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The Real Meaning of Ergonomics and Ergonomic Furniture

What does it really mean to be ergonomic2

Ergonomics, the word, may soon suffer the same fate as “natural” if we’re not careful. Have you noticed how much “natural” food there is? It turns out, it doesn’t mean much of anything. That’s because the standards are so vague that a lot of decidedly unnatural seeming foods bear the label. So it’s more of a marketing term than anything else.

Ergonomic furniture, in many cases, is sold like natural food. The word is slapped on ergonomic chairs and desks that are sold in big boxes in big box stores to people with aching backs and necks who seek relief. Instead, they usually get a substandard chair with a confusing array of adjustable knobs and levers plus scant instructions on how to properly use all that intimidating hardware. And nobody tells them that that ergonomic chair in itself is not the panacea – it’s just a small part of a process that adds up to an ergonomic lifestyle in an ergonomic workspace.

At Harris Work Systems, we just shake our heads – the ones we keep perched atop our relaxed necks and shoulders (because we work in real ergonomic offices) – and sigh.

So What Does Ergonomic Really Mean? 

First of all, ergonomic is two Greek words glued together: ergon meaning work, and nomos meaning laws or customs. So it’s the study of work customs. Which doesn’t do us much good. So let’s dive deeper.

If you Google ergonomics you’ll get this: “The study of people’s efficiency in their working environment.” Which sounds like, well, a work efficiency study – but lots of things can affect that. For instance, caffeine. Or rousing music. Google appears to have phoned this definition in, so we’ll rate it: fairly pathetic.

Diving a little deeper, down to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, we discover: “ergonomics is an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely.” This makes it sound as though they’re equally interested in the user’s and the thing’s safety. Desks don’t get repetitive stress syndrome; still, we’ll rate this a solid: on the right track.

Finally, OSHA, which has to deal with the results of the lack of ergonomics, puts it this way: “Ergonomics is the science of designing the job to fit the worker, rather than physically forcing the worker’s body to fit the job. Adapting tasks, work stations, tools, and equipment to fit the worker can help reduce physical stress on a worker’s body and eliminate many potentially serious, disabling work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).”

Bingo. The work environment fits the person and not the other way around. That’s our philosophy – except that we take it just one, very important step further.

You’re the Ergonomic Epicenter of Our World

At Harris WorkSystems, we like to add the missing ingredient to OSHA’s definition of ergonomics – you. Exactly, uniquely you. Why? To answer this, let’s look at the clothing industry.

A long time ago, when clothing became a mass produced item, designers noticed something important – human beings come in all different sizes and proportions. So as much as they may have wanted to, clothing manufacturers simply couldn’t make one size of clothing to fit everyone.

It’s the same with ergonomic chairs, ergonomic desks, ergonomic workstations, and ergonomic offices – and ergonomic lifestyles. You are tall or short, large, medium or lean, have a long or short torso, long or short limbs, and lots of other bodily attributes that are different from the person next to you. You also have a different lifestyle. You are athletic or not so much. You like to stand a lot or you prefer to sit more. You have perfect posture (in which case you are a rare person, indeed) and are pain-free. Or you come with a few bodily twists and turns and their attendant aches.

Be in the Best Shape – No Matter What shape You Are

Whoever you are and whatever shape you come in, there are ergonomic solutions that will fit you precisely and help you improve and maintain your postural health. Our job is to help you find the solutions that fit your body type, your work style, your preferences, and any physical difficulties you may have. In other words, were the antidote to buying ergonomics in a box. Rather than sell furniture on a one-size-fits-all basis, we help you discover the one ergonomic chair, ergonomic desk, and other ergonomic furniture that is just right for you. To achieve this, we start by listening and learning about you and your needs, and then find the ergonomic furniture and accessories that fit you, uniquely.

We have a lot of ergonomic tools to choose from, including:

  • Ergonomic chairs
  • Ergonomic desks
  • Ergonomic workstations
  • Height adjustable desks
  • Height adjustable chairs
  • Sit to stand desks
  • Standing chairs
  • Active seating options
  • Oh, lots more..!

Your Ergonomic Furniture Comes with an Ergonomic Team

Our expertise doesn’t stop at ergonomic furniture; that’s just the starting block. We like to help you become the healthiest you. To achieve that, you need to know how to adjust your ergonomic furniture to fit you. We’ll show you how – and we guarantee you’ll feel the healthy, relaxing difference. Plus, we’ll help you discover the right sitting and standing postures for you.

If you live or work close to us, we invite you to come in for a one-on-one ergonomic fitting. If you live farther away, there’s a questionnaire on our website that helps us understand your needs better, so we can recommend the best ergonomic options for you. Above all, we love it when you call us to discuss your unique needs. Because all of our trained staff possess the most essential ergonomic tools of all – we’re all ergonomic ears.

We Provide Whole Body Health…In the Shape of Ergonomic Office Furniture

At Harris Worksystems, your wellbeing has been our reason for being since our very beginning in 1992. We’re the experts at finding individually fitted ergonomic solutions that help you work and live in better health. For more information, check out our website at: Or better yet, give us a call at: 1-(800)-577-4797. We’ll be happy to answer all your questions. Here’s to a healthier you!

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