WDM Newsletter – August 2017

August 21, 2017

This article was originally emailed as our monthly Workplace Design & Management newsletter at 11:00 on 17/08/2017. You can view older newsletters here and register to receive them monthly.

THE BEST WORK ENVIRONMENT
Will only happen with training!

WDMheader2017-08Our workplace environment impacts our wellbeing and productivity. Lots of research tells us this and there are endless articles about the design of space, light, temperature, acoustics, furniture and buildings themselves. The more holistic articles (and enlightened employers) embrace diet and exercise too. Perhaps I am reading the wrong articles but there seems to be comparatively little about training. Some of the key issues (light, temperature and acoustics, for example) will directly affect individuals without any proactive participation. Other key factors will require Behaviour Change to make a significant difference or even, in some cases, make any difference at all. Engagement specialists understand this and Behaviour Change experts help employers make this happen but it often seems to be forgotten that we are creatures of habit. Unless encouraged, aided or cajoled, we default to acting as we always have, whatever the changes to our environment. Let us hear more about the essential education and support necessary to optimise the use of our work environments. If you are a specialist in these disciplines – or know where to find the articles I am missing, please let me know!

CANTEEN AND CAFÉ FURNITURE
How will it be used?

canteen_and_cafeDoes your organisation use the staff restaurant just for eating or as an ad hoc meeting place? Are your catering facilities simply a refuelling station for your own people or a hospitality area for visitors? Do you prefer circular tables or will long rectangular benches increase the likelihood of serendipitous meetings? Will you need power sources for laptops and handheld devices? Ready access to healthy food is a crucial element of today’s wellbeing focus and properly planned catering facilities provide a multi-functional space which can enhance staff engagement and improve communications. The furnishing of any hospitality area needs to consider the scope of use as well as the corporate brand and ethos. This link provides a handful of examples and we can suggest many more depending on the answers to these and other questions.

SIT-STAND-PERCH
Exploring the ‘third way’

sit-stand-perchIt is ironical that perching, the ‘third way’ in the sit-stand conversation, first became topical a few decades ago during discussions about standing too much! Historically, there have been many logical applications for perching in manufacturing environments as a way to reduce the standing time for machine operators and process personnel without the productivity loss which can arise from frequent changes between sitting and standing. You will also see perching stools in galleries and museums so that attendants do not have to stand for their entire shift. [read more]

CYBER SECURITY
The responsibility of everyone

cyber_securityWe are currently reviewing our cyber security procedures and data protection systems. Two key factors stand out: you are only as strong as your weakest link and the list of devices, apps, processes and systems to be part of the review seems endless. Reflecting on the former, it comes as no real surprise that the WannaCry attack on the NHS and other organisations was so effective. It only needs one individual to unknowingly open an unsafe item on apparatus that has not been fully maintained to expose a weakness. Keeping your systems updated and ensuring all your personnel take personal responsibility for their own devices is a full-time challenge!


Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin August 2017

August 11, 2017

This article was originally emailed as our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 09/08/2017. You can view older eBulletins here and register to receive them monthly.

SIT-STAND-PERCH – EXPLORING THE THIRD OPTION

HeaderImage08-2017It is ironical that perching, the ‘third way’ in the sit-stand conversation, first became topical a few decades ago during discussions about standing too much! Historically, there have been many logical applications for perching in manufacturing environments as a way to reduce the standing time for machine operators and process personnel without the productivity loss which can arise from frequent changes between sitting and standing. You will also see perching stools in galleries and museums so that attendants do not have to stand for their entire shift. [read more]

FREE CONTOUR ROLLERMOUSE TRIAL

RollerMouseOfferIn conjunction with Contour Design, we are currently promoting our 30 day free trial offer. With no upfront payment, you can now try any of the Contour RollerMouse products and/or the Balance keyboard for up to thirty days before making your buying decision. The RollerMouse portfolio has been revised and extended again recently and the proven technology just keeps getting better! Simply complete the request form here and we will contact you to discuss the trial programme.

WEB UPDATE

web_designI mentioned in April that we are working on a major redesign of ergonomics.co.uk. This project has grown significantly since we first started our internal discussions and it will now draw together all our existing websites and social media as well as integrating our full portfolio of products and services. Quite an achievement! Although the strategic plan is well advanced, we are still open to design ideas. Please email us any suggestions or hyperlinks to web sites you really like. All responders will receive a PopSocket and one of you will win a Red Letter Day voucher.

