WDM Newsletter – October/November 2016

October 25, 2016

This article was originally emailed as our monthly Workplace Design & Management newsletter at 11:00 on 20/10/2016. You can view older newsletters here and register to receive them monthly.

Is this the future of seated wellbeing?

wdmheader2016-10We offer many high quality chairs with excellent ergonomics and comfort. However, we believe that the BMA Axia Smart Active chair is unique worldwide in delivering Bluetooth connectivity to a smartphone app. By downloading the free Apple or Android app and pairing it (instantly) with the chair, the user creates a personal, multi-functional posture coach. Working in a similar way to a wearable fitness device and connecting to sensors in the chair seatpan, the smartphone app monitors movement, sitting time and posture changes (or lack of them). When necessary, it prompts to encourage dynamic chair use and gives personalised tips and practical advice according to the individual’s behaviour. The Smart Active technology is available in any BMA model from the Axia 2.0 series and replacement seat cushions can be retrofitted to existing chairs (or standard products bought in the future). Crucially, the upgrade costs significantly less than £100 + VAT per chair. For further information, view the video or contact us for a demonstration.

UK manufactured 24/7 chair

enduranceHistorically, we have always recommended Scandinavian or Dutch chairs for control room and heavy duty use. In the past, we have been unable to find a UK product that met the quality, comfort, durability and ergonomics standards we demand. Although we continue to promote those legacy products, we are delighted to be able to add a chair from a UK manufacturer to our portfolio for this demanding sector. Endurance is based on an existing product with minor modifications to meet our requirements. With a 30 stone weight limit and 3-year 24-hour warranty, the chair offers a viable and effective solution where budget is constrained. With a choice of two backrest heights and an integral head support in the higher back variant, it provides a comprehensive selection of options to meet many of the most demanding seating applications. Contact us for further information or a demonstration.

New visions of work

orgatecOctober 2016 sees the return of this biennial exhibition which started over 60 years ago. In particular, I expect to find lots of sit-stand furniture and ideas for agile working. Acoustics is another ‘hot’ topic and has had its own zone in recent years. This is due to greater recognition and understanding of open plan office environments and the 4Cs (collaboration, communication, contemplation and concentration). The main theme for the event this year recognises how the work environment can impact creativity and productivity so I am looking out for lots of interesting and a few ‘off the wall’ ideas! I shall be writing a full report of my findings by the middle of November but, if you use Twitter, the Orgatec feed is a useful source of immediate information.

Our specialist logistics team

er60fleetIn addition to the expert partners we use for larger installations, we continue to provide a national installation service for small projects, one-offs and specials with our own trained personnel and vehicles. Each van in the current fleet has an ‘ergo’ number – ER60 NOM, ER60 NOW, ER60 VAN, ER60 YES – but we are running out of options. I have no idea what number we shall be able to find for the next vehicle. I have now trawled the entire list of available choices on  the DVLA web site (that’s how sad I am!) and there are no meaningful words remaining. We have no immediate need so this is something to ponder on but we welcome any inspired suggestions for the future.

Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin October 2016

October 24, 2016

This article was originally emailed as our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 12/10/2016. You can view older eBulletins here and register to receive them monthly.


headerimage10-2016As I write this, we are coming to the end of World Mental Health Day here in the UK. There have been all sorts of physical and virtual events and plenty of activity on social media. Two campaigns particularly caught my eye: #Take10Together from MHFA and the NHS/Jordan Stephens collaboration #IamWhole. As our activities are drawn more and more into human factors as well as physical ergonomics, we are working with organisations and individuals who provide mental health education, training and support. If you need some suggestions about suitable partners, we shall be glad to help.


advantage2After many years of success with the original Advantage, we are delighted to introduce the new Advantage 2 which maintains the proven Contoured keyboardTM design with low force mechanical keyswitches for proven comfort and reduced musculo-skeletal load. New to this model is the SmartSetTM programming engine which provides powerful keyboard configuration tools to boost productivity. The old rubber function keys have also been replaced with high quality tactile mechanical keyswitches, further enhancing the product of choice for software engineers, programmers and intensive users the world over. Download the U.S. brochure here or visit our web site for more information.


techno_gremlinWe are very proud of our advanced use of technology in all its forms and (nearly all of the time!) we are completely in control of all our processes. In the last month, however, two separate events occurred unexpectedly. First, our eBulletin provider experienced a cyber attack which resulted in our April Fools’ Day Get Britain Sleeping newsletter being resent. No contact details were accessed: the calendar was simply reset, triggering the resend. Second, my phone started going through my address book and inviting everyone to join me on LinkedIn. Both issues are now resolved and I hope you were not inconvenienced by either. I apologise if you were.


