The work environment has gone through numerous changes in the past few years. Multitasking is now the need of the hour. Traditional jobs involving only one primary, forward oriented task are giving way to new approaches to work and a wide variety of task postures and positions. People assume many different positions when they sit at work. Movement while seated is healthy. But people rarely adjust their chairs. Research shows that people assume a wide variety of postures even while performing a single task. Our own observations of seated behaviour in the office identified three distinct modes of sitting at work:
• Forward sitting: used for performing work on the plane of a desk or for interacting with office equipment (People of small stature working at a fixed-height work surface are virtually forced to assume this posture.)
• Slightly reclined sitting: used for conversation, telephoning, keyboarding, and mousing. Research shows that it is a preferred work posture.
• Deeply reclined sitting: used for resting, reading, and, in some cases, keyboarding.
While desk–bound tasks remain the major part of most office jobs, limiting seating design to one or two positions such as an erect computing posture and a talking–on–the–phone, reclining posture discounts the wide variety of positions people assume when engaged in computing and conversing on the phone. It also ignores the wider context of work in which people engage in many other activities and assume a wide variety of postures and positions.
Experts agree that changing positions at work has important benefits for the sitter. Muscle movement serves as a pump to improve blood circulation, movement of the spine nourishes the intervertebral discs, reclining while seated pumps nutrients to
the discs, and continuous movement of joints is therapeutic for joints and ligaments. But if a chair requires its user to adjust it in order to shift into another position, it may have the effect of keeping the sitter undesirably still. Studies of people sitting at work indicate that they tend not to use manual adjustments on their chairs.
Ideally the body should be free to position itself spontaneously, constrained only by gravity. A person seated at work should be able to move freely and unselfconsciously from computer-related tasks to more relaxed or interactive postures. The work chair should follow along, providing optimal support whether the body is in motion or at rest.
The next generation of office seating
Catering to the needs of this challenging modern work environment is a task which Bluue Mango aims to achieve with its humanomic approach in office seating.
‘Humanomics’ is the science that delves into how people function in modern day offices and pushes seating design beyond plain ergonomics. It can be rightly termed as the next level in unparalleled comfort as it considers motion along with the biomechanics of seating postures. Bluue Mango’s state-of-the-art technology synthesized with the humanomic approach, makes chairs that set an entirely new standard which takes care of the needs of modern day office-goers. It not only reduces absenteeism caused by headaches, muscle pains, and other repercussions of traditional seating, but also increases employee morale, by providing a safe and healthy work environment. At Bluue Mango we believe that comfortable employees are happy employees. The ideal features of futuristic office system that form a vision for Bluue Mango designs are.
Futuristic features - Office seating
It's been said that the shape of our spinal columns are as unique as our fingerprints. These include variations in the curvature and length. Our individual spinal length even varies by as much as 2 cm (approx. 0.8") over the course of a day. The seat back plays a critical role in supporting the spine and must adjust to accommodate these differences among people. A very important consideration in seating comfort and injury prevention is the proper design of the lumbar support.
The different levels in performance of the lumbar support are as follows.
• Fixed Support
• Single-Axis Adjustable Support
• Dual-Axis Adjustable Support
• Asymmetric Adjustable Support
The arms represent approximately 10.2% of our total body weight, which can result in considerable exertion in the muscles of the upper back, shoulders, and neck. Static exertions (exertion maintained for extended durations in a fixed posture) dramatically increase the risk of muscle fatigue and are often considered the first threshold to injury. Most people experience fatigue as soreness or discomfort in their muscles. Supporting arm weight reduces the stress on the spine, however, in order to work they must fit. To minimize the potential for contact stress, armrests should be used intermittently while working. It is also preferable that the armrests are adequately padded. Armrests that do not adjust and produce contact stress in the vulnerable areas of the elbow and forearm can increase the risks of injuries to these areas. To meet the size range of users, armrests need a considerable range of adjustability.
Armrest Height - The use of armrests are very effective at reducing the stress to muscles of the upper back, neck and shoulders and is a fundamental requirement for proper fit. There is considerable variation in the resting seated elbow height. The North American standards specify a minimum of approximately 4" of vertical armrest adjustment.
To fit the variations in people size, task requirements and desk layout, front-to-back armrest adjustability is essential. This can be accomplished through front-to-back movement or 360° rotation arm caps. Armrests that do not adjust often bump into the desk edge, resulting in greater reaches, and promote perching posture (sitting on the front edge of the seat pan). This is particularly common for individuals working in corner configurations.
Width and Pivot
To effectively accommodate the variation in the width of user size it is necessary to provide adjustment in armrest width and pivot. These adjustments ensure that individuals of wider girth can sit in the chair without clash from too narrow a setting, and allow smaller, narrow girth individuals to use the armrests. Adjustment in pivot can fine-tune the position for the task at hand. In some cases rotation of a full 360° is desirable, allowing the user to reposition the location of support provided.
Seat Depth Adjustment
Chairs with a fixed seat pan length limit the population that can fit the chair comfortably. Typically a taller person will require more seat pan length and a shorter person will require less. A shorter person sitting on a long seat pan will experience pressure behind the knees, or, if they perch on the edge, will not benefit from the seat back support. A taller person sitting on a short seat pan length will have inadequate support resulting in higher contact pressure under the thighs. Good ergonomic seating incorporates several inches of adjustable seat pan depth. A minimum of 2 inches of adjustability is recommended while 3 inches is preferred.
In some cases individuals may tend to sit on the front edge of the chair. Typically, this is associated with certain task requirements and/or an individual’s adopted sitting habit. Often referred to as “perching” this is a posture that may increase ergonomic risks due to reduced support from the seat back and seat pan. However, the ergonomics of the posture can be enhanced through proper seat pan adjustment. A forward tilt of the seat pan can support this seating style while promoting a healthy spinal posture. By tilting the seat and back forward it provides an alternative sitting posture and relieves lower back pressure.
Movement is healthy. As we recline in our chairs we stimulate blood flow and relieve the pressure on our spine. By reclining our chair only 20° degrees (from 90° to 110°) we can reduce the stress on our spinal discs by approximately 40%. There are different types of seat recline mechanisms and some provide advantages over others. The preferred designs incorporate multiple pivot points integrating the movement of the seat pan and the seat back movement, provide adjustable recline effort as well as lockable settings. Tension control is important so that a chair can be adjusted to accommodate users of different body types and sizes and for different work styles.
The different levels in performance of the seat recline are as follows.
• Single-Point Pivot
• Synchronous Tilt
• 3-Point Pivot
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