The Importance of Sleep – Productivity Series | Innovative Office Solutions

A crucial component of stellar productivity is proper sleeping habits.  In this second installment of our Productivity Series – we focus on Sleep.   

Sleep is one of the most important, yet under appreciated, keys to productivity.  By not focusing on this essential part of our daily lives – we are only doing further damage to our productivity – and health – as a whole.

According to the CDC, 35 percent of Americans report regularly getting less than the recommended amount 7-8 hours of sleep per night.  Arianna Huffington, of The Huffington Post, preaches the importance of sleep herself.  By not getting proper sleep, not only are you damaging your body for the long and short term, but your output at work as well.

Harvard suggests that “sleep deprivation was a significant factor in the 1979 nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, as well as the 1986 nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl.”

Accidents due to sleep deprivation can also be attributed to events on a less disastrous level.  According to the Institutes of Medicine, “over one million injuries and between 50,000 and 100,000 deaths each year result from preventable medical errors, and many of these may be the result of insufficient sleep.  Doctors, especially newly graduated interns, are often expected to work continuous shifts of 24 to 36 hours with little or no opportunity for sleep.”  A decrease in productivity due to sleep-related issues not only effects an employee’s workload output, but can also cost companies thousands – even millions.

According to a study published in 2010, within the data taken from participants, $54 million roughly $1,967 per employee within this study could be expect to be lost annually.  Estimated costs linked to productivity decreases ranged from $1,293 to $3,296

Like any employee or business owner you are now most likely thinking, “I wonder how much money we’re losing due to sleep deprivation?”  Unfortunately, we don’t have an answer for you.

However, we do have a few ideas on how to encourage proper sleeping habits throughout your office – ultimately leading to increased productivity.

Increased Workplace Flexibility

  • Allowing more flexible start and end times may help contribute to positive lifestyle behaviors.  Their are many benefits to a more flexible work schedule other than increased sleeping patterns and productivity,  but those two are essential reasons to start incorporating a more flexible work schedule.

Workplace Education Programs

  • Educate employees on the importance of proper sleeping habits, and how they can improve life both at home – and at the office.  Make it clear that occasional sleep loss and fatigue are expected, but teach employees on how to safely and effectively function while “running on empty”.  Topics such as regular exercise, proper nutrition, and manageable workloads could all be covered in depth as they are a few important elements when looking to improve sleeping habits.

 

Getting more sleep is often times easier said than done.  However,  as long as you’re more conscious of how important proper sleeping habits are, the more likely you are to change your current habits.  There are plenty of reasons to get into a better sleep routine – saving your employer thousands, increasing workplace safety, and keeping your sanity – that it is up to you to put the proper actions in place.

 

 

 

Dry Erase Surfaces – An Easy Whiteboard Solution | Innovative Office Solutions

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.57.54 AM

Dry-Erase boards are practically indispensable.  For meetings, brainstorming sessions, or just doodling – they are useful in more ways than one.  Sadly, they only have so much life to them before they start to look stained.  Until now.  With their innovation, 3M has yet again saved the day.

Take The Nerdery, for example.  An interactive software development company who’s culture thrives on collaboration, The Nerdery continually puts their whiteboards to the test.  “We are a huge whiteboard culture,” says Nerdery sales director Alan Kramer.  Because of that culture, The Nerdery needed to upgrade their white boards situation as their older whiteboards just weren’t cutting it.

“Just about every square inch of the perimeter is white board,” says the Jason, facilities manager at The Nerdery.  “We have some portable whiteboard walls that we’ve had for a long time that we’re considering getting ride of because they’re ghosted out – and now we can just resurface them.”

“We’ve resurfaced a meeting table that had a big scratch in it and we were ready to throw it out – and now its a whiteboard table.”

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.05.15 AM

The act of actually installing dry-erase boarding material or resurfacing older white boards isn’t as daunting a task as it may seem.  “The process of installing it was way easier than I thought it was going to be.  It was very smooth; it went on there perfect,” says Alex, an interactive program manager at The Nerdery.

