Steelcase Study: Soft Worksurface Edges Improve Productivity

By Karen Koenig | Posted: 03/11/2013 10:04AM

 

Feeling uncomfortable, edgy, maybe even stressed at the office? Your worksurface may be a contributing factor.

Desk workers are susceptible to not only carpal tunnel syndrome, which reports say affect 2 million people, but also arm, shoulder and neck fatigue. Resting forearms on the hard edges of desks, tables and other worksurfaces can lead to contact stress, which can exasperate the problem.

click image to zoomSteelcaseTesting showed that contract stress and fatigue were significantly lessened with the soft edge. A recent study commissioned by Steelcase and conducted by the University of Washington found that “soft edges on worksurfaces ease pressure on the forearms by disturbing the load over a larger, more compliant surface. That’s good for arteries, tendons and nerves – and can positively affect mindsets, too.”

“We have nerves, arteries and tendons near the surface of our forearms. Reducing contact stress is considered beneficial because too much contact stress can affect circulation and may ultimately affect health,” the white paper quotes Peter Johnson, an associate professor in the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences department at the University of Washington.

Steelcase is among the manufacturers responding to this need by developing low-profile, replaceable soft edges for desks and other worksurfaces. “Our goal was to create an edge that was decidedly soft in its performance, but deliberately crisp in its visuals and geometry,” said Brett Kincaid, who headed up the design team that developed Steelcase’s Soft Edge Universal Worksurface.

In addition to the ergonomic and health benefits, use of a soft edge worksurface also may result in greater productivity in the workplace – a perk for both employees and employers alike.

Click here to read Steelcase's white paper: Taking the Edge Off Work

Click here for the Business & Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association's (BIFMA) product safety and performance standards for office furniture

Click here to read OSHA's Tips: Ergonomic Solutions for Desks and Worksurfaces

 

About the Author

Karen M. Koenig

Karen M. Koenig has more than 25 years of experience in the woodworking industry, including visits to wood products manufacturing facilities throughout North America, Europe and Asia. As Editor-in-Chief of Woodworking Network magazine (formerly Wood & Wood Products), Karen’s primary responsibilities include spearheading the writing, editing and coordinating of the editorial content of the publication, along with the Red Book resource guide and the Red Book online source and supply directory (RedBookOnline.com). She is also a frequent contributor to other Woodworking Network online and print media. She can be reached at kkoenig@woodworkingnetwork.com or Google+.

Comments (0) Leave a comment 

Name
e-Mail (required)
Location

Comment:

characters left

 

View all events >
FEB
01

Woodex

Teheran
NOV
19

Yiwu Woodwork Fair 2014

Yiwu Zhejiang
DEC
03

IIDEX Canada

Toronto , ON
Search our database for woodworking equipment, supplies and services:

Select a category:


Feedback Form
Feedback Form