Maybe you can’t fathom the idea of putting your feet up at work—where you come from, appearing too relaxed in the workplace is considered unprofessional. It’s clear that the line between what’s acceptable and what’s too casual varies from one organization and industry to the next.
But it’s also clear that, on the whole, workplace culture has loosened up over the past decade or two. As business dress codes have become less prescribed and more diverse, so too have the ways people prefer to sit while working.
Steelcase researchers studying workplace postures identified nine new ways of sitting that flow directly from our use of new technologies. Among these are various reclined postures. And it turns out that there are benefits to these “leaned back” postures. Sitting up straight isn’t always the best thing, according to ergonomics researchers.
“We know that a ‘static upright sitting’ point of view is harder to defend, as there is evidence that reclining postures reduce the load measured in the intervertebral discs,” said Peter Vink, a design engineering professor at the Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands.
In addition to supportive, ergonomically designed furniture, experts today advocate “posture variability”—moving around throughout the day and sitting actively to avoid straining any one part of the body.
This fits the way many of today’s workers want to work. Collaborative teams naturally move around more as they meet to brainstorm and problem-solve.
They also appreciate the reclined angles and refined functionality of today’s office lounge furniture.
Take the SW_1 Lounge Chair for example. This comfortable, breathable swivel chair is part of an award-winning collection created to support relaxed sitting, postural changes and creative thinking. The chairs and coordinating SW_1 Conference Table are built lower than traditional conferencing furniture and have a more laid-back attitude.
“We tried to put everybody at ease by getting them lower and changing the proportions of the chair to make people at ease and get them in the right kind of mindset,” said Scott Wilson, the lead designer and founder of the design firm MINIMAL.
“Collaboration is a lot more informal and social, so that was really the driving inspiration behind the collection,” he said.
Users at Scape, a social design firm in Amsterdam, have found that the SW_1 Collection complements the way they work by making collaboration and interaction easier.
“At first we were skeptical,” said Jeff Povlo, Scape’s founder, “but actually by lowering the table, it allows people not to bury their heads in computers. Laptops are lower, you never break eyesight, and it just allows a much more open conversation to happen.”
“You instantly know something is different just by the slightly lowered height (of the table) and the proportions of the chair,” said designer Scott Wilson of the SW_1 Collection. Here the SW_1 Lounge Chair and SW_1 Low Conference Table are in use at Scape, in Amsterdam.
Different types of work require different furniture and settings, and our modern office lounge furniture is keeping pace with the growing need for ergonomic, high-performing lounge products that fit the ways people actually work today.
Need help? Let the Coalesse
Concierge Team assist with