Wow, I finally get to talk about physical ergonomics
Working in human factors, I’m expected to know about and keep up with physical ergonomics stuff, even though my interest and work is mainly concerned with ‘neck up’ cognitive ergonomics. The IEHF Linkedin page recently had a link to an interesting article on trends in workplace design. While standing desks have been around for a while, it’s a timely reminder that there are potential significant health benefits from spending a significant part of the day on your feet.
Kill your desk chair and start standing
The article goes on to mention a growing trend for treadmill and walking machines at the desk. The phenomenon is also mentioned a lot in the current Neal Stephenson book, Reamde. Neal has a reputation as a futurist and predictor of trends as well as being a good thriller writer, so there’s a good chance that this might be heading to an office near you.
Varying your posture while working looks like it might be a good thing from all sorts of health perspectives, including both fitness and weight.
How about our operators then? As it happens, variable height desks are becoming more of a feature in control rooms too. Here’s an example of a control desk that can be set to any preferred height. The first picture has a raised desk and screens, the second, a seated configuration. All motorised.
I visited the control room on a number of occasions, and each time the desks were set differently. It was obvious that the operators were actively using this facility. When I talked to them about the value of the function, they were universally in favour.
I’m also seeing exercise machines in control rooms more and more. I’ve yet to see one in front of the screens, but it can only be a matter of time.
Finally, a quick plug. As you may have noticed, I don’t tend to specifically push ABB kit, but this is highly relevant to this blog. The ABB Extended Operator Workplace, amongst many other excellent features, incorporates variable height workstations. You can see it in action here