For most of us, ergonomic products have entered our lives and have helped us become more efficient, productive and/or healthy. But sometimes it’s not so obvious which products are ergonomic. The fact is pretty much any product that you interact with has the opportunity to be designed to adapt to the user. These are some everyday examples of ergonomics both inside and outside the office.
So what products are some popular ergonomic products that we see every day?
For many of us the first introduction into ergonomic products came by way of a chair. If you are older, you may recall a time when everyone in the office, no matter how short or tall, used the same type of chair. There wasn’t anything you could do to adjust the seat for comfort or productivity. When the adjustable chair came along it was the first time you ever saw or sat in a chair that didn’t have only one setting. The ability to raise and lower the seat height and back height were two of the early customizable features of office chairs. And with just these two features people were able to become more efficient and reduce or eliminate some of the pain the felt from their older chairs. Since then, chairs have continued to evolve with other options to adapt to the user, like adjustable armrests and seat angles.
Sticking with the office theme, there was a time when a flat keyboard and standard mouse was the only option employees (and home work stations) had for the computers. Now there are ergonomic keyboard options that adjust to any type of users that reduce wrist and forearm repetitive stress injuries like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The same goes for ergonomic mice. The multitude of shapes and sizes of mice that are available on the market today means that the right one for your hand is out there somewhere.
The ergonomic industry didn’t stop there when it came to providing workplace products that adapt to the user to enhance productivity and improve health. They continued with ergonomic desks and complete workstations. Nowadays it is not uncommon to see desks that adjust up and down to allow the users to stand and sit throughout the day as needed.
The increased use of ergonomic equipment at workstations leads to healthier and more productive employees. This helps the bottom line for businesses.
What about outside of the office?
While true that ergonomics originated with occupational health in mind, the development of products to help us become healthier and more productive has moved beyond the office walls. Some offer a larger impact than others, but all look to have a positive impact on people’s lives.
Many people have a particular pillow they need to sleep with. No longer will a feather stuffed sack satisfy for a good night’s sleep. Some prefer a firm, curved foam style. Others won’t lie down without one with a particular fill that can be molded to any shape during the night.
For students (and anyone looking for an easier way to carry things), there are ergonomic book bags/backpacks. These tend to fit better, relieve pressure on the shoulders and back.
Ergonomic exercise equipment (like certain elliptical machines) can help make sure users are performing exercises the correct way. This leads to less injuries, and can help make sure the user is getting the intended results.
There are companies that are looking into the best way for people to sit on a toilet seat. The rise in popularity of higher bowls and elongated bowls helps to illustrate just how much there is a want for comfort in this arena.
Walk down the aisles of your local super store and you’ll see a sleuth of choices for items you may feel there is only a need of a single, simple solution. Utensils and pens would seem to fall into this category. But since people spend so much time using them throughout their lives, it only makes sense to find one that works best with their hands and particular style of use.
Ergonomic shoes can be a life saver for people who have suffered from foot or leg pain throughout their lives. Ergonomic garden tools and equipment (like a wheel barrel) can help reduce stress on the hands and wrists. (Think blisters, or strains). This allows gardeners to be more efficient when planting and taking care of their garden, leading to a bigger harvest. And an ergonomic bike that is built for its rider reduces pressure and discomfort. That means the rider can typically ride longer and faster. They can also recover from any ride in a shorter time period.
Making people healthier and more productive is at the heart of ergonomics. If there is a way to make a product better with that in mind, there’s no reason not to pursue it. Has there been an ergonomic product that has had a tremendous positive impact on your life? Let us know about it.