Are Swiss Balls as chairs really such a good idea?

November 25, 2013

Office ergonomics is something all conscious business owners should be aware of. It should feature in the initial planning of every office environment and should influence the office furniture you buy. The range of office furniture UK businesses have to choose from is vast, but you need to ensure it is set up in the best possible way too. But ergonomics isn’t always a staid and boring topic, and occasionally it gets downright quirky – all in the name of design partnering with good health practices. Take, for example, Swiss balls.

In recent years, a visitor to any trendy design company wouldn’t be surprised to see the employees sitting (okay, balancing precariously) at their desks on Swiss balls. These over-sized beach balls have been used in gyms for years for developing core strength, balance and fitness, but do they really have a place as office furniture?

There’s now gathering opinion that is starting to challenge the concept and suggests that perhaps we should all be returning to ergonomically designed chairs instead.

A laudable idea – just not a good one

According to Jeanie Croasmun, writing in The Ergonomics Report: “The intent of the ball chair developers was laudable: to take an item that seems to be beneficial in an area of health care (rehabilitation and strengthening/wellness) and apply the same principle to the office.” But while the idea may be laudable, the application, she believes, is flawed: “The exercise ball might be great for strengthening and toning in the gym or at home, but it can’t compete with a truly ergonomic chair for long-term sitting in an office environment.”

Focusing in on what’s important

Jeanie isn’t alone, and a host of other experts have started coming out against the over-use of what is effectively a piece of gym equipment in a completely alien environment.

You’ve also got to ask yourself – are they really that comfortable to sit on all day long? Strengthening your core muscles may give you a six-pack, but does focusing on not falling off your seat all day mean that you’re not focused on your work? Swiss balls as a piece of ergonomic furniture may be ‘trendy’, but it seems that, like all trends, the backlash has started and that 2014 may well see a move back towards well-designed ergonomic office furniture online and in stores across the UK.

Posted in furniture at work,office chairs
Posted by Furniture@Work


Confidentiality in the workplace

November 17, 2013

Regardless of what kind of business you operate, chances are there will be confidential documents that need to be kept in secure storage. Whether it’s financial records, clients details or staff files, there is a responsibility to the business owner to ensure that these confidential documents are always safe under lock and key.

Secure storage for clients

Whether you’re working from home or sourcing office furniture for a 300-person strong company, clients need to have their details protected with secure storage. The majority of filing cabinets will have central locking systems and sometimes even individual locking for each drawer. But remember not to leave the key in the lock, as that tends to defeat the point somewhat!

Confidentiality isn’t just about locking information away though, it’s also about dealing with it appropriately. If you have a locked cabinet for instance that just deals with one client, should their name really be on the tag on the front for everyone to see? In some industries that isn’t a problem but if you’re a law firm or working in connection with medical records, then that may not be acceptable.

Secure storage isn’t a consideration just for current documents and information either. It’s also important to think about what happens to that paperwork when it’s obsolete. Ensuring that you have correct confidential shredders is vital to keeping client information private, no matter how innocuous it may seem.

Secure storage for staff

Providing secure storage for staff is a top priority when looking after their needs and requirements. The extent and size to which secure storage is provided will depend on the nature of the work but, at the very least, a locking drawer in or next to each desk gives staff the knowledge that they can keep their valuables safe while they’re at work.

In companies where changes of clothes or shoes are required then personal lockers are the way forward and provide employees with their own, lockable space. In situations where long working hours are frequent, lockers also give extra flexibility to staff to keep personal items that they made need, safe.

Even in a three person office, everyone requires their own personal secure storage as well as secure storage for their clients. While it can be easy to overlook personal confidentiality in a small and friendly environment – it doesn’t make it any less vital and all employees have a right to lock up their belongings.

Security, responsibility and reputation

Businesses are only as good as how their clients view them and so it doesn’t matter how many high profile contracts you’ve completed, if you compromise your client’s interests, you’re in a bad way. Confidentiality is the absolute cornerstone of trust and one simple mistake can cost your business its reputation. Taking precautions against break-ins, unauthorised movement of files and documents and the exposure of documents when they’re being used is a good habit to get into.

Simple steps to ensure that you are deserving of your clients’ and employees’ trust can make all the difference. Investing in secure, responsible storage is an easy way to make a good start and sourcing office furniture online gives you flexibility, a wide choice and the vital ability to keep costs down.

Posted in furniture at work
Posted by Furniture@Work