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Steelcase and the New Science of Sitting at Work

How do you design a task chair when workers no longer really need either a desktop computer or a desk? Steelcase is answering that question with a Gesture – the “new sitting experience”. This ergonomic chair is designed to support the smartphone and tablet user who sits in a completely different way than yesterday’s office employee. In fact, Steelcase researchers have discovered nine postures that employees have invented over the past few years. Most of these postures are bad and the rest are worse. This means there are more ways than ever for workers to suffer pain and injury from improper positioning. The fact that employees can now work “on the go” more easily than ever isn’t improving the trend toward sitting trancelike in front of a digital screen for hours every day. In fact, being able to take technology anywhere just means people are sitting in all the wrong places to work. Steelcase wants to fix that by providing seating that actually works for the current generation.

What’s Different About Sitting Positions Today?

Many of these new positions involve bringing the arms and hands in close to the body to allow users to view the small screen while “texting” with their thumbs or “swiping” with a finger. Hunching forward and reclining far back in a slouched position are also common postures made more prevalent by mobile technology. The Gesture accommodates users who want to lean back, reach forward or draw their arms in. The chair back provides a high level of support in the reclined position while the seat is designed to be responsive to forward and backward movement. The chair arms can adjust inward at an extreme angle to provide a foundation for up close screen work. Steelcase hopes this design will give workers access to a full range of motions while limiting the effects of poor posture and fatigue.

Do you find yourself sitting and working differently with a mobile device? Read the press release from Steelcase to see if you can identify which of the 9 new postures you incorporate into your workday. You might be “Strunching” without even realizing it.


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