hfe_in_practiceFor the ergonomist in your life, the perfect present will be available just before Christmas! Human Factors and Ergonomics in Practice: Improving System Performance and Human Well-Being in the Real World is edited by Steven Shorrock and Claire Williams, two very experienced and highly respected members of the ergonomics community. Their vision, more than two years ago, was to create  a publication that demonstrates the practice and benefits of human factors and ergonomics (HFE) ‘at the sharp end’. This is not a book of academic theories, it is a series of explanations and case studies outlining how HFE is being applied every day in real-life, practical applications. There’s even a chapter by me!


WDM Newsletter – September/October 2016

October 21, 2016

This article was originally emailed as our monthly Workplace Design & Management newsletter at 11:00 on 15/09/2016. You can view older newsletters here and register to receive them monthly.

A more focussed message and clearer thinking?

wdmheader2016-09It is nearly twenty years since we sold our first sit-stand desk but the real growth in interest amongst UK employers has arisen since early in 2014. Initially driven by publicity about the potential health impacts of sedentary behaviour, employers were bombarded with news, statistics, research and plenty of online ‘noise’ predicting dire consequences if there was not a rapid and immediate transition from traditional office environments to workplaces populated with ‘standing desks’. [more]

Stylish and practical wireless phone charging

airchargeI have been using an aircharge sleeve on my iPhone 6s for several months and, as well as protecting the phone, it is much more desirable than fiddling around with a Lightning connector cable when I need to recharge the battery. We offer aircharge facilities for staff in the office and I find it in a growing number of hotels, coffee shops and hospitality environments. Of course, in Clerkenwell, you can find aircharge in almost every showroom! For organisations wanting to offer this facility to their own personnel and visitors, there is a choice of options. The most common version – the surface charger – fits an 80mm diameter hole so it can be retrofitted to a standard desk grommet. Others can be incorporated into monitor arms and task lamps. See some of the variants here or contact us for further information. (If you are curious about the technology, you can find out more here).

New product sections and pop-out design

seatingexpertsWe originally set up the seatingexperts.uk web site alongside sitstandexperts.uk to reflect our knowledge beyond the specialist ‘ergo environment’. Working with a variety of manufacturing partners we now offer a broad portfolio of products to address every need in the workplace. The web site is still a work-in-progress but the sections for Reception & Breakout, Office Project, Modular, Meeting & Training Room and Boardroom have been completely redesigned. As mentioned last month, we are also working on a Comfort Score system to help buyers make a decision based on suitability as well as on aesthetics. More information about this coming soon!

People we like whose work we respect

energiseyouEnergiseYou helps innovative organisations to thrive by:

  • Coaching your people to improve their energy and be the best they can be.
  • Coaching your leaders and managers to create energised, engaged, and high performing teams.

They do this using a unique approach in their workshops, webinars, podcasts, energy events, 1-2-1 coaching and motivational talks. Creating a positive, energised workforce leads to greater engagement, performance and retention whilst reducing absence. Find out more at EnergiseYou

Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin September 2016

October 20, 2016

This article was originally emailed as our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 14/09/2016. You can view older eBulletins here and register to receive them monthly.


headerimage09-2016Although we repeat many of our key webinars on a regular basis and at different times of day, some of our international participants find it hard to attend if they are in a significantly different time zone. In addition, other pressing demands sometimes prevent our UK delegates from attending events they have booked. We are therefore in the process (rather belatedly, some might say!) of recording each of our core sessions so that you can ‘attend’ at a time and place to suit your own diary. The first ones can be found here (with some other interesting videos). More will follow soon.


healthyworkingAt our August Training Day, we were shown the new Healthy Working assessment and e-learning package which is being phased in to replace Workstation Safety Plus by our partners, Cardinus. This radical new approach has been developed in partnership with Health & Safety Laboratory. In our view, it is altogether more holistic and responsive than any of its competitors, encompassing all types of computer work, devices and locations into a single, integrated and dynamic process. The quality and scope of this new product reflects the extensive research and development programme that led to its launch. Contact us for further information.


iso27500I know that I keep raising this topic but I attended the official launch at BSI on September 1st and I really believe this is an opportunity to put ergonomics and human factors at the centre of organisational strategy. It was interesting to attend an event with such a diversity of interests (including delegates with responsibility for user experience, quality, technology, design, wellbeing, compliance, risk and occupational health, as well as ergonomics, human factors, health and safety). A LinkedIn discussion has started here but, if you can’t access that, try here.