ERGOEXPO, LAS VAGS

ergoexpoAs I write this, it is a short while until I fly to Las Vegas for the annual National Ergonomics Conference & ErgoExpo. For more than ten years, I have come to recognise the quizzical look that greets the statement ‘I have to go to Las Vegas for a conference’, but I really do not like the city much. Despite the excellent restaurants and proximity to the Grand Canyon, the ‘delights’ of 24 hour gambling and drinking hold little appeal. However, I look forward to interesting presentations and meeting old and new friends. The views and approaches will certainly be different from Paris! Expect a blog in September.


Sit-Stand-Perch – Exploring the Third Option

August 9, 2017

WDMheader2016-04It is ironical that perching, the ‘third way’ in the sit-stand conversation, first became topical a few decades ago during discussions about standing too much!

Historically, there have been many logical applications for perching in manufacturing environments as a way to reduce the standing time for machine operators and process personnel without the productivity loss which can arise from frequent changes between sitting and standing. You will also see perching stools in galleries and museums so that attendants do not have to stand for their entire shift. The principal benefits of perching in such situations are an open pelvic angle for better spinal posture; reduced risk of slouching thereby encouraging better breathing; quicker and easier transition to standing height which can impact productivity and, in customer-facing applications, better eye-contact with others who are standing.

There are several ways of achieving a perching posture in an office application and chair designers and manufacturers have created many innovative approaches to the topic – with varying degrees of success! This article will not be an analysis of these different approaches but I will use three office-focused designs to illustrate the diversity available and help you to make your own decisions or, at least, ask the right questions. It is quite possible that other chair promoters and manufacturers will respond with ‘why mine is best’ comments below! As always, my advice is to beware of advertising disguised as advice.

muvmanFor a modern approach to the traditional ‘bus stop’ perch, the Muvman provides a simple, comfortable seat with a spring in the height-adjustable stem and a patented movable joint in the base. This allows a dynamic sitting posture with natural movement which most people find ‘surprisingly comfortable’. The only adjustment is for gas-stem height and, for stability, the base has no castors and is quite heavy.

 

twizzy_saddle_seatThe saddle stool concept is widely available in a range of shapes and sizes. This sort of seating is popular with dentists, podiatrists and in some manufacturing environments but less common in offices. The saddle posture allows the user to sit at, typically, 50-70% of standing height but it is important to specify a gas stem that will go high enough (this may not be the default option). For anatomical reasons, an adjustable forward tilt will usually be desirable for male users. It is also important to note that it is not easy to judge what shape saddle any individual will prefer. Over the years, we have experimented on the basis or male/female pelvis shape, buttock width and thigh girth – without arriving at any reliable conclusions! If you are purchasing for an individual, be sure to carry out a trial first and if you are buying for multiple users, choose a mixture of models. Be aware, also, that some users simply cannot live with the saddle concept.

HAG Capisco back-to-backThe Capisco has been established for many years and takes a very different approach. With a suitably high gas stem, this chair offers traditional sitting, saddle-style sitting and reverse sitting (with the chair back supporting the sternum).  Some employers also use these with fixed-height high desks, adding a foot ring to allow a traditional sitting posture at height. For employers who want dynamic sitting and a stylish, unique look, Capisco can be used as a single solution to the sit-perch-stand approach.

Other models, each with their own story, can be viewed on our web site here.

It is also worth considering how such models can be deployed. Many may require both a traditional chair and a perching stool/chair. Do you have enough space? Alternatively, can you provide sit-stand (or stand only) desks without a traditional chair and just the sit-perch option?

As always, it is essential to ensure that, whatever configuration you decide on is fully supported by quality training.


WDM Newsletter – July/August 2017

July 24, 2017

This article was originally emailed as our monthly Workplace Design & Management newsletter at 11:00 on 20/07/2017. You can view older newsletters here and register to receive them monthly.

AN INTERNATIONAL WORKFORCE
Impacting engagement across multiple cultures

WDMheader2017-07This month I have been looking at health and safety legislation in multiple territories. This conversation then extended into looking at other roles with multinational responsibility and thinking about how different organisations approach cultural diversity. It is hard enough to address all the issues affecting engagement in a single country, so overlaying cultural conflicts adds an order of magnitude to the challenge. This is especially so when the parent company has a very different national culture and assumes it can simply be overlaid on every other territory worldwide! Are you and your organisation especially good at both recognising and integrating cultural diversity – or is this a problem you are currently facing? I want to explore this further and welcome any contributions, questions or ideas. In the first instance, please email me to join the conversation.