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.58.30 AM

 

The Post-It® Dry Erase Surface goes on in 3 easy steps:

  • Can be cut to fit custom surfaces or existing boards
  • Peel-and-stick construction sticks securely and removes cleanly
  • 3M’s stain-proof material cleanly erases after every use

See for yourself the in the video below what these new surfaces from 3M can bring to your business.  And if you think your business could use some new whiteboards – or dry-erase surfaces – visit our Innovative Office Solutions website or contact Customer Care 952.808.9900 for more info!

 

Turning Recycled Water Bottles Into…Pens? | Innovative Office Solutions

Yes – you read that correctly.  Pilot, your favorite pen company, is literally breaking the mold on writing utensil creation.  Read on to check out their awesome new project!

Bottle 2 Pen

Pilot’s product, Bottle-2-Pen (B2P), is the world’s first pen made from recycled bottles.

Approximately 2.5 million plastic bottles enter landfills every hour in the United States, and make-up close to 50% of all recyclable waste.

The B2P gel ink pens are made from 89% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.  As to be expected from Pilot, the B2P pens write smoothly, have vibrant inks and are 100% refillable.

  • The world”s first pen made from recycled bottles!
  • Made from 89% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles
  • Vibrant G2 gel ink for smooth effortless writing
  • Retractable and Refillable with G2 refills

Write the next chapter for a cleaner planet with B2P!

For more information – and to learn how to support this innovative and responsible product – contact contact Innovative Office Solutions Customer Care 952.808.9900 for more info!

Creative Ways to Stay Healthy In Your Workplace!

Don’t let the fear of getting sweaty keep you from staying active in your workplace! Innovative Office Solutions has a fantastic wellness committee that focuses on the health and well-being of their employees. The committee is continuously brainstorming creative ways to stay healthy in the office. It is extremely important to take care of yourself, and can often be forgotten during the busy workday. What does your company engage in to stay active and healthy in the workplace?

 

Here are some innovative ideas that may spark the interest of your company!

  • Turn your conference room into a Yoga Studio
    • Conference rooms aren’t just for meetings; utilize the space – move the tables and chairs to open the room for engaging activities.
    • Every Monday, Innovative employees take 30 minutes out of their day to focus on themselves and get a nice stretch/muscle burn before heading back to their busy workday. Clear the mind = More productive workday

 

photo

 

Piyo

  • Workout In The Park
    • If you have an open area near your office, what better way to get fresh air while simultaneously working out with               co-workers?
    • During the warmer months, Innovative utilizes an open area across the street to stay active!

working out outside

 

  • Office Energizers
    • When two 0’clock rolls around it’s about the time for a 3rd…4th….5th cup of coffee; why not replace it with 15 minutes  of physical activity you can do…even in your business suit!
    • Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, Innovative provides their employees with a trainer from Ultimate Wellness to lead a 15 minute office energizer. Exercises range from core focus, flexibility (ROM) and balance to strength and cardio.

 

  • Company challenges
    • Even if workouts may not be for everyone, come up with fun rewarding company challenges that can bring out the fun competitive edge in everyone.
    • Innovative participated in a “Walk to Vegas Wellness Challenge” in which 81 employees teamed up and tracked their steps weekly. The goal – As a team, walk from Burnsville, MN to Las Vegas, NV in 12 weeks. Each team had to walk 15,039 miles for the privilege of partying #Vegasstyle. Amazingly, the company as a whole walked 36,667.882 miles! If you were wondering, that is all the way around the WORLD!
    •  A tracking board was developed to see the progress of each team. Employees encouraged one another, and benefited greatly!

                            “Just by walking and being more conscious of my daily steps, I lost 10 pounds!” – Innovative Employee 

 

VVegas rewards

  • Healthy Lunch Bunch
    • Join in with co-workers and take turns bringing in fun healthy recipes to share.

The ideas don’t stop here! Continue to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to learn how Innovative Office Solutions can make your workplace more productive!

