Even the most innovative companies with the biggest budgets hiring the “best” interior designers make some terrible clangers when trying to create ideal office fit outs.
Here are three of the more common errors:
Make it fair
Remember when you were seven and your big sister got more chips than you? It wasn’t fair was it!? Neither is it fair that the people on level 9 have slick new electronic controlled sit to stand work stations and you don’t.
When you asked for one the manager simply plonked a dreaded Varidesk on your lap and walked away saying job done. Job not done manager. Naughty manager.
John to your right got a new electronic desk AND a nice new chair though didn’t he. Just because he had a letter from an Osteo saying he has an L4/5 disc thing. Grrrr…
Lesson: Even though we’re are all adults now, the sense of fair runs deep in our veins. Be consistent and do it right for everyone.
Agile work environments with screens that are a hazard to move
So you’ve moved to hot desking, but the screens are really hard to move requiring an act of Houdini type force and precision to get the darn… screen…. higher….. argh! You give up and just look down slightly all day.
Lesson 1: Test the usability of your monitors before you commit to buying them for everyone.
Lesson 2: If you make a mistake, admit it, cop the extra expense and get some nice easy to move monitor arms – there are plenty of good ones on the market.
The chair seat pans are too big
What? A chair is a chair I hear you say. Let me give you a direct quote from a senior manager at a workplace recently who when asked if she’d like an Ergo review promptly glared at me and said:
“It’s a chair…. (pause for effect)… I sit in it…. (pause for more effect)…So it’s doing it’s job…. (pause for even more dramatic effect)…
…. No thanks!”
Sorry I asked.
Seat pan depth is the measure of the distance from where your tail bone sits to the front of the seat pan. The average ideal depth is around 46 cm.
Who cares right? Well, your body does.
Having a seat pan that is too small for you is not the end of the world. You are missing out on small amount of extra support for your back, but you are likely not to be massively affected unless it’s so shallow that you have to tense your muscles to be stable.
However, having a seat pan that is too big is a problem. It’s one of the many reasons why we commonly see shorter office workers perched on the edge of their seat with little or no back support.
Many times I have seen companies make the error of not considering this and plonking everyone on big deep seat pans – sometimes 50-52 cm. Workcover claims here we come.
Lesson 1: Err on the side of chairs with smaller seat pans and organise deeper ones for those that need them., or better still get adjustable seat pans.
Lesson 2: If you get adjustable seat pans, ensure everyone is shown how to do this!
Morale of the story: If you’re gonna do it – do it right!
In my experience it’s not that organisations are trying to do it on the cheap; they just don’t know any better so hire a company with a good name who promptly have the place looking swish, but fluff up the Ergonomics big time.
If doing an office fit out or upgrade on your desks, chairs, etc. be sure to hire us for a few hours for a quick check to ensure the company with the big reputation gets the small things right.
Have a healthy and productive day