Monday, May 19, 2014

Office Ergonomics: Then and Now

Many of us often think of ergonomic innovation as a relatively new thing, but what you may not realize is that the history of ergonomics goes back much farther than any of us may ever realize. Given the huge spike in the popularity of ergonomic furniture recently, we thought we'd share how ergonomic innovation got it's start. In today's article, follow us from the past to the present as we explore the enlightening history of ergonomic design!

A History of History

Cave Man on Computer

Most ergonomic history websites will probably tell you that the start of ergonomic innovation began around 1940. This is not true. In fact, ergonomic innovation goes back much farther, to the days when humans first began to make tools more efficient. Ergonomics is the science and study of making the working environment easier, more comfortable, and more efficient. The only thing different from us and our ancestors is our work environment, and the fact that we've now invented a word for this technological innovation. When it comes to principle, there's really very little difference between an office chair with ergonomic contour, like the 4019AG Mayline Comfort Chair, and a contoured horse's saddle. Both mold to the body, add comfort, provide support, and make a long work day much easier!

The Earliest Days 

Outline of Ergonomics Book

It's pretty remarkable, considering how old ergonomic innovation really is, that it didn't get a name until a few hundred years ago. It wasn't until 1857 that a Polish scholar by the name of Wojciech Jastrzębowski (don't worry, we have no idea how to pronounce this either) wrote his first book. "An Outline of Ergonomics, or the Science of Work" was the first book ever to give a name for ergonomic study. By taking the Greek words "ergon" (work) and "nomos" (natural laws), Jastrzębowski coined the term "ergonomics" and started the modern age on the track to ergonomic innovation. His earliest research the way the human body works to get things done are the first blueprints by which modern ergonomic office furniture was invented and developed!

Scientific Innovation 

Scientific Innovation

Despite the fact that it finally had a name, ergonomic study really didn't hit it's stride until the 1940s. At around the same time as the World War II era, ergonomic study took on a new face in America, where it was less about the study of working conditions and more about the research of ways to prevent potential accidents in the working arena. Situations like accidental airplane crashes were often attributed to monitors that were difficult to read, so scientists began designing ways to make equipment more understandable and easier to work for the average Joe. From there,  ergonomic development went beyond the battlefields and into the homes of everyday folks. Name brands of office furniture found great need for this science, starting high end modern office furniture on the path to popularity!


Global Ergonomic Workstation

Nowadays, ergonomics is everywhere, and we couldn't be more grateful! Specialized ergonomic chairs for pain relief turn dreadful work days into occupations we love once again. As the world has moved from the crops to the companies, ergonomic studies have developed right along with us. Now, as more and more people rely on desks and computers to bring home the bacon, ergonomic study educates us on the best ways to stay healthy. Whether it's by using a height adjustable stand up desk or an affordable chair with lumbar support like the 11668B Offices To Go chair, office workers can rest assured that there is always an ergonomic gadget out there to keep them feeling great!

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