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What is Ergonomics? An Ergonomist and a Chief Ergonomic Officer?

At JasonL we don't take ourselves too seriously. Professional - Yes Service Orientated - Yes But can we laugh at ourselves? absolutely! If you have a close look at our business cards, all staff can define a creative title for their role. Some of the sales / account managers include; hunter, gatherer. Some of the customer service team include, Santa's little helper. Our CEO's cards read Chief Ergonomic Officer, and our CFO's card reads Chief Ergonomist. One thing we do take very serious is Ergonomics, but what is Ergonomics?

Ergonomics according to wikipedia:

In the office furniture industry you will find this term thrown around all day every day like one might talk about the food they have eaten for the day. However not all chairs were created equal. The design and more importantly the mechanism ensures the chair is more or less ergonomic.
  Firstly all office chairs should be ergonomic. If they are not they really should not be sold as office chairs, as the focus of an office chair is to support the user while they work. Thus design should be such that enables the user to sit at the desk with support and comfort. In order to achieve this a chair should contour the body. Thus an economically designed chair should contour the shape of a seated person. However as we know humans were never designed to sit for a long period of time, never mind on a chair at a desk for a very long period of time. Furthermore, people are varying shapes and sizes, hence, the need for different mechanisms evolved to suit movement and user type.

Two main types of mechanisms are now used in most office chairs;

1) Stationery or static mechanisms

2) Synchro or free flow mechanisms

We are going to look at these broad categories in more detail below:

Stationery or static mechanisms

This type of office chair mechanism is such that there will be one or a number of levers that can be manipulated to change the position and angle of the seat and back. This is a 'set and forget' type of mechanism. The benefit with this style of mechanism is that each user can set their office chair perfectly to support their body. The disadvantage with these type of mechanisms is two fold, 1. There are office chairs with minimum levers which will have limited function and thus ergonomic support. 2. No encouragement of blood flow, thus restricting movement.

Synchro or free flow mechanism

Synchro or synchronism movement allows the seat and the back to move together. This type of mechanism encourages blood flow and is thus seen as being more ergonomic. The concept is if the user is sitting on their office chair they can increase the tension in the mechanism to support their weight but still allow movement in the back of the office chair. Typically if a user is sitting on an office chair with this mechanism they would lock the mechanism in place while working and then release the mechanism when done. Automatic tension control is a very new type of mechanism that is now being used in a lot of the new developed office chairs. This mechanism automatically adjust the tension to the weight of the user. Thus achieves the same aspect of the synchro mechanism above without having to manually adjust the tension control. Ergonomics is not just about office chairs but the whole workstation setup too. However we will leave this discussion for another time.

JasonL Team

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