Ergonomics and the “Flexible Office”

There’s a new concept in office design which takes a “less is more” approach to the traditional cubicle-farm found in many offices.

The “flexible office” setup does away with high dividing walls and assigned desks. This offers employers a much more affordable and efficient way to organize their offices.

Without clunky cubicle walls, less space is needed per employee. And, as more employees are working from home one or two days a week in this age of telecommuting, fewer desks and computers are needed in the office. These and other factors save companies money and give them more freedom in finding a suitable office location.

The flexible office offers many other unique advantages, as well—more open communication between employees, people working together on projects can sit together to work side by side, etc. But, there are many drawbacks, as well.

Not the least of these are the ergonomic considerations of “first come, first served” desk allotment (called “hotelling”).

The hotelling of computers, desks, and chairs is a superb cost-cutting measure. However, because employees come in all shapes and sizes, it can lead to comfort and safety concerns. If a flexible office needs twenty workstations for twenty employees, chances are there will be twenty of the exact same desk in the office. But, while this may be a very economical solution for the business, those twenty identical desks aren’t going to be ideal for every member of their team.

Employees performing different tasks throughout the day and employees of different heights won’t be able to use the same desks effectively. The repetitive overreaching and uncomfortable sitting postures, among other potential problems, necessitated by one-size-fits-all desks can very quickly lead to worker fatigue and injury, which would in turn lead to lost productivity and lost work time.

However, hotelling can be utilized in the flexible office safely and effectively with the use of ergonomically designed adjustable desks. With adjustable height ergonomic desks, the flexibility of the flexible office reaches a whole new level. Work surface heights can be raised and lowered to accommodate the tallest and shortest of employees with the greatest of ease. With manual, hand crank, or electric height controls, all it takes is a minute or two at the beginning of each workday to give employees ideal comfort at their desks.

These ergonomic considerations can be taken a step further with the use of ergonomic desk accessories. With adjustable keyboard platforms, monitor stands, and the like, workstations in the flexible office can become complete adaptable to the needs of employees, to ensure maximum comfort, efficiency, and productivity.

With ergonomic desks, the flexible office plan can be beneficial for all parties involved. Employers and business owners can save money on floor space and real estate rental costs, and every employee will have access to a comfortable workstation that can be easily and quickly adjusted to meet his or her unique needs. Adjustable ergonomic desks will make any office more flexible and more productive.