an ergonomic chair — you only need to be informed enough to realize how important it is to be sitting in a good ergonomic chair.
Keep yourself informed on the latest trends in ergonomics and all the products available through The Human Solution. Use that 1982 Machine of the Year and visit TheHumanSolution.com.