RENDEZVOUS
Design: Jason Lansdale

rendezvousAs offices start to look like hotel lounges and hotel lounges become work hubs, specific themes and approaches emerge. New product concepts appear and, within weeks, every manufacturer has its own interpretation of the same idea! Once that has happened, it becomes a personal choice for style, quality and function.Rendezvous is my favourite product in its niche, offering a choice of high sitting or standing in a variety of configurations. For co-working and ABW – or just somewhere for a quiet cup of coffee – it is available to accommodate 4-12 people with a choice of screen heights and finishes. If you are thinking about extending your range of standing height work areas, especially in an agile office environment, this could be the ideal alternative, or complement, to sit-stand desks (see below).

SIT-STAND SEMINARS & SESSIONS
Separating fact from fiction

sit-stand-multiIn May, I mentioned the current interest in my ‘Is it true what they say about Millennials?’ presentation and, since then, there have been several enquiries about my newly updated ‘Putting things in perspective’ sit-stand presentation. It is clear that many organisations, including some who are well advanced with a sit-stand implementation programme, are unsure about the use of sit-stand desks and the messages surrounding them. As Mark Eltringham says in his recent Workplace Matters interview (see below), we all need to be aware of a ‘fallacious and distorted narrative’. I agree! If you are looking for a one-hour session (as a seminar or webinar) that puts this narrative into perspective, please contact me.

WORKPLACE MATTERS
Information on the move

workplace_mattersI am a podcast enthusiast: I find they are a valuable source of both entertainment and education. My latest discovery is Workplace Matters by Ian Ellison of 3edges. Addressing an enormous variety of subjects in workplace design, culture and engagement, Ian interviews thought leaders from a variety of backgrounds. The discussions are wide ranging and stimulating with lots of valuable ideas and references. A word of warning though! As I discovered when I was driving, you will probably need to listen a second time to take notes (and that is no bad thing). Find it on iTunes or Acast.


Osmond Ergonomics eBulletin July 2017

July 14, 2017

This article was originally emailed as our monthly eBulletin at 11:30 on 12/07/2017. You can view older eBulletins here and register to receive them monthly.

A PARIS PERSPECTIVE:

HeaderImage07-2017
My recent visit to Paris for the Préventica exhibition was an exhilarating experience but this was not because of the products on display. In the ergonomics section, I had seen them all before, either in the UK or at other international exhibitions.  The exhilaration came from the freshness and youth of the industry. [more]

EX-DEMO CHAIRS:

demo_chair_stockWith our company year end just behind us, we are conscious of the need to update our demo stock and clear redundant samples. Chairs, in particular, seem to propagate in the warehouse! To create space and, perhaps, give you the chance to buy an excellent chair for your home, we have created this inventory.  Since mentioning this in my May eBulletin, we have added a few more to the list and dropped some prices. Warranty periods vary from product to product but all are outstanding value and several are even offered below our cost price.

YOU WAIT A WHILE AND THREE COME AT ONCE!

3keyboards250pxLike buses, mini keyboards seem to arrive in batches. This month, we have three new products from three different manufacturers. Each has a very different evolutionary history and application. The new Bluetooth and wired Ultraboard from Bakker Elkhuizen has evolved from the highly successful Sboard/Saturnus which has been a mainstay of our portfolio for several years. The Balance keyboard from Contour complements their RollerMouse products exceptionally well and, finally, the new Wireless K360 from Logitech provides a quality, compact RF wireless product to fill the gap created since the demise of the Microsoft Arc. See them all here.

INTERNATIONAL LEGISLATION:

global_legislationA close friend and colleague has recently given me access to an outstanding document which outlines the legislation relating to occupational health and safety in 41 countries. This provides real insight into the diversity of statutory and legislative requirements. Did you know, for instance, that onsite workstation assessments are a requirement in countries like Singapore, Switzerland and South Africa, as well as the UK (and many others)? Or that, in China, personnel must be trained and pass a test in work safety before being ‘assigned to post’? If you are working in multiple markets and would like to discuss this further, please contact me.

