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Sitting ergonomically to improve health and productivity

As a recent health study has shown, people who sit less and move more lead longer, healthier lives.

Right now, are you sitting or standing? Needless to say, many jobs involve being seated – there’s often no way round that. This means there’s little time left over for physical activity – and this can result in backache. A report on the state of well-being in Germany published in 2023 clearly shows that we need to change our way of thinking. According to this study of living habits in Germany conducted by health insurance company Deutsche Krankenversicherung (DKV) and German Sport University Cologne, German people are spending more and more of their time sitting down. One of the report’s findings that is of particular concern is that the amount of time people spend seated each day is constantly rising. On working days, people now spend an average of 9.2 hours sitting down, which is half an hour more than in 2021. In 2015, the equivalent figure was just 7.5 hours a day.

Sitting for excessive periods of time has a serious impact on our health, increasing our risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes, as confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO). What’s more, when we sit in the wrong posture, this puts a strain on our body that quickly makes itself felt and can subsequently lead to persistent pain. If, during breaks and after work, we can fit in just 15 minutes of physical activity each day, this has a beneficial physical effect. But what about in the workplace itself? This is where ergonomics comes into play. Thanks to a combination of ergonomic workplace design and sitting ergonomically, you can prevent this particular type of physical strain. What’s more, this also boosts productivity. These principles do not only apply to office work – in fact, when it comes to manual assembly, they are more important than ever. Our item Work Bench System is suitable for both assembly and office work. We can also help by providing you with essential information and tips for your everyday work.

Ergonomics study for industry

This study shows which ergonomic measures are already being used in manual production. Find out more and see how you compare – how much progress has your company made?

Sitting correctly and working ergonomically – how to ensure you are sitting in the right position

In terms of occupational health, sitting ergonomically is an absolute must. Sitting in the same position for hours on end quickly leads to strain and tension. If nothing is done to combat this, chronic pain may develop as a result. However, employees who are able to work in a healthy, strain-free manner are more accurate and more productive. Ergonomics is key – especially when it comes to manual assembly, where workers have to repeat the same movements over and over. An ergonomic chair from the item Work Bench System not only supports a healthy posture, but also encourages dynamic sitting. In other words, the right type of chair lets employees change their position and posture frequently, so that one side of the body isn’t overworked and specific muscle groups aren’t put under excessive strain. This is where we see the interplay of environmental and behavioural ergonomics. Environmental ergonomics is all about the ergonomic design of our working environment. This also includes use of a suitable chair. Behavioural ergonomics is about acting in line with ergonomic principles. So if, for example, you use an ergonomic chair, that’s a good start. However, you will only benefit from the chair’s full potential if you also sit ergonomically and dynamically.

A seat that moves synchronously and can be tilted forwards slightly and rotated is particularly important. The backrest should also be adjustable so that you can alter the tension control for your lower back, for example.

If you need an ergonomic chair, there are various features you should look for. A seat that moves synchronously and can be tilted forwards slightly and rotated is particularly important. The backrest should also be adjustable so that you can alter the tension control for your lower back, for example. These adjustment options mean that all employees can find their ideal sitting position and adopt a healthy posture. This specifically protects the back. The backrest and other components can be adjusted at any time. Ideally, the chair should be designed in such a way that you can use any of the adjustment options intuitively. Chairs for industrial use should have braking castors, and counter chairs with elevated seats must have castors that lock in position when under load. This technology reduces the risk of occupational accidents without compromising on mobility. Other crucial features of a high-quality industrial chair include easy-to-clean, durable upholstery that is not damaged by lubricants or cleaning agents.

Sitting ergonomically – chair, sitting dynamically and switching between sitting and standing
From using a suitable chair and sitting dynamically to switching between sitting and standing – sitting ergonomically covers a whole range of aspects.

Posture is not all that matters – switching between sitting and standing

By switching regularly between sitting and standing, we can ensure the entire upper body moves more.  This not only improves circulation, but boosts concentration, too. The item Work Bench System is ideal for this, since all the components are designed to ensure you can configure flexible and ergonomic work benches for manual production. This is currently the only industrial work bench system to have been given the seal of approval from the Campaign for Healthy Backs (AGR). Our height-adjustable work benches make it really easy for you to switch between sitting and standing. This plays a key part in helping you avoid strain and chronic problems. In particular, electric height adjustment makes it easier for you to switch between different working heights. What’s more, our electrically height-adjustable work benches come with an intelligent memory, meaning that staff can save their personal settings and call them up again with ease. All in all, these work benches are ideal for ensuring a smooth transition from one shift to the next.

As you have seen, sitting down exposes people to a wide range of health risks.  However, it is not only employees’ health that is jeopardised by poor posture and awkward sitting positions – a company’s productivity can also suffer. When you take account of the aspects outlined above, the result is a true win-win situation. Sitting correctly has a direct impact on our sense of well-being and, consequently, on our performance. Our ergonomics infographic shows you how to sit ergonomically in the correct position. We even give you the correct angles. For example, the angle between your upper and lower leg should be at least 90° to prevent circulatory problems. By following our tips and ensuring regular movement, you will improve your health step by step.

More information about ergonomic work benches

Sitting ergonomically is an important element of ergonomics in industry. However, alongside your sitting position and choice of chair, there are many more aspects you should bear in mind. These include material supply, tool stowage and lighting, for example. You will find information and practical tips about these topics and more on the item blog:

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