knowledge250pxBakker Elkhuizen, another of our close partners, has just launched a new online Knowledge Centre. We have worked with the team at BE for nearly twenty years and their research and resources have prompted or informed many of our own webinars, seminars and articles. This month also sees the launch of their new corporate headquarters in the Netherlands and some exciting new products – but I am sworn to secrecy for the time being! Check out our social media channels for sneak previews or wait for further information here in due course.


livechat250pxMany people have already taken advantage of the new instant Chat facility on our main web site. We have been surprised that it has become instantly popular. Providing answers is not yet one person’s full time job but some days it seems like that! It has been really interesting to see the sort of questions people ask. Some can be answered in an instant and some remind us of the old ‘Which is better for RSI – a trackball or an ergonomic mouse?’ conundrum. At least our answers are not restricted to 140 characters! Some questions are also giving us ideas about how to develop the site and what further information and resources to add.


Has the UK sit-stand market finally grown up?

September 9, 2016

er60nomIt is nearly twenty years since we sold our first sit-stand desk but the real growth in interest amongst UK employers has arisen since early in 2014.

Initially driven by publicity about the potential health impacts of sedentary behaviour, employers were bombarded with news, statistics, research and plenty of online ‘noise’ predicting dire consequences if there was not a rapid and immediate transition from traditional office environments to workplaces populated with ‘standing desks’.

Even using the term ‘standing desk’ is misleading to the uninitiated because it implies that simply replacing seated activity with standing activity is the answer. Furthermore, some of the (apparently well-researched and highly reputable) research recommended that we should all aim to stand at our desk for up to four hours per day. The problem, however, has never been about too much sitting: it has been about not enough movement. Standing undoubtedly helps but it is only part of the solution.


Hedge’s 3S’s Ideal Work Pattern

The ‘stand for four hours’ rationale has now been widely dismissed and many who really understand the issues will recommend a 30 minute cycle of sitting, standing and movement such as ‘Hedge’s 3S’ cycle proposed by Professor Alan Hedge .

With clearer guidance, employers can make better judgements and the sales enquiries we now receive seem to come more from a ‘good thing to do’ perspective rather than ‘do we really have to do this?’.

What is also significant is that most large employers are opting for 10 – 20% sit-stand, often putting a pair of sit-stand desks at the end of a bank of standard workstations. By contrast, more and more of our ‘mini project’ orders (typically, 10 – 40 desks) are for smaller organisations equipping all of their personnel with a sit-stand option. It seems that these smaller organisations recognise that they are doing much more than changing the furniture: they are introducing a culture change. As a result, they want to embrace that change, recognising the value of the training we provide and appreciating the importance of proper education to ensure users benefit fully from the new furniture and the behaviour opportunities it creates.sitstandtips

It may simply be that the sort of organisations who come to us do so because of our commitment to training and the added value we offer beyond the desks themselves. Or it could be that sit-stand furniture buyers are becoming more sophisticated and demanding a  more comprehensive package.

Whatever the explanation I like to think that, after nearly 20 years, the sit-stand market is finally growing up!

WDM Newsletter – August/September 2016

August 19, 2016

This article was originally emailed as our monthly Workplace Design & Management newsletter at 11:00 on 18/08/2016. You can view older newsletters here and register to receive them monthly.

Enhancing performance with training and equipment


After an amazing London 2012, I thought the Rio Olympics would be disappointing. On the contrary, many events – and especially the cycling – have held me spellbound. Whilst it may take several more four-year-periods before I finally understand the rules of the Omnium, the various cycling events have illustrated the importance of co-ordinated planning, preparation, training and equipment. The big contrast between the Olympics and the workplace is that employers try to optimise the performance of their people on a constant and ongoing basis, rather than for a few minutes every four years. Plus this optimisation must be achieved without access to millions of pounds of lottery funding! We know more about the workplace and its people than ever before but, in a constantly changing landscape, integrating the knowledge and maximising the contribution of different disciplines can be difficult. If you’re planning a move or refit or starting an Agile Working programme, we would be delighted to discuss the issues you are facing. Even if we don’t know all the answers, we will know someone who does!

