Employers who are concerned with ergonomics realize that there are times when “adjustable” one size fits all office furniture doesn’t meet the needs of the full range of body sizes in their workforce. For very short statured employees, a standard office chair can’t adjust down as far as it needs to. The seat is also generally too long which can lead to back pain and leg numbness. Fortunately, there are a number of office furniture suppliers who now offer options for smaller people. Knowing about these furnishings can help employers create a workplace that is truly ergonomic.
Can’t You Just Buy a Kid-Sized Chair for a Smaller Worker?
Short statured employees need high-quality office furniture that is designed for adults. Chairs that are manufactured for children usually don’t put long-term comfort at the top of the list. They aren’t designed for someone who will be sitting at a desk for 8+ hours a day doing repetitive tasks like typing and phone work. Some office furniture suppliers (such as Herman Miller) will provide their chairs in custom heights for a surcharge.
Making a Regular Chair Work
Some individuals can use standard sized seating if a step is provided to make it easy to get in and out of the chair. A lumbar support or back rest may be used to shorten the distance between the back and the front edge of the seat to promote better leg circulation. A foot rest can also give employees a place to prop their feet to take the pressure off their thighs.
The ErgoChair sold through the Adaptive Living website actually offers each of these adjustable features in one package. This makes it a good candidate for situations in which you need small office furniture that is designed with the specific size and health needs of smaller employees in mind. The Capisco is another chair that is a popular choice for office workers who are shorter than average.
The Whole Workstation Needs to Accommodate the Individual
Of course, simply making a chair shorter doesn’t do much good if the worksurface is out of reach. Selecting cubicles that permit adjustment in the desk height is a good solution. Look for manufacturers who take the concept of Universal Design seriously. They are more likely to offer products that are intended to accommodate everyone regardless of height, weight or mobility level. The Planes adjustable worktable from Haworth is a good example of a flexible design.
In addition to seating and desking, the monitor height, keyboard placement, and other features of the workstation should be appropriately located for maximum comfort and ease of use. When accommodations are being made with the purchase of small office furniture, getting input from the employee who will be using these items is the best way to ensure a satisfactory outcome.