Top Ergonomist Tips to Improve Physical Wellbeing in the Office

Tips from an ergonomist: physical health factors to improve wellbeing in the office

Health factors at work often include elements that promote employee mental wellbeing at an organisational level such as trust, developmental opportunities and common goals. However, we also want to highlight the significance of the physical work environment for sustainable health. So we asked physiotherapist and ergonomist Erica von Sicard to highlight physical health factors that can help improve our wellbeing in the office. See what recommendations are relevant to your office.  

What are the physical health factors to consider?

In short, physical health factors are the positive conditions that make us feel good physically. This can be an ergonomic chair, good lighting, or the opportunity to have work adjustments based on specific needs. Health factors make us feel good and perform well when we work. Consistent, long-term, and active use of health factors increases the chance of creating a good work environment and lowering employee sick leave.  

Here are Erica von Sicard's list of five physical health factors:  

Woman sitting at a desk

1. Varying your working position

The body is made to be in motion and changing working position is key to a healthier work life. Movement boosts blood circulation, which in turn improves our cognitive skills and makes us more alert. Therefore, it is beneficial to have a workplace where people can choose to stand or sit, and when they sit to be able to do that in different ways. This also applies when some work is done at home, as in the case of hybrid working.

Remember to work centred at your desk and use a standing mat, document holder and other smart accessories to allow you to work in a relaxed and comfortable manner. Don’t forget to take micro breaks from time to time, just to take a breather and relax your neck and shoulders.

Sit-stand desk with white frame and oak desktop

TIP! Sit-stand desks

Switching between sitting and standing is the perfect way to get the body moving during a day at the office: something that’s made much easier with a sit-stand desk. The desks are available in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes but they all have one thing in common: they are an investment in wellbeing.

Find a sit-stand desk

2. A pleasant sound environment

Few things affect the work environment as negatively as disruptive noise. It is not just your work that suffers, the increased effort to stay focused may cause strain in the neck and shoulders and even headaches. The solution is to block and absorb the sound in the room by using soft materials such as screens, upholstered furniture, carpets and acoustic panels on the ceiling and walls.

One tip is to create "quiet rooms" for focused work and “talking rooms” for telephone calls and video meetings, to ensure that colleagues are not disturbed.

An employee sitting at a desk in an office with pot plants
A man sitting at a desk to work with good daylight

3. Correct lighting

Good lighting is a prerequisite for wellbeing, helping us to see and work better. Position the desk so that you benefit from daylight coming in but also avoid glare from the screens. Keep in mind that ceiling light should be evenly distributed and should fall right in front of the body to avoid shadows. Combine overhead lighting with focused desk lighting, which should make it possible for the employee to adjust the brightness as eyesight varies depending on age and other factors.

Do you have the right lighting in the office? The cap test can give you the answer. Place your hands over your eyes. If the light feels more pleasant "with the cap on" that means that the lighting in the room needs to be improved.

Tip: Take lunchtime walks in the winter to give yourself a chance to refuel your energy levels from exposure to daylight.

4. Designing your space for socialising

Humans are social creatures and we’re at our best when we’re interacting with each other. We can easily reinforce positive feelings by creating inviting common space for coffee, lunch and breaks with colleagues. Consider making lounges and canteens mobile-free as that makes us more open to conversations and activity around us. One tip is to build community through play by adding a ping pong table or similar.

Don’t forget that colleagues who work from home also need to feel part of the team. Virtual coffee breaks are a great way to include any remote workers and will be highly appreciated.

Woman in an office lobby holding a coffee and smiling
Large oval shaped sofa with turquoise fabric

TIP! Sofas for all occasions

A comfortable seat for visitors, an alternative workspace or an inviting gathering point for coffee breaks, sofas can fulfill many functions in the office and look completely different depending on your needs. From reception or lounge area to open plan office, what are you looking for?

Discover sofas for all areas

A woman sitting at a desk in an office surrounded by acoustic floor and desk screens

5. The opportunity to be yourself

Not everyone likes working in an open plan office. Some people feel uncomfortable and struggle to perform at their best in such an environment, so alternatives are required. Ideally each workspace should be adapted to the needs of the individual, so they can have their own space and get the privacy they require. This can easily be achieved by adding floor and desk screens, by using clever storage options to further separate work areas and through the positioning of the workstations in the room.

Another tip for working undisturbed is to book a meeting with yourself to guarantee time when you can be fully focused on your task.

Research on health factors  

The Health and Future research project has studied the characteristics of public workplaces with healthy employees, and private companies have also been examined in a similar way to see what makes some workplaces healthier than others. Comparisons have been made between workplaces with low and high sick leave to identify how those with low sick leave have succeeded in reducing absenteeism. The study found that in workplaces with healthy employees, the physical and mental health factors were roughly the same.  

Learn more about ergonomics


The blog highlights the importance of considering physical health factors in the workplace to promote employee well-being and sustainable health. Physiotherapist and ergonomist Erica von Sicard has listed some of these factors, including offering varied work positions for increased blood circulation, a pleasant light and sound environment, promoting social interaction with shared spaces, and plenty of storage options for a comfortable, tidy work environment. Studies also show that workplaces that focus on physical and mental health factors have healthier staff with fewer sick leave days.  

Ask us!

If you need help furnishing your workplace, feel free to contact us. Our project sellers have extensive knowledge of workplace design and are happy to help! 


Varying your working position boosts blood circulation, improves cognitive skills, and prevents strain from prolonged sitting. Using sit-stand desks and taking regular breaks are effective ways to keep moving throughout the day.
Reduce noise by using soft materials such as screens, upholstered furniture, carpets, and acoustic panels. Creating designated quiet rooms and talking rooms can also help minimise disruptions.
Good office lighting should include a combination of natural daylight, evenly distributed ceiling lights, and adjustable desk lamps. Proper lighting reduces eye strain and improves overall wellbeing.
Social spaces encourage interaction and community-building among employees, which can boost morale and productivity. Consider creating inviting areas for breaks and making them mobile-free to foster better engagement.
Sit-stand desks promote regular movement, reduce the risks associated with prolonged sitting, and improve overall physical health and productivity.

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