Could work be increasing your risk of chronic disease? 3 proven ways to reduce the risk and be more productive.

You spend hours sitting at your desk, and your back is slowly turning into a pretzel – unless, of course, you look after it by choosing the right chair with lumbar support. By sitting all day, every day, our bodies endure enormous physical, psychological, and repetitive stress which contributes to chronic diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and musculoskeletal disorders. It is important to invest in the correct chair. These are our favourite chairs: the Oxygen Chair, the Metro Chair (designed by a physiotherapist) and the Goliath Heavy Duty Highback Chair. See them all here, including a handy lumbar support cushion: the Fellows I-Spire Series Lumbar Cushion. The question is, why do you need these back-saving options? Based on a study done by JAMA Internal Medicine, adults who sat for more than 8-11 hours a day had a 15% increased risk of dying within three years than those who sat for less than four hours a day! It doesn’t end there: you also need to organise your desk set up to avoid repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome. To set it up properly, check out this excellent guide by the Mayo Clinic. Not only will you sidestep the carpal tunnel syndrome, but you’ll also escape back and neck pain. If you’re willing to try something new, you can also opt for a standing desk and a standing mat.

1. Focusing on ergonomics will protect your health.

Now that we’ve all had to work from home over the last year and a bit, we’ve learnt to appreciate just how vital the right office furniture can be. Trying to work from a couch in your lounge or perched on a kitchen stool is less than ideal – but it’s more than just choosing the right chair and desk. Innovative furniture and product choices help boost productivity and improve ergonomics, employee health and safety, and even the office mood. Here are three proven benefits in choosing the right office furniture and products (for work or home).

2. Smart office choices will upgrade your productivity.

The good news? If you get the first point and ergonomics right, it’s proven to improve productivity from 10 to 15 percent. There are also other smart office investments that will help you work smarter. Start with a second, smaller display (see your options here) – we’ve chosen the LG UHD Monitor for its high resolution and refresh rate. Then, you’ll need a better-designed keyboard to take the stress off your wrists and keep you working pain-free: like the Kensington Ergonomic Keyboard and Mouse Combo. Next, you need somewhere to write your to-do list on – you can use a traditional magnetic whiteboard or upgrade to a fancier multi-touch interactive board.  Due to the rise in voice conferencing (and noisy neighbours and office colleagues), a pair of decent sound-cancelling headphones with a microphone is essential for working smarter. And then, the last option is also the cheapest one – but offers excellent value in keeping you productive: sticky notes. They’re a powerful, cost-effective tool in keeping you on track. One tactic you can also try is allowing employees to add a small personal touch to their workspaces: research shows it can lead to a 17% improvement in productivity!

3. Stocking your office with the right products can improve the mood.

So, we know a few basics are great for office morale, like a well-stocked office canteen or kitchen, along with some free weekly treats and healthy snacks. However, research shows that an investment in office plants and greenery can help improve the mood, health, and air quality in an office. Using the right smell or office fragrance can help too: studies show that scents such as lemon, lavender, and jasmine stimulate brain activity and cause employees to be more productive overall, with lemon being the most stimulating scent, reducing the number of errors by 54%. Then, if you’re willing to bend your office rules, you can invest in a music player, soundbar or radio to provide soft background music – it’s proven to improve both concentration and office morale. Lastly, choosing comfortable office furniture for staff to use in their breaks (like plush couches and chairs) can go a long way in improving office mood.
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