Now Available – LampFree® by Casio | Innovative Office Solutions

Unknown-1

Is your projector an outdated, clunky, energy-waster that is on its last leg?  Well we may have a solution for you.  Introducing the world’s first lampfree projector with considerable cost and energy savings, an exceptionally long life and minimal intervention – the LampFree® by Casio.

In today’s day and age, the more efficient and energy-friendly we can be, the better.  Antiquated projectors and *gasp* overhead projectors are a thing of the past.  Their upkeep costs too much, bulbs and body wear down too quickly, and they are just a general eyesore.  Their days may be numbered however thanks to Casio’s newest projector technology.

Check out the features of the new LampFree® below – and see how this machine can help you immediately, and in the long run.

Features of LED Hybrid Projectors:

  • Minimal brightness degradation over 20,000 hour lifetime versus 50% degradation over conventional projector’s 2,000 hour lifetime
  • Interactive whiteboard ready
  • Digital and analog connectivity
  • 3D capable
  • Wireless/mobile capable
  • Control ready system
  • Networkable with USB Computerless Presentation
  • 5 year light source warranty

Unknown-2

Not only do these projectors come with more features than most standard projectors, their benefits are seemingly endless as well.

Benefits include:

  • No lamps to replace or filters to change
  • Life expectancy of 20,000 hours (up to 15 years at 6 hours per day) of high performance
  • Quick power on and off function also reduces power usage
  • Eco-friendly and mercury free

Casio Hybrid LED-Laser Light Source Projectors are now mercury-free, leaving you free from concerns of proper disposal of used lamps, while helping eliminate mercury pollution. Mercury contamination, caused by broken mercury lamps, can also be avoided and can and make your home, classroom, and work environments that much more safe.

Unknown

Don’t worry – if you ever have any issues or questions, Innovative will assist in selecting the right model for your needs and will be here for any questions or followup.

Check out the video below and see for yourself the benefits of the new LampFree® Technology by Casio – and visit the Innovative Office Solutions website or contact our Account Executive Christina Boerigter – CBoerigter@innovativeos.com – for more info!

ShopNow

 

 

 

How Office Colors Effect Employees | Innovative Office Solutions

Innovative Office Solutions is your office productivity leader.  The following blog post continues our series of posts designed for you to rethink your everyday approach to productivity. 

We do a lot for ourselves to become more comfortable in the workplace.  While spending over one third of our lives at work, we do things we deem necessary to make our workspaces as comfortable as possible.  Surprisingly, one factor that gets overlooked too often are the colors with which we surround ourselves.  Science and color psychologists – yes, color psychologists – have concluded that certain colors help spark creativity and productivity, while others promote calm and soothing feelings.  Take these findings into consideration and begin to use the results to your advantage.  You may be surprised by the results.

Colors have a much more profound effect on our daily lives than we may realize.  Color psychologist Angela Wright states that, “When photons from the sun strike a colored object, that object absorbs only the wavelengths that match its own atomic structure, and they reflect the rest, and that’s what we see. So the different wavelengths strike the eye in different ways. In the retina, they are converted into electrical impulses that pass to the part of the brain known as the hypothalamus, which governs our endocrine system and hormones, and much of our activity.”  Basically, based on this explanation, colors have a profound effect on our emotions – whether we immediately realize it or not.

daaf5ff625d32bb9829b029f3744ac18

In today’s busy world, we’re always striving to increase productivity.  It seems like every time we turn around, there is a new app or gadget that occupies us, ultimately diverting our attention and decreasing our daily productive output.  It has been found, according to Wright’s research, the more intense the color – the more stimulated we are.  The lower the saturation of the color, the more relaxed and mellow we’ll feel.

Evolve_8635_JN04_Front

As you may have guessed, different colors have different effects on our brain and ultimately – our emotions.  Take, for instance, the traditional primary colors – Red, Blue, Yellow, and Green.  

