Desk, chair and computer – nothing more is needed for an office workplace. Many still think this and are greatly mistaken. Numerous investigations and studies have clearly shown that a well conceived office concept distinctly increases the work performance, massively reduces the number of sick leave days and significantly improves the feeling of satisfaction of the employees. There are various good approaches for this; one of them is the method of body-centered working.
Body-centered working (BCW) describes a method where the PC-based office workplaces are designed so that they accommodate to different pre-requisites and needs.
The natural need for movement, balance and variety has not changed over the past decades. Improved software and hardware however often makes movement superfluous.
The method body-centered working contributes towards more body awareness at the workplace and shows how behaviour and proportion prevention lead to greater health when brought together. Thereby workplaces are created where one can work with high concentration and in a way that is friendly towards the back. The goal thereby: to remain healthy in spite of permanent pressure.
Three steps are necessary to implement the concept in practice:
Once these three steps have been completed the implementation is undertaken and here there are 5 elements that turn a conventional office workplace into a highly effective, back friendly and health promoting workplace.
1. Flexible monitor arm
Depending on the body posture and work task it must allow optimum centering, displacement and tipping towards the line of sight. This avoids tedious looking back and forth or squinting one's eyes. The monitor can be flexibly adjusted to the respective work task. In addition the monitor can also be spontaneously used standing up as projection surface during a meeting.
Lecterns are often also known as document or concept holders. With the help of a corresponding holder paper documents can be arranged between monitor and keyboard so that they are in the line of sight and are always easy to read. Through this the head does not need to be turned, tension and other health problems in the neck and shoulder areas disappear.
Ideal are lecterns and document holders whose angle is flexibly adjustable without screw connection and which manage without further technical fittings.
3. Keyboard and mouse
Investigations have shown how important it is that when using the keyboard the hands are not twisted towards the inside. It is also decisive that the distance between the hands can be varied during typing. Ideal is a keyboard that allows individual postures – depending on whether someone is typing with ten fingers or only with two.
The ideal mouse is a so-called roller mouse that is centrally placed below the keyboard. Thereby the input devices remain in the centre of work and in the line of sight and the danger of tension in the neck muscles is reduced.
Keyboard and mouse should be coordinated with the needs of the individual. If a roller mouse is not possible a keyboard that is as narrow as possible with separate numeric pad should be used. The further an ergonomic mouse is positioned towards the keyboard the lower the tension for the neck muscles.
4. Table arm support
If e-mails are more frequently used at the office than phone calls then instead of a chair arm support a table arm support may be an advantage. It is proven to reduce the tone of the shoulder-neck muscles and reduces unfavourable hand posture when writing and operating the roller mouse. It must be possible to easily and safely attach it to the table and must not cause any pressure points.
5. Walking while standing
Independent of how ergonomic an office chair is – frequent change from sitting to standing at the office is very important for the health of the back. Height adjustable desks or other office furniture have long since accommodated to this.
Standing activities should however be largely organised dynamically. Here a so-called foot-leg activation board can provide additional movement impulses. This is a convexly curved floor plate that allows tipping movements towards both sides.
Through the skeletonised construction it allows a twisting that makes walking movements possible while standing. The twisting movements are on the one hand so intensive that the muscle chains from the sole of the foot up to the neck muscles are stimulated and on the other hand so small that concentrated work continues to be possible.
When standing on the activation board exactly those deep lying muscles are stimulated that are responsible for us being able to walk upright through life. The more frequently they are activated the more rarely it comes to back pain.