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Our Working Definition of Ergonomics

Banner Ergonomics Definition

When we set out to make comfortable and user-friendly furniture more than ten years ago, we decided that our bottom line would be simple functionality and affordability. We refused to cut corners to save a few bucks, and instead focused on understanding the way that people actually interact with the school, office, drafting, medical and computer furniture we need every day.

It is this passion and dedication that led us to incorporate a conscious and effective ergonomic element into our product designs. Of course, there is an entire range of ergonomic understanding, and it is easy for companies to toss around this term without supporting the science behind it.

So what does ergonomics mean to us?

The Person, The Product and The Process

At VersaTables, we understand that ergonomics is concerned with the interaction between you, the products you use and your purpose in using them. Simply put, ergonomics is the science of making an activity fit to the person in order to optimize their process. Ergonomic principles seek to improve the dynamics between the activity you are doing, your ability to do it and the result achieved.

The best formal definition we’ve found comes from the International Labor Organization and reads:

“The application of the human biological sciences in conjunction with the engineering sciences to the worker and his working environment, so as to obtain maximum satisfaction for the worker which at the same time enhances productivity.”

Our Formula

In order to meet our ergonomics definition, in creating our products we emphasize the following triad of elements:

  • Comfort
  • Health
  • Productivity

Whether creating furniture for use in a college classroom, a computer lab, a medical institution, a business place or a home office, these three aims guide our design and production.

To accomplish this, our expert engineers turn to the sciences of anatomy, physiology, psychology, sociology, physics and engineering. These concepts lead us in creating high quality, durable, reliable and attractive furniture, which is not only designed with the highest craftsmanship, but with an ergonomic emphasis in mind.

The Problem Pinning Down A Definition

We all want to live healthier, happier lives. And most of us are interested in purchasing products that enable us to do so more fully; a fact that marketing specialists and advertising agents are all too aware of. This results in catch phrases and terms known to drive sales often being misused and abused. The lack of consistency around terms like “organic” and “all natural” has created controversy about what products should carry such labels. The term “Ergonomics” shares a similar story.

Back to the Roots

The term ergonomics derives its linguistic meaning from two separate Greek words:

* Ergon = meaning work
* Nomoi = meaning natural laws

Combining the two results in a word that generally means “the science of work, and a person’s relationship to that work.”

Clearly, though, this definition is vague at best.

A Variety of Interpretations

The open nature of the ergonomics’ linguistic root has prompted many organizations to produce more specific understandings. While each draws closer and closer to a definition of the term and how it applies in our lives, each still cannot reach an agreement on what exactly the phrase means. Consider the following:

From The International Ergonomics Association:

“Ergonomics (or human factors) is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.”

From OSHA:

“Ergonomics may also be thought of as the science of fitting the job to the individual worker. When there is a mismatch between the physical requirements of the job and the physical capacity of the worker, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) can result.”

From Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

“An applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely.”

“So, what exactly makes something ergonomic?”

And there is no easy answer. Many professionals in the study of ergonomics argue that ergonomics is something that is entirely subjective. Ergonomics, if you will, is indeed in the eye of the beholder.

At VersaTables, we have carefully studied the science and research surrounding the ergonomic field and ergonomic equations. We have also examined and observed the way that people work with furniture and computers. In creating our own ergonomic products for your benefit, we seek to apply human-centered principles and data during our design process. It is our own informed definition of ergonomic concepts that guide our furniture and accessory production.

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