“THE HUMAN BODY IS AN ANATOMICAL MIRACLE. AND THE BETTER WE TAKE CARE OF OUR BODIES, THE BETTER WE PERFORM. THAT IS AS TRUE WHEN IT COMES TO SPORTING ACTIVITIES AS IT IS FOR WHEN WE ARE CARRYING OUT WHAT WE MIGHT ASSUME ARE THE MOST ROUTINE OF TASKS, SUCH AS SITTING. WHEN WE SIT IN A CHAIR THAT TAKES INTO ACCOUNT OUR BODY’S NATURAL EASE OF MOVEMENT, WE BREATHE BETTER. WHEN WE BREATHE BETTER, IT’S EASIER FOR US TO CONCENTRATE AND WE PERFORM BETTER.”
RH Chairs, Scandinavian Business Seating
RECENTLY, SCANDINAVIAN BUSINESS SEATING COOPERATED WITH ANNA-LISA OSVALDER, PROFESSOR OF PRODUCT AND PRODUCTION DEVELOPMENT – DESIGN AND HUMAN FACTORS, CHALMERS UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY IN GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN, TO LEAD A SCIENTIFIC STUDY INTO THE EFFECT OF THE RH LOGIC 400 CHAIR ON OFFICE WORKER’S HEALTH AND PERFORMANCE.
The study saw a group of 48 full-time office computer workers from two different companies participate in a five week trial of the RH Logic 400 chair, sitting in it every day for the entirety of the time they were required to be at their desks. Each week, participants filled out an extensive questionnaire during which they would answer questions based on how they felt the chair was influencing their work. Another 36 people participated as a control group for the study.
The study is important in providing proof that the right task chair can increase productivity and lower absence costs. Many companies are reluctant to move away from the simple office chairs that they currently provide to staff simply because they cost a little extra. However, when we consider the loss of productivity and the amount of paid absence leave that results from pain and or injury at work – particularly musculoskeletal disorders – the “extra” cost, is not really extra at all.
A study undertaken by the Fit For Work Coalition UK, “Taking the Strain: The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Work and Home Life” found that of the 809 people that took part in the study (all of who have MSDs), there was an average of a 43.9% loss of productivityper person. Of those in the study who were not in work, 57.4% had been the primary earner for the household and two thirds of the households are now dependent on welfare. Just under 60% of the study group said that they feel MSDs stop them from reaching their full potential at work.
Along with this information and the fact that MSDs are the leading cause for sickness absence in the UK, it is easy to see why spending a little extra on a chair – many of which, including the RH Logic 400, are generally repairable and more durable than their cheaper counterparts – will not actually impact on a business as much as ignoring the issue of ergonomics will.
The RH Logic 400 is an ergonomically designed chair, specifically created for use in any environment where productivity stemming from employee well being is key to success. The chair is one of the most environmentally sound in it’s class and still manages to feature a number of controls for individual adjustments offering a variety of possible sitting postures.
During the study, half of the participants reported that they felt neck and shoulder strain had reduced within the first few weeks of the study – after five weeks the perceived strain was lessened by 20-25% for necks and 10-15% for shoulders. Participants who had reportedlong-term problems with their necks/shoulders said their symptoms were reduced by 30-40% over the study period.
Lower back pain can be a problem for those who sit with legs crossed or do not have the correct lumbar support on their chairs. The RH Logic 400 has a generous lumbar support with the height of the backrest being easily adjustable, while the tapered design and “tredts” cushion still allows the user’s body to move freely. In the study, over 30% said they felt that lower back pain – particularly in the right side of the body – had reduced. This was supported by half of the participants reporting a general comfort increase of 20%, while a third graded the increase at 30%.
More than 70% of those who took part in the study reported that they felt the RH Logic 400 had impacted on their working situation positively, almost 75% felt that their working technique had improved and a third said that their performance had increased while time pressure decreased.
It is important to remember that MSDs are not the only issues caused by a lack of ergonomics and even if no physical injury or illness is caused through improper posture and seated positions, it is vital to realise that comfort and discomfort are not mutually exclusive.
“Discomfort is associated with biomechanical factors (joint angles, muscle contractions, pressure distribution) that produce feelings of pain, soreness, numbness, stiffness and so on…eliminating physical constraints can reduce discomfort , but this does not necessarily produce comfort…
Comfort is associated with feelings of relaxation and well-being…The absence of these feelings will not lead to discomfort because adverse biomechanical conditions are necessary for this”
L.Zhang, M. Helander, & C. Drury (1996) “Identifying Factors of Comfort and Discomfort in Sitting.” Human Factors. Volume: 38. Issue: 3. pg 377-389
This is where the RH Logic 400 comes into it’s own, with a design that goes beyond what is required to simply cease discomfort and focuses on factors to create and increase comfort. The seat, which is available in two sizes, includes a layer of wool which provides increased ventilation, making it cooler than conventional pads; a waterfall seat edge to reduce pressure to the underside of the thighs, improving circulation and optional armrests with adjustable height and depth which are recommended for providing relief for shoulders. These are amongst many other features that make the RH Logic 400 an exceptional task chair.
To see the whole study carried out by Anna-Lisa Osvalder, alongside Professor Anders Colmsjö, at Stockholm University and Susanne Hedin from “Ergonomhuset”, follow the links below.
Chalmers study RH Logic 400 White Paper – Shortened summary of the study
ChalmersUK – Infographic regarding findings of the study
RH Logic 400 report Chalmers – Full, detailed report on the study