  • Red effects the Body
  • Blue effects the Mind
  • Yellow effects your Emotions, the Ego, and Self-Confidence
  • Green provides balance between the Mind, Body, and the Emotions.

You don’t, however, need commit to one color.  If you combine two different colors, you can experience the benefits of each included color.  For example, by combining a vibrant yellow with a vibrant blue, you will get a color that stimulates both emotions and your mind.

Voi_Purpose_Flock

Check out the infographics, via SeeJaneWork, below for more information on the effect certain colors can have on us.

office_color_schemes_personality office_color_schemes_how_to_choose

So tell us – have you seen first hand benefits by being surrounded by these different colors?  What colors is your office?  Is it about time you touched up the break room, the creative department, or your office?

If you’re looking to spruce up your office space and see what sort of benefits color can have on you and your employees – Contact our experts today at cs@innovativeos.com or call (866) 574-5389 to find out how we can help!

Plants and Productivity | Innovative Office Solutions

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 12.09.14 PM

Thinking about “sprucing” (pun intended) up the office? Recent studies have shown that if you have plants around the office – you are benefitting in more ways that one. Every office needs something colorful: whether it be different colored walls, unique carpeting, modern-looking desks, or fun desk trinkets – these things break up the sometimes monotonous workplace environment. An often overlooked and underutilized office accessory, however, are plants – which may be the most beneficial of all.

Studies Conducted

Recent studies have shown that plants can aid in concentration, help increase productivity and boost staff wellbeing by 47 percent. Also shown was that in offices where staff are allowed to make design decisions, creativity and productivity increased by 45 per cent and 38 per cent respectively. These numbers come from a study – conducted by the University of Exeter – in which employee output was measured and compared across different types of business space. Nearly 350 visitors to the 2013 Chelsea Flower Show were asked to measure their creativity, happiness, and productivity in four differently designed work environments in a series of 90 experiments. The findings, according to the researchers, “demonstrate that plants are not unnecessary elements of business environments and add weight to other studies, which indicate plants increase psychological comfort and business performance.”

Beneficial Outside of the Office

As you may have guessed, having plants around the office is just one of the many benefits they provide. Further benefits of including plants in your everyday life include:

  • The Classroom: According to the Royal College of Agriculture, plants may increase learning potential for students.
  • In Hospitals: Compared to hospital rooms with little-to-no plants, patients with plants in their rooms experience less pain, anxiety and fatigue, take less pain medication, have lower blood pressure and heart rates, and are more pleased with their recovery rooms.
  • In the Home: Rooms with plants contain 50-60 per cent fewer airborne molds and bacteria than rooms with no plants. Plants filter and clean the air, reducing chemicals linked to colds, breathing problems and even cancer, according to the Stennis Space Centre.
  • Our Overall Health: According to NASA, houseplants can remove up to 87 per cent of air toxins within 24 hours, and can lead to reduced fatigue, coughs, sore throats and other cold-related illnesses by more than 30 per cent.

How Else Do Plants Help?

If you haven’t rushed out to the nearest greenhouse to buy yourself a desk plant yet, there are plenty more research studies that show how else being around plants can benefit you throughout your daily life.

  • Increased Concentration and Memory: Tasks – located near or around nature – are performed better and with greater accuracy, ultimately generating a better result.  Adding to that, being within or near nature can improve memory performance and attention span by 20 per cent.
  • Increased Smiles: Office flowers and plants increase a persons mood and reduces the likelihood stress-related depression.
  • Improved Relationships:  Research shows that those who spend extended periods of time around plants tend to have better relationships with others.  The exposure to nature and wildlife increases people’s compassion for each other and for the environment in which they live.

Read about these – and more – benefits at the Texas A&M University website.

Do you keep a large crop of plants in your office?  If so – why?  If not – why?  Based on these research findings, are you headed to your nearest florist over your lunch break?

Benefits of Sit-Stand Workstations | Innovative Office Solutions

Originally thought of as eccentric, standing while working was a tactic once used by well-known thinkers.  However, as the trend begins to catch on more and more in the workplace, research has found the benefits of standing throughout your workday can help fight obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even forms of cancer. 

