Obesity and Office Ergonomics

Obesity and Office Ergonomics

As an average employee, you spend most of your hours, sitting at the office desk, fixing your gaze on one of the multiple displays from your PC to your phone. And while you are at it, you also need something to munch on to keep you fueled. Add to it, the artificial environment viz. the stale air rotated by the air conditioner, the plastic plants decorating your office workstation and the dull white LED lights which are an attempt at replacing the natural sunlight your body actually needs. Even the lunch & tea breaks serve no benefit for you except that you fill your bellies and add to your corporate fat deposits. Minimum movements and a lot of sitting and slouching around in a relatively unhealthy environment, brews a perfect recipe for obesity. This sedentary lifestyle also leads to other health hazards such as sluggish metabolism, high blood pressure, heart conditions and a predisposition to diabetes.

Obesity also can impact self-esteem, motivation, absenteeism, premature mortality and more. To counter the growing obesity among employees, office furniture plays an important role.

Obesity and Sitting Position

Obesity leads to the formation of disproportionate dimensions of the human body, which prohibit normal basic work postures such as sitting on a desk chair or typing on a keyboard. Even the basic necessary tasks put the workers at an ergonomically unsound and high-risk position. The extra layers of adipose or fatty tissues in the buttocks and thighs form a cushion beneath their body and elevates an obese worker in their seats, causing them to sit high in a chair. This causes the chair’s lumbar to fall lower than the back and also causes the spine to tilt forward thereby preventing contact of the back with the backrest. Without enough support to the lower back, the lower spine flattens causing the shoulders to droop forward and the pelvis to rotate backward, such that the tailbone curves down under the body. This slouch introduces added stress on the lower back and pelvis, upper back, shoulders, and neck, already stressed by the excess body weight.

What is a proper seating posture?

  • The chair height should be such that your feet stay flat on the floor and your knees are in line or slightly lower with your hips
  • The sitting posture should be straight with your chest and hips stretching out
  • The back of the chair should be reclined at an approximate angle of 100,110 degrees
  • The sitting position should be an arm's length away from our computer screen
  • The shoulders should be relaxed while typing

While even the best ergonomic chair can only be helpful when the posture is correct, the problem in sitting can be resolved using the right kind of office table and chair set. An ergonomic chair with intuitive controls auto corrects your posture so that you do not take extra efforts to keep your body right. A chair with a higher load-bearing capacity and a more open seating space should be made available for optimum support along with the desired comfort. The lumbar support should be movable in order to custom position it to contact the lower back curve surface when set at a  . The armrest should also have enough height leverage as obese people tend to sit higher and may need the armrest at a higher altitude to place their arms.

Obesity and Typing

Obese workers frequently encounter discomfort while using the keyboard as compared to normal-weight individuals. This is because their arms and wrists are surrounded by the excess fat which obstructs the way to smoother functioning and swift movements. While sitting, an obese person’s shoulders are in an   position with upper arms and elbows angled away from the body rather than staying perpendicular to the floor. Whenever using the keyboard, the obese individual will have to angle their wrists in an awkward position such that the forearm muscles are stretched out and the tendons are squeezed because of the wrist angle. Over a period of time, the tendons in the elbow and wrist may sustain injuries.

Physiologists have always been of the opinion that standing up about every 20 minutes, even for only a minute or two, reduces your risks of developing diabetes and heart disease. By occasionally standing in your place, you allow the big muscles in your legs and back to contract, leading to an increase in certain enzymes that break up fat in the blood stream. An additional perk of standing/moving up every 20 to 30 minutes is that your body burns calories, so you don’t gain as much weight from sitting at the office most of the day.

Height adjustable desks can be effective for such postural difficulties. Employees can work alternating between sitting and standing. They give greater flexibility to the user to adjust the keyboard position by adjusting the table itself thereby avoiding the need to adjust and twist your arms and pronate your wrists. Height Adjustable tables can adjust the desk to view their screens at an optimal angle.

Height adjustable desks can be effective for such postural difficulties. Employees can work alternating between sitting and standing. They give greater flexibility to the user to adjust the keyboard position by adjusting the table itself thereby avoiding the need to adjust and twist your arms and pronate your wrists. Height adjustable table can adjust the desk to view their screens at an optimal angle.

The Height adjustable desks from HNI India support a range of different working styles and positions for obese people, allowing them to work both at sitting and standing heights. HNI is the world’s leading office furniture manufacturer for ergonomic furnitures to suit all body types. If you are looking for an ergonomic office chair, office tables, or any other office furniture, visit HNI India.