Steelcase Leap Office Chair generates 17.8% Increase in Productivity

With increasing amounts of time spent in front of computers for much of the working population, the importance of supportive seating in the office has never been greater. Working comfortably is only one aspect of an ergonomic chair, the real benefits come in the form of increased health and productivity.

Steelcase, one of the leading manufacturers of office chairs, commissioned two studies in order to quantify the benefits of investment into state of the art seating technology. The purpose of their research was to look at the real benefit of the ergonomic program, to ask whether increased productivity is possible, and how soon this productivity yields a return on investment for the company. The chair that Steelcase used in these tests was their Leap chair, which had been designed using in depth understanding of the human body and how to support it. Biomechanic tests had already proven outstanding fit, movement and support but they also wanted to test it in a ‘real world’ setting alongside ergonomic training for the chair users.

To ensure robust results the study recruited two companies (one public sector and one private sector), studying over 450 employees, over the course of a year. The employees who took part were sitting in their chairs for at least 6 hours a day and at least 4 of those were spent working on a computer. Data was collected covering health status: measuring pain and discomfort before and during the study on a daily and longer term basis; and productivity: objective measures made before and during the study. Additionally, volunteers were divided into 3 groups:

  • Control group – received ergonomic training after the study
  • Ergonomic training received – learned how to adjust existing chair
  • Leap chair and ergonomic training – learned how to adjust new Leap chair

The results confirmed that the Steelcase Leap office chair and the training given resulted in significant health status and productivity improvements. Those with Leap chairs demonstrated more overall comfort which lasted longer through the day. Productivity went up in both the companies where the studies took place: the public sector company showed increases of 17.8% and the private sector productivity went up by 8.3%. No significant productivity was evident in the other 2 groups studied.

The results of this study demonstrate the good business sense of investmenting in quality furniture and training. Ergonomic office seating is an asset to an organisation and is appreciated by its staff.

Shown on the left is the Steelcase Leap office chair in use at Paragon Laundry.

The Leap chair includes the following features that contribute to its success:

  • LiveBack – the chair’s back changes shape to support the entire spine
  • Upper and lower back controls – allowing for the user to set ‘push back’ to suit their reclining position and adjust the amount of lower back firmness
  • Height, width, depth, and pivot arms – to allow for a natural position that supports the wrists, forearms, shoulders and neck
  • Natural glide system – seat glides forward when reclining, maintaining users vision and reach zones, so staying oriented with their work; encourages a less static load on the spine
  • Flexible seat edge – eases pressure on the thighs and widens the angle between legs and torso so that the user feels secure in the chair
  • Adjustable seat depth – accommodates different body shapes