Can office furniture impact productivity?

23 December 2019

In terms of the impact that office furniture can have on productivity it’s fairly easy to see where this can be negative. Most of us have experienced the distracting pain of the wrong chair or eye strain that can result from a poor computer set up. But where do the positive productivity benefits arise as far as office furniture is concerned?


The perfect desk and chair design

We spend an average of almost six hours at our desks in any working day so this is by far the most crucial component in terms of office furniture. The ideal desk height is thought to be somewhere between 27 and 29 inches. However, everyone is different and so an element of customisation may be essential. That’s especially so with respect to the chair – most office chairs are made for an average person of average height and weight but may cause distracting discomfort for anyone else. If you’re keen to ensure that office furniture impacts positively on productivity then there are a number of key factors to look out for when it comes to desks and chairs, including:

  • Where do arms and elbows sit? The ideal position is that elbows should sit comfortably on the armrests of the chair or on the desk itself. Wrists should be parallel with elbows.
  • How are feet positioned on the floor? Legs should create a comfortable 90-degree angle with the feet flat on the floor to avoid pain and discomfort while sitting. Ensuring that feet are not dangling or cramped will also boost blood flow, which is essential for maintaining productivity in the workplace.
  • Is it a stretch to see the monitor? Eye strain can cause headaches and fatigue that make it difficult to remain productive at work so it’s essential to pay attention to screen position when it comes to the relationship between office furniture and productivity. Ideally, the eyes should naturally rest on the top third of the screen when in a seated position. As the day goes on and tiredness kicks in the gaze will naturally drop so this position allows for some flexibility. The screen should also be within easy reach – less than arm’s length – to avoid draining eye strain.


The need to move

Sitting for long periods of time can be detrimental in any business so it’s worth considering whether a standing desk might provide options for greater productivity and staff wellness. If not, ensuring regular breaks and exercise are taken – in combination with the right office furniture choices – can be equally as effective.


The storage question

A lot of time can be wasted searching for documents or files that have been inefficiently stored. Effective storage that is within easy reach and won’t take a negative toll on the body to access (e.g. requiring excessive reaching or bending) is essential to ensure productivity remains high. Intuitively designed storage systems also help to avoid the fatigue and time wasting that can result from being unable to find what you’re looking for.

Office furniture can have a big impact on productivity in the short and long term. The right choices will make staff more comfortable as well as able to do more.