At first you may think to yourself, “I couldn’t stand for 8 hours – that sounds incredibly tiring,” or “I have back issues, I need to sit.”  If you’ve had similar thoughts, you’re in the majority as standing at work all day is often seen as a form of unintended punishment.  However, research suggests that standing – or being more active – while at work can help improve muscle and back aches from which you may suffer, as well as create an all-around healthier “you”.

You May Be Doing It Wrong

Now, the more active employees may choose to exercise over their lunch hour or soon after work, but research has shown that these activities don’t help counteract the toll eight hours of sitting can take on your body.  According to Smithsonian, instead of strenuous exercise over the lunch hour or immediately after your workday, learn to incorporate standing, pacing and other forms of activity into your normal day—and standing at your desk for part of it is the easiest way of doing so.  This isn’t to say stop exercising during off-hours, you just may not be doing your body as much good as you think.  Not only does standing more often help you become more active and help promote proper blood flow for longer periods of time, it can also increase focus.

Increased Focus

A 2013 study conducted by the Draugiem Group – a Latvian company – decided to put these “increased focus” rumors to the test.  According to ReadWrite, Compared to a period of time when a person was not using the standing desk, it was found that standing at a desk led to up to 10% more productivity.  This increase of productivity could be chalked up to a sense of urgency, according to ReadWrite.  “While standing, you feel a sense of urgency which causes you to be focused on the completion of tasks. This works ideally when you’re working with tasks where you know what the outcome should be, and it’s just a matter of completing it.”

Davis Siksnans, project manager at the Draugiem Group, relays that “I constantly had my to-do list opened and I’d try to get through them all ASAP. The only differences being that while sitting, I spent more time on Facebook and Spotify, which shows us that sitting lets our minds wander more.” 

These workplace benefits are great, and should be proof enough to consider incorporating sit-stand workstations into your office.  The long-term benefits, however, seem to far outweigh the immediate perks seen at work.

Decreasing Your Obesity Risk

It’s no surprise that America has one of the highest – if not the highest – obesity rate in the entire world.  Factors such as diet and lack of exercise are surely to blame, with sedentary work environments being an equal contributor to the obesity epidemic.

MSN.com states that – using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – in 1960, “nearly half the jobs in the private sector required at least moderate physical activity, but in 2010, less than 20 percent demanded this much physical work.  Advances in manufacturing and agriculture explain the drop in human energy needed at work.”

“The key to reducing the risk of obesity,” according to Smithsonian, “is consistent, moderate levels of movement throughout the day.”  With increased advances throughout different work environments daily tasks are easier and less physical exertion is required to complete certain tasks.  Motivation to stand and be active throughout the day is also increasingly up to the worker.

Reducing Cancer Risk

A 2011 article from the L.A. Times states, “Nearly 100,000 cases of cancer could be prevented in the U.S. each year if we all spent less time sitting in our cars, at our desks and on our couches.”  Quoted in the article is Neville Owen, who at the time was head of behavioral epidemiology at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Australia.  Owen went on to state, “Sitting time is emerging as a strong candidate for being a cancer risk factor in its own right.  It seems highly likely that the longer you sit, the higher your risk. The phenomenon isn’t dependent on body weight or how much exercise people do.”

At the 2011 annual meeting of the American Institute for Cancer Research, Owen presented data showing that adults are sedentary for 9.3 hours of the day, which amounted to 60% of their time spent awake. Another 6.5 hours (or 35% of awake time) were spent in “light activity,” such as walking to one’s car. What can be done to decrease cancer risk due to sitting?  You guessed it – be more active at the office.  If a sit-stand workspace is out of the question, walk over to a co-workers desk instead of sending an e-mail, go to the water cooler more often than necessary (this will also keep you more hydrated), or simply stand up and walk around more frequently than you do currently.  The more you move, the better you’ll feel in the short and long-term.

