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3 Reasons Why Your Office Chair Fabric Matters

3 Reasons Why Your Chair Fabric Matters by Harris WorkSystems

1. Aesthetics –

The look of a chair is one of the first things people notice when walking into a room. The fabric colors, pattern, and material used can make a difference in how prestigious or inviting a room may feel. The office chair must look good as well as be highly durable, as it is one of the most used pieces in the office. Unfortunately, the look is not everything. The fabric that is selected has to be durable, functional, and meet the needs of the user, which brings us to number two, durability.

2. Durability & Application –

Since the office chairs are one of the most used pieces in an office, the fabrics that we recommend are rated for 75k to over 500k double rubs (abrasion testing). What do double rubs mean and how is the fabric tested? Check out this video of the Wyzenbeek Test: Durability Test. The fabric is tested by rubbing it until it breaks. That breaking point is how double rub is determined. So, when you want that visually appealing fabric with birds (or a pretty pattern) on it to wrap your next seat, make sure it is rated accordingly. ...  Read More

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The Real Meaning of Ergonomics and Ergonomic Furniture

What does it really mean to be ergonomic2

Ergonomics, the word, may soon suffer the same fate as “natural” if we’re not careful. Have you noticed how much “natural” food there is? It turns out, it doesn’t mean much of anything. That’s because the standards are so vague that a lot of decidedly unnatural seeming foods bear the label. So it’s more of a marketing term than anything else.

Ergonomic furniture, in many cases, is sold like natural food. The word is slapped on ergonomic chairs and desks that are sold in big boxes in big box stores to people with aching backs and necks who seek relief. Instead, they usually get a substandard chair with a confusing array of adjustable knobs and levers plus scant instructions on how to properly use all that intimidating hardware. And nobody tells them that that ergonomic chair in itself is not the panacea – it’s just a small part of a process that adds up to an ergonomic lifestyle in an ergonomic workspace.

At Harris Work Systems, we just shake our heads – the ones we keep perched atop our relaxed necks and shoulders (because we work in real ergonomic offices) – and sigh.

So What Does Ergonomic Really Mean? 

First of all, ergonomic is two Greek words glued together: ergon meaning work, and nomos meaning laws or customs. So it’s the study of work customs. Which doesn’t do us much good. So let’s dive deeper.

If you Google ergonomics you’ll get this: “The study of people’s efficiency in their working environment.” Which sounds like, well, a work efficiency study – but lots of things can affect that. For instance, caffeine. Or rousing music. Google appears to have phoned this definition in, so we’ll rate it: fairly pathetic.

Diving a little deeper, down to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, we discover: “ergonomics is an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely.” This makes it sound as though they’re equally interested in the user’s and the thing’s safety. Desks don’t get repetitive stress syndrome; still, we’ll rate this a solid: on the right track.

Finally, OSHA, which has to deal with the results of the lack of ergonomics, puts it this way: “Ergonomics is the science of designing the job to fit the worker, rather than physically forcing the worker’s body to fit the job. Adapting tasks, work stations, tools, and equipment to fit the worker can help reduce physical stress on a worker’s body and eliminate many potentially serious, disabling work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).”

Bingo. The work environment fits the person and not the other way around. That’s our philosophy – except that we take it just one, very important step further.

You’re the Ergonomic Epicenter of Our World

At Harris WorkSystems, we like to add the missing ingredient to OSHA’s definition of ergonomics – you. Exactly, uniquely you. Why? To answer this, let’s look at the clothing industry.

A long time ago, when clothing became a mass produced item, designers noticed something important – human beings come in all different sizes and proportions. So as much as they may have wanted to, clothing manufacturers simply couldn’t make one size of clothing to fit everyone.

It’s the same with ergonomic chairs, ergonomic desks, ergonomic workstations, and ergonomic offices – and ergonomic lifestyles. You are tall or short, large, medium or lean, have a long or short torso, long or short limbs, and lots of other bodily attributes that are different from the person next to you. You also have a different lifestyle. You are athletic or not so much. You like to stand a lot or you prefer to sit more. You have perfect posture (in which case you are a rare person, indeed) and are pain-free. Or you come with a few bodily twists and turns and their attendant aches.

Be in the Best Shape – No Matter What shape You Are

Whoever you are and whatever shape you come in, there are ergonomic solutions that will fit you precisely and help you improve and maintain your postural health. Our job is to help you find the solutions that fit your body type, your work style, your preferences, and any physical difficulties you may have. In other words, were the antidote to buying ergonomics in a box. Rather than sell furniture on a one-size-fits-all basis, we help you discover the one ergonomic chair, ergonomic desk, and other ergonomic furniture that is just right for you. To achieve this, we start by listening and learning about you and your needs, and then find the ergonomic furniture and accessories that fit you, uniquely.

We have a lot of ergonomic tools to choose from, including:

  • Ergonomic chairs
  • Ergonomic desks
  • Ergonomic workstations
  • Height adjustable desks
  • Height adjustable chairs
  • Sit to stand desks
  • Standing chairs
  • Active seating options
  • Oh, lots more..!

Your Ergonomic Furniture Comes with an Ergonomic Team

Our expertise doesn’t stop at ergonomic furniture; that’s just the starting block. We like to help you become the healthiest you. To achieve that, you need to know how to adjust your ergonomic furniture to fit you. We’ll show you how – and we guarantee you’ll feel the healthy, relaxing difference. Plus, we’ll help you discover the right sitting and standing postures for you.

