Working from home has its own perks – for lazy lay-ins, flexibility during the day and the chance to spend more time with loved ones. If you've spent the past year or so working in the comfort of your home, you're not alone – and it comes as no surprise that this WFH boom came as a result of the pandemic. For those who enjoy the indoors, it's worked out for the better in some cases. But there are plenty of ways to improve your home working space, without ending up resenting it and not being able to differentiate between work and rest. The best thing to do is to set up a dedicated study room that separates you from the tele and all the comfort that comes with the rest of the house. Next, a selection of quality ergonomic furniture to ensure healthy habits.
Queue in Humanscale – the leading designer and manufacturer of ergonomic products that improve the health and comfort of work life. Its award-winning solutions cater to large offices as well as DIY home workspaces. The New York-based company has worked with legendary designer Niels Diffrient, Don Chadwick and Todd Bracher, to name a few, all purpose and comfort driven to ensure maximum efficiency and durability. Humanscale also places a heavy emphasis on its green ethos, as coordinated by Chief Sustainability Officer Jane Abernethy. From its Signature Freedom Headrest Chair to the versatile Float Standing Table, Humanscale is your one-stop shop to all your office necessities. We speak with her on the sustainable process behind the brand and her recommendations for setting up your own home office.
Can you tell us about yourself and what it means to be a Chief Sustainability Officer?
As the CSO, I lead the sustainability element of the company globally. I work with our executive team and CEO to define our vision for sustainability along with our annual goals. Then, my team and I work with many different departments to make sure we meet our goals. We work with the product development team on each new product in development, with our operations teams, on how our factories run with our sourcing teams on how we hold our suppliers accountable and with our marketing team on how we share our journey to becoming more sustainable.
How do you work with designers to curate sustainable products at Humanscale?
When a new product is being developed it goes through different stages – concept, design, engineering, pre-production. My team works closely with the product development team to make sure the right choices are being made at each stage. This goes from making sure products can be disassembled for recycling to selecting materials that don’t contain toxins and choosing environmentally-friendly suppliers. We review the design with the team at each stage to make sure the product will meet our sustainability criteria.
What are the key components to a sustainable design?
You need to plan for it from the start. The design should address a real need and last as long as possible so that any resources used will stay in use. It should be able to be recycled and ideally made of materials that are commonly recycled, like aluminum. The materials also shouldn’t contain toxins. Lastly, the factories making the products should be run sustainably (ideally using renewable energy, producing no waste, and using rainwater) and the supply chain should be socially and environmentally sustainable.
Can you share with us your top WFH essential products and why?
Personally, I love using a sit-stand desk that lets me move more throughout the day. Having a clean workspace with a clear desk helps me think more clearly, so I also need really good cable management solutions to keep cables out of sight.
How would you recommend someone to choose the perfect product at Humanscale, as a first timer?
Humanscale has developed a great work-from-home guide to help with just that. It can be found at this link. Scroll to the bottom of the page and put in your email address to download it and discover our top tips for WFH.
What's the importance of ergonomics in the workplace?
During this extended period of working from home, Humanscale has adapted its ergonomic solutions to ensure every one is as comfortable as possible. Our focus as ergonomics professionals is to help users get the most out of their home set-up, and where needed, suggest improvements to alleviate any postural concerns that could develop into musculoskeletal conditions. – Adrian McClenaghan, Managing Consultant, UK & Ireland at Humanscale