According to Christine Friedenreich, an epidemiologist at Alberta Health Services Cancer Care in Canada, breast and colon cancer appear to be the cancers most influenced by physical activity.  The less physical activity or exertion, the higher your risk of developing these cancers.  This is due to higher levels of inflammation caused by staying seated for extended periods of time.  The higher levels of inflammation, the greater increased risk of developing cancer.

When Can I Start?

As excited as you may be to start experiencing the benefits of standing more at work, experts suggest workers ease into this new posture.  Let your body become used to the strain.  As foreign as it may be to many office dwellers, it is equally foreign to your body.  Also – move around, shift weight from side to side, stand on one leg, whatever you need to do to stay comfortably standing for extended periods of time. At first, split time between standing and sitting, because actually standing all day can lead to back, knee or foot problems. By using a desk that can be raised, as well as using a tall chair that you can pull up to your desk when you do need to sit, you’ll be able to rest your legs when you feel the need, and stand when you feel like standing.  

Becoming A More Health Conscious Workplace

We at Innovative Office Solutions have embraced the idea of a healthy workplace – and encourage employees to be as active as they can, both at work and outside of the office.  One of our designers, Melissa, has embraced the idea of a sit-stand workstation.  “I enjoy being able to stand whenever I need a change of pace or feel a little restless.  My legs feel better after I stand for about an hour.  It definitely helps to be able to stand for a bit in the afternoon when I feel a slump.  It’s an instant energy boost to be able to stand, in turn keeping me more attentive.”

Melissa_Sit-Stand

Melissa uses Trendway Base that comes equipped with a Dual Stage base and control pad with a digital readout which can store up to four pre-set heights.  Pre-set heights work well in an area with multiple users, who can all have their comfortable standing height saved.

Some vendors with a more ergonomic focus include Workrite, ESI, Humanscale, Mayline, and Conset.  These manufactures offer a large variety of sizes and configurations, with some  offering many other ergonomic products like monitor arms and keyboard trays that pair well with the sit-stand bases, creating a more ergonomic posture.

Visit our website to learn how we can outfit your office with sit-stand workstations, and how you and your office workers can begin to experience the positive benefits associated with increased movement throughout the day.

Five Essential Environmentally Friendly Office Products | Innovative Office Solutions

Environmentally friendly products are now more important than ever, so we thought it’d be a good idea to let you know about some of the more environmentally friendly products that Innovative Office Solutions carries.

Now, just because a product is considered “green” or “environmentally friendly” in no way detracts from its performance or usage while at the office.  In fact, such products should give you more pride in usage with you knowing your current more “green” office products will one day be reused by someone else

Post-it Greener Paper Markers

5.  It’s no secret we at Innovative Office Solutions are HUGE Post-it product fans, and this first product is no exception.  Post-It Greener Page Markers are a more environmental friendly take on the traditional page markers, as the adhesive is plant-based and the page markers themselves are made from recycled paper.  Feel better when you eventually discard each marker that you may end up using that same marker years down the road.

Post-It Greener Tape

4.  Scotch Brand Greener Tape is a more environmentally friendly alternative – yet still as versatile as the original.   Made from 65% recycled or plant-based materials by weight, the alternative version is just as timeless and strong as the original.

8435

Aren’t you glad it’s not January?

3.  The AT-A-GLANCE Recycled Wall Calendar will soon become your new favorite office mate.  Besides the fact it is a wall calendar that helps you keep track of your daily happenings, it also features monthly green living tips.  Tips such as – “That picnic you’re planning for next weekend?  Bring your own plates and silverware instead of plasticware.”.  It always helps to be reminded of how you can live more environmentally friendly every day of the year.

 

Eco-Friendly Office Cups

2.  Every office needs cups – and what better kind to have on hand than those that are completely compostable?  Made from 100% renewable resources, the Eco-Products World Art cup is perfect for your morning coffee.  The cups are engineered with a leak-proof PLA liner – which is a corn-based polymer – ensures you don’t walk into a meeting with a stain, courtesy of your aforementioned morning joe.