If you live or work close to us, we invite you to come in for a one-on-one ergonomic fitting. If you live farther away, there’s a questionnaire on our website that helps us understand your needs better, so we can recommend the best ergonomic options for you. Above all, we love it when you call us to discuss your unique needs. Because all of our trained staff possess the most essential ergonomic tools of all – we’re all ergonomic ears.

We Provide Whole Body Health…In the Shape of Ergonomic Office Furniture

At Harris Worksystems, your wellbeing has been our reason for being since our very beginning in 1992. We’re the experts at finding individually fitted ergonomic solutions that help you work and live in better health. For more information, check out our website at: Or better yet, give us a call at: 1-(800)-577-4797. We’ll be happy to answer all your questions. Here’s to a healthier you!

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That’s a chair!?

swopper lifestyle 1

You see them everywhere now; odd shaped sometimes springy office chairs more often than not with a higher price tag then a standard office chair. So what is the deal? Are these chairs just a fad? Companies capitalizing on our desire to be more fit or do they actually do our bodies some good?

I decided to try one out for a week. One of the benefits of working at an ergonomic furniture company is that there are always different chairs to try out!

As with most of the unique styled chairs the BackApp is advertised as: improves your posture, exercise while sitting, ensures less back pain, and burns at least 19% more energy.

It did take some getting used to. There is no back or arms and  when the red ball is adjusted out all of the way it sure does keep you moving. After day two of sitting on it I did notice that was sitting up straighter and that the pain I had been having in-between my shoulder blades were gone.

It has a tractor seat which makes sitting on it with a skirt problematic. If this was going to be a forever chair and you were a fan of pencil skirts then you may need to rethink either your wardrobe or chair choice.

Overall this is a solid chair and it doubles as a conversation piece. My back does honestly feel much better although I’m still adjusting to the saddle style of seat. It has helped me to stand up more as well. Whenever the saddle irritates me I just switch to standing. Everyone will want to try out your odd your looking chair!

Closing thoughts: Don’t judge a chair by its appearance. If you have the chance try one of these out or something similar. If anything they are fun!

You can find more information on the benefits of these style chairs here.

If you are in our neck of the woods (Tigard, Oregon) we have this and many other chairs like this one available to try out.

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Sit or Stand? Why both of course!

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You see the competing articles everywhere: “Sitting is the new smoking”, “Standing All Day is Twice as Bad as Sitting for Your Heart”. Everyday there is a new article telling you that one or the other of these work methods is dangerously horrible for you. So what do you do?

Here are the simple facts: The average person spends around 12 hours of their day sitting.  This means that for half of the day their minds are active, but their bodies are sedentary. This time includes driving, working, eating, and watching TV.

Standing all day is not the answer to this problem. Your body needs to move throughout the day. It is surprising how just standing and walking more throughout the day can increase your energy.  The general consensus is that you should alternate between standing and sitting every 30 minutes.  That can be hard to remember to do when you are absorbed in your work.

“The best position is the next position. Always keep moving throughout the day!”

Here are some of the tools we use here to give us a little nudge to stand:

Outlook calendar alerts. Set yourself a task reminder that will make an alert window pop up.

Not a fan of Outlook? No problem,  I recently tried out Orzeszek Timer. It is a light weight program that keeps a small window on your desktop.

You can set any amount of time from seconds to hours; when your time is up, the window flashes at you.

You do not need a sit-to-stand base on your desk to accomplish this, but it sure does help! I have a HAT base under my surface and I love it. I just push a button and up it goes. Being able to switch my desk height on a whim has really improved my health and productivity.  Before my sit/stand when I would feel sluggish I would reach for the coffee. Now I stand and shake off the fatigue. When my back starts to feel achy half way through the day I just stand for 20 minutes and stretch out. It really took a couple of weeks to notice the difference, but I feel like I have more energy at the end of the day.

If you do not have the ability to switch to a full sit-to-stand workstation there are other options for you. The Volante unit for example sits on your desk and you can raise it with a lever. It is very portable!

If you are not in the market for new equipment or just want to see how you like working while standing, try a sturdy moving box or find a counter to work at. The most important thing is that you continue to move throughout the day. Small changes to your routine can make a large impact on your life: move your printer farther from you to force yourself to get up, take short ten minute walks around your building, if appropriate walk over to your co-worker to ask a question instead of emailing them. You will feel better and your work life will improve with your new energy boost.

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Color Psychology

endurance epu home

Do the colors in your office affect your productivity? General studies believe that it does. Whether you take the result to heart or not is up to you but it is fun to think about!

In her book The Beginner’s Guide to Colour Psychology Angela Wright delves into how different colors can make us feel and what colors you should have around you based on your tasks. If you can get a hold of the book you should give it a read. It was published in 1998 so you may not align with some of her observations in the current time but the general premises and color quiz was still quite fun. I found a copy in our local library.

In the book she goes over how the primary colors are tied to different parts of us: blue – mind, yellow – emotion, red – body, green – balance.

How does that tie into your office?

If you are engaged in very detailed work and need high productivity you may want to have some blue around.  That does not mean everything in your office needs to be blue remember balance is important too.

Yellow is a bright creative color suited for the design community.

Red is the color for physical work e.g. construction or a gym.

Green provides balance and calming.

Getting a color that is a mix of the primaries will provide the best from both of their worlds!

Remember when planning your office space to consider what type of work you want to accomplish. Do not default to whites and beige unless you can add fun splashes of color to your furniture or decorations.

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