Healthy de­mand for er­gonomic fur­ni­ture

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSINESS - By ZHU WENQIAN zhuwen­qian@chi­

A niche mar­ket has de­vel­oped for er­gonomic of­fice fur­ni­ture in China as white-col­lar work­ers who hunch over their desks ev­ery day be­gin to com­plain about the un­healthy prac­tice.

Tra­di­tional desks and chairs will eas­ily strain wrists and bod­ies if main­tained at the same po­si­tion for a long time, but fur­ni­ture that adapt to hu­man bod­ies and en­cour­age healthy and com­fort­able pos­tures do not.

That aware­ness has helped er­gonomic fur­ni­ture mak­ers like New York-based Hu­man­scale Corp to grow. Founded in 1983, Hu­man­scale en­tered China five years ago, and the com­pany saw its sales dou­ble in 2015 over the pre­vi­ous years.

“We­have vis­ited the of­fices of many renowned en­ter­prises around the world. Nearly ev­ery em­ployee is un­sat­is­fied about their work en­vi­ron­ments and they con­sider there is room for im­prove­ment. Peo­ple pre­fer those smart fur­ni­ture that are com­fort­able and eas­ily func­tional,” said J.S. Gan, Asia di­rec­tor atHu­man­scale.

“A large part of cor­po­rate val­ues of most en­ter­prises like banks and tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies is cre­ated by their staff in front of com­put­ers. Er­gonomic prod­ucts will help fa­cil­i­tate pro­duc­tiv­ity and im­prove health. If each one can raise ef­fi­ciency, the com­pany’s achieve­ments will grow tremen­dously,” he said.

Gan said in Western coun­tries, many­compa­ni­eschooseto have er­gonomic fur­ni­ture for their staff, such as Ap­ple Inc, GoogleInc, BBCLtd, Bloomberg LP, ChanelASandCit­i­groupInc. In Asia, the pen­e­tra­tion rate of er­gonomic fur­ni­ture is lower and Hu­man­scale sees a sig­nif­i­cant

Er­gonomic prod­ucts will help fa­cil­i­tate pro­duc­tiv­ity and im­prove health.”

growth po­ten­tial.

Ac­cord­ing to re­search by the Univer­sity of Pitts­burgh, sit­ting down at a desk all day long can cause obe­sity, di­a­betes and heart dis­ease. Fre­quent stand­ing breaks sig­nif­i­cantly de­crease chances of get­ting di­a­betes and gain­ing weight, and it also help im­prove the brain.

Some work fur­ni­ture that adapt to hu­man bod­ies are in great de­mand, in­clud­ing those mon­i­tor­ing arms and key­board sup­ports that help re­duce eye­strain and back­pain. Sit-stand ta­bles, which glide up and down, al­low work­ers to al­ter­nate be­tween sit­ting and stand­ing pos­tures through­out the day.

Rachel Wu, a 29-year-old pub­lic re­la­tions pro­fes­sional, said: “My work has long hours and a lot of hours are sta­tion­ary. Even though work­ing in an open space is great, my ta­ble is a lit­tle bit low for me. Er­gonomic fur­ni­ture will def­i­nitely help with pos­tures and stress,” she said.

In­dus­try sources said the smart fur­ni­ture sec­tor in China is still in its in­fancy. Many tra­di­tional home ap­pli­ance mak­ers and In­ter­net firms are launch­ing theirowns­mart fur­ni­ture, but high prices and poor ex­pe­ri­ences are ma­jor hur­dle for con­sumers.

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