WORKPLACE ASSESSORS – UPDATE:

assessorThank you to the many who replied to our recent request for UK workplace assessors. We have been delighted with both the number and quality of applicants. For the time being, we have almost completed the process but there are still a few UK areas where we need better cover. For these areas, we are now only considering ad hoc self-employed personnel but, if you are interested in joining our team on this basis, please send your CV to Heike Kluever-Littlewood.


Workplace Ergonomics – a Paris Perspective

July 11, 2017

Preventica2017My recent visit to Paris for the Preventica exhibition was an exhilarating experience but this was not because of the products on display. In the ergonomics section, I had seen them all before, either in the UK or at other international exhibitions.

The exhilaration came from the freshness and youth of the industry. I spent some time talking to one exhibitor who believes that France is 10 years behind the UK in terms of attitudes to, and understanding of, the benefits of ergonomics in the workplace. Despite this immaturity, some of the companies are already well-established: another exhibitor reminded me of a conversation we had 8 years ago when he had just set up his organisation.

I also found it entertaining to (privately) compare the exhibitors I saw with equivalent UK companies! Some come from a medical background, others are really focussed on customer service whilst others look to rapid growth and national coverage as fast as possible. This is an interesting challenge in France, which has a very similar population to the UK but more than 2.5 times the area. Others are looking to disrupt the existing occupational health workstation assessment model since this is currently very expensive for French employers.

This exhilaration reminded me that, in some areas of UK ergonomics, I think our level of development now complicates matters unnecessarily. Computer mice are a good example of this: I am quite envious of those markets where you can offer just a small selection of computer mice (which, between them, cover nearly all issues), instead of having to carry a wide portfolio of input devices to address every customer demand, belief, prejudice and expectation.

shutterstock_121706023_MAZEAt the same time, I know it is hard work to establish credibility and reputation in a new market. I am probably too long in the tooth to start that again! In a developing market, I would offer end users just one tip – beware of advertising disguised as advice!


WDM Newsletter – June 2017

June 19, 2017

This article was originally emailed as our monthly Workplace Design & Management newsletter at 11:00 on 15/06/2017. You can view older newsletters here and register to receive them monthly.

INTERNET OF THINGS OR INTERNET OF SERVICES?
Exploring Smart Buildings and Smart Occupiers

WDMheader2017-06The ThinkFM Conference 2017 explored how technology impacts the role of the Facilities Manager and, indeed, the entire workforce. There is no doubt that connectivity and wireless technology in its many incarnations – the Internet of Things (IoT) – is making it easier to monitor buildings and equipment as well as anticipate faults. This improves preventative maintenance and many workplace services dramatically. Much more interesting to me was how much may be achieved by monitoring people as well! We are already familiar with occupancy monitors and wearable technology that can assess our steps, posture and heart rate. [more]

EVA CHAIR
Responsible, innovative and beautiful

eva_chairThe new Eva from Orangebox places the company firmly in the premier league of international seating and furniture manufacturers. I was privileged to be part of a small focus group to see and comment on the concept in the last few weeks before its launch. It is very clear that enormous attention has been paid to every facet of its development and construction. The sleek, minimalist profile creates an elegant chair and aids its outstanding sustainability story. Simultaneously, the simple, intuitive controls combine with a wide adjustability range to maximise comfort. Contact us to experience the chair yourself.

THOUGHTS FROM CLERKENWELL DESIGN WEEK 2017
There is more to Wellbeing than fabulous furniture

wellbeing2The buzzword at CDW 2017 was Wellbeing. I am delighted to see that the designers of mainstream workplace environments are recognising the importance of Human Factors and Ergonomics (HF&E) but we know that issues to consider under the Wellbeing heading are numerous and diverse, extending way beyond the provision of comfortable, attractive furniture. We see mental health as a major cause for concern for many of our clients so it is important to address this alongside physical health and employee engagement for a successful, productive workforce. [more]

WEBINARS & EVENTS
Education & training opportunities

webinarHave you looked at our event diary recently? We run regular webinars alongside periodic training and education events on topics relevant to senior managers in all organisations. Whether you are in Facilities, HR, Health & Safety or Procurement, there will be subjects that resonate with your current priorities. Recent webinar sessions include ‘Is it true what they say about Millennials?’ and ‘Zero Inbox – the Basics of Email Management’. Many events are free! Check the page regularly to see what else we have added.


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