What’s an uncomfortable employee like?
Not working to their full potential.
A staff member using furnishings that aren’t designed to meet them on their terms of comfort and usability is impeded. Rather than focusing on the task at hand, they’re expending some attention to fitting into a workstation or adjusting to equipment. What’s more, prolonged use of furniture that puts strain on the user adds up, causing injury (e.g. neck strain or carpal tunnel syndrome) to employees over time.
When creating new office space or refreshing a tired layout, ergonomic furniture in the workplace goes a long way to address these issues and keep workers at the top of their game.
One of the easiest – and sure-fire – ways to ensure your office furniture is meeting the ergonomic needs of your staff is by investing in ANSI/BIFMA-compliant furnishings.
Overview | ANSI/BIFMA Compliance Standards
Think of the last expensive steak you purchased to cook at home.
Chances are it had a stamp or sticker on its packaging that read “U.S.D.A. Choice” or “U.S.D.A Select.” Without saying much, that stamp lets you know the meat met safety and quality standards.
In some respects, ANSI/BIFMA-complaint office furnishings are the same. FF&E (fixtures, furniture & equipment) with the ANSI/BIFMA stamp of approval have undergone rigorous testing and other evaluations that ensure they pose no hazard to users and are optimized for use.
Though both compliances often appear together (as they are closely related) ANSI and BIFMA are distinctly different.
What is ANSI?
A non-profit organization, ANSI (the American National Standards Institute) works closely with government and industry leaders to develop standards and conformance measures that:
- Improve quality of life
- Boost consumer confidence
- Reduce costs
- Foster competition
ANSI-compliant products – which encompasses products across nearly every industry – meet a host of standards, ranging from safety to product design and performance.
What is BIFMA?
Another non-profit, BIFMA (the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association) has created a set of voluntary standards meant to promote safe working environments. While not a spinoff of ANSI, BIFMA does make designations using ANSI guidelines.
Furnishings that meet BIFMA compliance are evaluated on several key standards:
Though there’s no official certification, BIFMA-compliant FF&E are sought after because they come with a higher degree of confidence in their benefits to users.
The ANSI/BIFMA Ergonomic Equipment & Furnishings Your Office Needs
Adding ANSI/BIFMA-compliant furniture to your workplace is an investment in your bottom line by way of employee productivity and health. Put simply, happy workers work happily. Their level of comfort plays a big role in their level of workplace happiness.
When vetting ergonomic equipment suppliers for your workplace furnishings, one of your first questions should be about ANSI/BIFMA compliance. Depending on their answers, your conversations about your future relationship may be extremely short.
Once you’ve selected an office equipment supplier to partner with for your office project, talk with them about integrating these ergonomic solutions into your office design:
- Keyboard arms with trays
- Computer monitor arms
- Ergonomic chairs
- Height adjustable desks and tables
- Computer carts on wheels
Keyboard Arms & Trays
The best ergonomic keyboard arms and trays do more than simply bring a keyboard closer to the user. Advanced keyboard arms and trays provide several adjustment points that allow users to fit the piece of equipment to them rather than conform to it.
Further Reading: Correct Office Ergonomics: What’s the Best Position for a Keyboard?
Computer Monitor Arms
Walk by almost any desk in the American workplace, and these days you’ll see more than one computer monitor. However, having any number of monitors is moot when they’re tough to see or cause some discomfort.
Computer monitor arms bring mobility to a once stationary element of a workstation. With a monitor arm, a user can position a screen – or screens – to their optimal viewing position. It’s not unlike a wall-mounted flat-screen TV that’s able to be moved for viewing.
Further Reading: The Best Position for a Computer Screen in an Ergonomic Desk Setup
There’s nothing that makes a workday more uncomfortable than a chair that doesn’t offer the right level of support or cushioning.
More than a poorly positioned keyboard, a non-ergonomic chair is something an employee remembers – and won’t hesitate to talk about when getting home from work.
At worst, an ergonomic chair makes any time spent sitting down a non-event. In a best-case scenario, a sit becomes something an employee remembers for the right reasons.
Further Reading: 5 Tips for Employee Health and Safety for Sitting at Work
Height Adjustable Desks & Tables
The foundation of any workstation, desks and tables can make all the difference in a productive day. There’s nothing worse for a worker than using a desk or table that’s always at the wrong height or wrong angle.
Ergonomic desks and tables go beyond adjusting their heights within a few-inch range. Desks and tables that meet employees’ needs easily go from sitting to standing positions. In addition, they’re able to pivot to provide a slanted working surface when need be.
Sometimes using a mobile computer doesn’t mean having a laptop handy. Sometimes it means being able to bring the desktop computer with it. Common in healthcare settings and factory floors, computer carts make transporting a full computer easy. What’s more, they make using a now-portable computer user-friendly, as they feature many adjustable elements – including keyboard trays.
Further Reading: 6 Benefits of Computer Carts on Wheels for Hospitals
Ergonomic Furniture & ANSI/BIFMA Compliance: A Combo for Employee Productivity
Regardless of industry, the equipment and furnishings your employees use shouldn’t be an impediment. To that end, its functionality shouldn’t cause workers to feel uncomfortable or unnecessary strain.
Ergonomic furniture that’s ANSI/BIFMA-compliant lets you rest assured that your office is outfitted with FF&E that helps employees work to their fullest potential.
Set Your Office Up for Success With Ergonomic Furniture
Download our Manager’s Equipment Guide for a Healthy Ergonomic Office Setup today!