We work with a number of clients who have recently undertaken large office moves and have seen first-hand the problems that style over substance can cause. In setting up a new office of course most businesses want to create a look that reflects what they are about. The problem is that designers appear to overlook the practicalities of people working in the spaces they have designed.
Whether it’s the chair or desks that are purchased to create the look and feel, the fact that cannot be overlooked is that your staff have to sit at them and often for long parts of the day. Clearly we are not all designed the same and the clear fact is that as individuals we cannot adapt to an inflexible workspace. The outcome is likely that some of us will start to suffer discomfort that will ultimately develop into pain and problems. Some might already have this problem and unless employers provide an ergonomic workspace then the problems will only get more severe.
We were recently amazed at what desks and chairs a client was advised to install. The desks were far too low for the taller staff in the office and the chairs provided limited ergonomic adjustments. Not long after the new office was opened staff started to raise complaints of problems and management have had to seek our help to undertake DSE assessments and address the issues. Frustratingly if we had been involved earlier, then better ergonomic features could have been built into the project and for limited additional cost these issues could have been managed out.
Our word of caution to anyone considering purchasing desks and chairs in any volume is to get independent expert advice before you sign the purchase order. It appears to us that many of the fit out companies will sell you what makes them the best margins rather than provide a comfortable and adjustable workspace for your staff.