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Are our bodies prepared for 8 or more seated work hours?

Since the first half of the XX century, the way of working for many people begin to evolve enormously. The office as the workspace takes a relevant place, and with time, more and more people spent hours there. And with the revolution of informatics and computer sciences, many jobs that use to be made manually were replaced by skilled professionals seated in front of a personal computer.

Eames Ribbed Office Chair. Mid Century Modern Furniture.
The style of Mid Century Modern furniture made shape to the work office

This new way of life brought many benefits for all. Jobs that used to be physically exhausting, or even dangerous, became safe and routine. Many people could work better and be more productive, at least in a short term.

Nevertheless, every move forward has risks and challenges. Indeed, we work now in a more comfortable way, safer and more productive than our past generations, but facing new risks to our health that should be addressed, and posing different threats to our wellbeing.

There is growing medical and scientific evidence about the risks of prolonged seated. As we all know, our body is not prepared to be static, hour after hour, seated in front of a desk and a monitor. This is a requirement of modern times, contrasting with millennials and millennials of generations living in a more active and dynamic way of life (although more dangerous, too).

But for our precious body, the time hasn’t passed; and our spine, our muscles, and our bones resent the continuous strain that comes from rigidness and bad postures in a prolonged sitting.

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, people nowadays tend to be seated at an average of 11 hours daily, which is too much for our bodies.  Medical studies show that there are risks associated with sedentarism that include diabetes, heart diseases, or even cancer. So, we require some measures to prevent these threats.

  • A balanced workday. It’s imperative to reduce the prolonged lapses of time seated. Every 45 minutes, the employee should stand and stretch. An important fraction of the work hours must be stand. There is office furniture designed to allow the employee to work seated and stand in the same place (stand workstations).
  • Use an ergonomic chair and take care of your posture. As the National Health Service of England indicates, there are two tips to consider if we want to prevent the potential harm to our body, of been seated too many hours daily. First of all: we must protect our spine with spinal support in our chair. Second: The chair should be adjusted to the ergonomics of our body, more exactly, the height, back position, and tilt.

Alright, I will stand up much more now. But what can I do while I am seated?

To be seated it’s not a crime, of course, is a natural choice while we do some office work. Prolonged seating is the threat that has to be avoided. While you’re seated is important to maintain a good posture throughout the whole workday.

A good posture when you’re sitting and working consists of

  • Maintain always contact between your back and the back cushion
  • Keep lumbar spine support
  • Position your hips slightly above your knees.
  • Your feet should rest entirely on the floor.
  • Be sure of leaving some separation between the back of your knees and the end of the chair seat
  • Keep your arms relaxed in right angle, at both sides of your PC or laptop.
  • Keep your monitor high, so your head and eyes don’t be forced down.

These simple tips will help you to keep your body seated for longer periods of time, mitigating the natural fatigue. Nevertheless, to be seated in an ergonomic chair will help you. A lot.

Since the beginnings of the XX Century, Mid Century Modern chairs made ergonomics one of the main principles to design work chairs. Indeed, famous Mid Century Modern designers like Charles Eames or Niels Diffrient are the creators of what we call the modern office chair.

Working in elements like lumbar support, height, reclining mechanism, these creative geniuses made a superb combination of mechanical techniques, medical and scientific studies, to find a balanced device that allows you to spend the most time seated with the less amount of damage.

Examples of these design achievements are the Eames Office Chair, and the Freedom Office Chair, both, classic examples of Mid Century Modern furniture.

But what did Mid Century Modern Chairs to change the world of office?

It’s not exaggerated to state that Mid Century Modern style created the modern office. Not only in its main furniture elements, like the chair or tables but in the principles that were used to develop the whole concept of a modern office. Purpose over design, Ergonomics, affordable materials, efficiency; quality at an industrial scale; were some of the principles above every office element were redesigned.

The role itself of the designer has a major shift, from a very qualified artist with deep knowledge of its materials and its craftsmanship, to a new role, more rational, as someone capable of combine all the technical aspects of manufacturing, plus a special sense of aesthetics and purpose. Engineering, economics, art and medical sciences were combined in one single design, to obtain what Le Corbusier named as “extension of the human limbs”.

Ergonomic choices in Mid Century Modern Chairs for a better workday

Eames Office Ribbed Chair

Eames Office Ribbed Chair. Mid Century Modern Furniture
Eames Office Ribbed Chair. Mid Century Modern Furniture. Available in Barcelona Designs.

A classic of Design, from one of the most influential designers in the last century. The Eames Office Ribbed Chair is part of the series Management, and it helped to develop what today is considered the finest elements in ergonomics and productivity in furniture.

In this model, the main ergonomics requirements for a good performance: suspension, height control, back support and comfort, are addressed within a comprehensive design, with nothing left aside. The suspension counts on its ribbed, flexible pocket material, that gives you support according to your moves and weight. The height adjustment is controlled by a manual swivel or a pneumatic system, depending on the user’s preferences. With a surface of Aniline Leather, a premium top grain material, the comfort element is assured, making the use of an Eames Management Chair a pleasant and productive experience made to last.

Jive High Back Office Chair

Jive
JIve High Back Office Chair. Mid Century Modern Furniture.

A chair made to last through dynamic workdays. Jive is made to clerk levels in need of an effective response. Suspension is handled through a vinyl padded back. Mobility is guaranteed with its five dual-wheel casters, capable of easy displacement either in a carpet or on the floor. The height control is operated by a pneumatic adjustment system. With a vivid palette of colors, is ideal for high traffic environments.

Edge Leather Office Chair

Edge Leather Office Chair
Edge Leather Office Chair. Mid Century Modern furniture.

Functional and integrated, from a clear Mid Century Modern design, the smart design of the Edge Leather Office resumes all the ergonomics requirements of an office chair. Adjustable seat height, a distinctive sleek back support, and a very comfortable sponge seat and leather arms. The tension in the seat can be adjusted through a tension control tilt. Its base is made of silver nylon.

Escape Mid Back Office Chair

Escape Mid Back Office Chair. Mid Century Modern Furniture.
Escape Mid Back Office Chair. Mid Century Modern Furniture.

With a stunning design, this office chair provides a comfortable and complete experience aimed to improve your performance. Its distinctive feature resides in its compartmented back and headrest, that invite you to seat and work hard…or just sit and relax.  Features a full range of recline system, a height pneumatic adjustment control, and five dual casters for full movement through different surfaces. Its frame is from chromed metal. It has a palette of 6 shades of color, being the earthiest tones the most demanded.

Unico Office Chair White

Unico Office Chair White. Mid Century Modern Furniture.
Unico Office Chair White. Mid Century Modern Furniture.

A unique design for a very singular proposal. Unico is like an UltraModern style of office chair. Designed exclusively with the purpose of being the ultimate model in lumbar support. You can tell it clearly in its back, neck and head rolled cushion system. Any person that has ever suffered from back pain should feel eager to try this chair and relax for one hour, or maybe two. With adjustable height and has an adjustable tilt mechanism.

If you want to begin a NEW YOU year in 2020, and share with your teamwork the experience of better performance, you can choose any of these beautiful designs, available in Barcelona Designs, and enjoy the experience of a healthy and productive office in a Mid Century Modern Style.