Wellbeing has definitely taken over the working world – with many brands now investing millions into research and development to improve our overall health. One design in particular has really taken this a step further … meet FERN!
January 31st, 2018
For most of today’s office workers, it’s virtually impossible to imagine a time when health was not a core value of the workplace. The time of workers blowing cigarette smoke languidly at their desks as charismatic executives swill a third – or forth – glass of whisky has been confined to the hazy halcyon days, dismissed as a quirk of a society less obsessive about health and wellness than ours. Today, the concept of health in the workplace is a broad umbrella that encompasses everything from ergonomics and healthy eating to mental health and a thriving workplace culture. Offices are actively working toward introducing structures that best nourish their employees’ wellbeing and encourage the highest possible level of sustainable productivity.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the workplace is “a priority setting for health promotion” in terms of its capability to directly influence human wellbeing and performance. The nature of the link between poor health and the workplace has long been established: not only is productivity directly impacted by absenteeism and difficulty working due to injury or discomfort, but employee satisfaction has also been shown to hinge on health-oriented policies and initiatives within the workplace. Simply put: workers are happier and more productive in an environment that cares about their health and takes active steps toward maintaining this.
When it comes to ways in which corporate A+D can further invest in and improve employee health, the data is clear. A 2017 report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare showed that 1 in 6 Australians complain of back pain, an affliction that affects men and women at equal rates. In response to this widespread issue, health resource Healthdirect has issued recommendations for preventing back pain, emphasising the importance of good posture and suitable lower spine support. Incentives for reducing back pain and injury at work are clear, and extend beyond health benefits alone: back pain is a major economic drain, costing the Australian healthcare system around $4.8 billion annually and leading to a quarter of all sufferers in the 18-55 year old age group taking 10 or more days off work per year.
The problem is so big as to be overwhelming – it is difficult to know how to even begin to address back pain in the office. Thankfully, international office furniture giant Haworth has taken the first steps, demonstrating the crucial role of design in maintaining workplace health. With the new FERN task chair, Haworth seamlessly merges ergonomics with contemporary design, offering users a level of “dynamic support” unmatched by conventional office seating. Featuring a suite of intuitive ergonomic controls, FERN provides the best ergonomic conditions for minimising discomfort and risk of injury without compromising on Haworth’s idiosyncratic style.
Designed for today’s bustling offices in which flexibility and adaptability reign supreme, FERN supports a diverse working population in all workplace settings. A tapered backrest allows for an open hip angle that reduces pressure on the lower spine and keeps users balanced and centred in their chairs, while a pliable outer frame bends to effortlessly accommodate movement. Recognising that not all users are built the same way, FERN reflects an evidence-based design approach that uses the results of ergonomic testing to design a host of integrated, easy to use adjustability controls. Users can adjust the seat to their precise requirements, with the freedom to fine tune everything from seat height and recline tension to lumbar support, seat cushion depth, tilt, and seat pan depth, as well as armrest height and angle.
As stylish as they are functional, FERN accommodates customisation in terms of casters, seat upholstery, back mesh, and plastic and aluminium trim. The FERN family includes task, executive, and stool seat options, and is available in a range of colours and finishes to complement any contemporary office. A clear embodiment of Haworth’s tripartite mantra of “sit well, work well, feel well”, FERN is the latest in the company’s long line of innovative products designed to bring wellbeing into the heart of the workplace and the workplace into a healthier, happier future.
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