64576

1.  As we mentioned in a previous post on keeping the office neat and tidy over the winter months, EcoGuard wiper matts come in first on our list of most essential environmentally friendly office products.  The carpeted surface is made from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles – so a few of these in the office give you the peace of mind knowing you’re helping keep plastic bottles out of our landfills.  The durable crumb rubber backing is made from used tires, helping keep them out of landfills and waterways – and properly recycling a material that is notoriously difficult to decompose.  The fibers on this mat provide better absorbency so, especially during winter months, you won’t be tracking as much moisture/dirt/salt/etc. into the office, keeping it cleaner for a longer period of time.

 

The Benefits of Ergonomic Products | Innovative Office Solutions

sit-stand workspace

Some people may still be skeptical about ergonomic products and their supposed benefits.   However, ask anyone who uses these products on a daily basis and they may tell you of the comfort and ease they experience.  Work places that currently use, or are thinking about using, ergonomic products can expect to see increased efficiency and productivity throughout the workplace.

Ergonomic products help find the perfect fit.  The better the fit, the more efficient and productive employees can be in the workplace.  Ergonomic products also have some ability to limit and prevent work-related injuries.  Carpal tunnel being a typical disorder from which some office workers suffer – the increased comfort seen with ergonomic desk items such as mouses and keyboards can help alleviate pain, while increasing productivity and workflow. The more companies continue to put an emphasis on preventing these sorts of injuries, pay-out and days lost will ultimately decrease over time.

Ergonomics:  A More Recent History

With the aggressive advancement and increased complexity of technical equipment in the 1940s – it was soon realized that not all benefits of the equipment would be delivered if users did not understand how to correctly use it.  Alphonse Chapanis, a Lieutenant during World War II, most notably redesigned aircraft controls using ergonomic principles. In applying these principles, control panel ease-of-use was increased and ultimately helped reduce the number of crashes that had, until then, been attribute to pilot error.

The term ergonomics was coined – from the Greek roots (ergon and nomos) – at a 1949 meeting of world-renowned physiologists and psychologists. Later in 1949, this same body of scientists and like-minded colleagues formed the Ergonomics Research Society, or ERS, which became the first such professional body in the world.  The group continued to evolve with the changing workplace landscape and begin to incorporate other factors such as workplace layout, light, heat, noise – more physical aspects.  The organization is now known as the Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (IEHF) and continues to study the benefits and factors that effect people both inside and outside of the workplace.

Ergonomics Leading to Increased Workplace Efficiency? 

Increased productivity for ergonomic products is more or less a case by case basis.  Take an ergonomic keyboard for instance.  They are so completely different from regular keyboards – there can be a bit of a comfort and learning curve.  After a learning period on an ergonomic keyboard, employees can complete more computer-based tasks in the same amount of time – due to the less physical exertion required when using an ergonomic keyboard.

Before any redesign or implementation, begin with employee feedback as well as job analysis. Thinking about these things first will better help in your approach to becoming a more ergonomic-friendly workplace.  For instance, if employees spend most of their time on the telephone, then it is simply smarter to purchase headsets rather than keyboard and mouse wrist rests. A one-size-fits-all approach to ergonomics will often be ineffective.  Sure, an adjustable chair is a critical part of a computer workstation, but keep in mind that shorter employees will often also need a foot rest to maintain proper posture.

One office item that helps promote proper posture and continued movement throughout the day are sit/stand work stations.  The jury is still out on whether or not sit/stand workstations increase productivity, but working in various postures throughout the day is simply better for your health.  In a recent study, Scientists at the University of Missouri found that the act of sitting seems to shut off the circulation of a fat-absorbing enzyme called Lipase.  If a sit/stand workstation is not an option, it is recommended that office workers vary their posture throughout the day.

If you have yet to adopt ergonomics in the workplace, or are thinking about trying out some ergonomic products for yourself, visit www.innovativeos.com for all of your ergonomic product needs.