Defining your criteria

Osmond_Ergonomics_WDM_AUG_2016_image_2Recent refresher training at Camira Fabrics reminded me how many different ways there are to choose fabrics. Whilst most of us probably start with colour, pattern and texture, others will be in roles demanding a more pragmatic approach that considers durability or flame resistance. For many employers, sustainability is essential so the use of recycled materials or bast (plant) fibre will be a priority (although wool is, of course, the ultimate renewable). Add to the mix the business of farming government-licensed hemp or addressing the idiosyncrasies of buying jute bags from multi-national coffee companies and the back story to the fabric is almost as fascinating as its impact on space in which it is deployed!

When the way it looks is not enough


For over twenty years, much of my business has been about finding specific chairs for individuals with musculo-skeletal problems, where comfort and support are crucial. As the workplace changes, we are being asked to provide all manner of seating for a variety of applications and modes of use. We score all our products in the ergonomics sector and we are now looking at a parallel system for other seating, considering the type of use and for how long. Whilst seating for a reception area may only be used for a few minutes, what about the canteen chairs where people use their tablet for a couple of hours at a time or the soft seating where people use their laptop all morning? Is this a concern for you or is appearance more important? Please let me know what you think.

Is this the next big tech change in the workplace?

Osmond_Ergonomics_WDM_AUG_2016_image_4Virtual and augmented reality tools are already used in envisaging design and simulating environments as well as in gaming. As Pokemon Go takes the gaming world by storm, our good friends at Bakker Elkhuizen have been thinking about whether these technologies could actually become part of our daily working lives. Would you be happy to wear a VR Headset at home, for example, and meet your work colleagues in a ‘virtual office’? Whilst the idea may be abhorrent to some, there will be others who regard it as ‘the next best thing to being there’. After all, many of us now willingly attend webinars rather than events in person. Please contact me if you want to explore this further.


Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin August 2016

August 11, 2016

This article was originally emailed as our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 10/08/2016. You can view older eBulletins here and register to receive them monthly.


image1 - OE EB AUG 2016

We have been discussing this topic with clients, specifically around the question ‘must they be medically qualified?’. In recent years, particularly in the public sector, there has been a tendency to include DSE (Display Screen Equipment) workstation assessments in an occupational health (OH) contract because it is believed that an OH background qualifies an assessor to understand the medical requirements and therefore, on this basis alone, to provide the best advice. I disagree! For my thinking and further observations – and to join in the discussion, please click here.


image2 OE EB AUG 2016Our Motus sit-stand desk continues to grow in popularity, offering outstanding quality and functionality at a very keen price. Our ‘standard’ frame colour is now RAL9006 silver to match the metalwork of many other fixed desk manufacturers. We also have three-leg frame configurations available from our warehouse for those needing corner or cockpit desk shapes. In addition to standard items available from stock, we can also supply white frames and face-to-face sit-stand benching systems. With the growing demand for sit-stand to be used alongside traditional sitting desks, we are now offering a furniture matching service by supplying Motus with the same worktops used on your fixed height furniture. On a lighter note, did you see our spoof videos announcing the latest delivery?


image3 OE EB AUG 2016

Our online catalogue at ergonomics.co.uk now accepts product reviews. We have been thinking about how to offer this facility for some time and are delighted that it is finally in place. We have been frantically adding the option to each product page and most, if not all, pages will be enabled by the time you receive this eBulletin. If you have recently made a purchase or have a particular product you would like to comment on, please go to the relevant product page. Alternatively, here are a few direct links to best-selling products:
FlexDesk 630 Adapt 600 Chair Series FlexTop Laptop Stand  |  Motus Sit-Stand Desk


image4 OE EB AUG 2016As you might expect, we are currently reviewing product pricing as a result of the ongoing state of the Pound against the Euro and Dollar. We have consulted widely with our supply partners within the industry and everyone is monitoring the situation closely! Changes will vary but expect 10% increases on some products with the first increases from September 1st, 2016. It is worth remembering that many of our products have had no price increase for more than five years. As always, we shall do everything possible to accommodate existing enquiries and potential projects so please discuss your forward plans with us as soon as possible. Remember also, as mentioned last month, that we can usually help with a leasing plan that releases cash and often has tax benefits.


image5 OE EB AUG 2016Watching world-class athletes in action at the Rio Olympics brings to mind the RH brand message: ‘Designed for Human Performance’. For me, the men’s and women’s cycling road races demonstrate the importance of the correct equipment and the crucial link between humans and the tools they work with. Recent research at Chalmers University of Technology demonstrated how the RH Logic 400 improved working conditions and reduced tension and pain. Contact us for a copy of the infographic summarising the research findings. You can experience the value of a dynamic chair yourself by taking advantage of the RH trial offer. You can find more information here.

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