Holistic Ergonomics

Ergonomics plays a fundamental role in the health and performance of people. It is a term that we often hear thrown around in discussions about workplace design. The term itself has a two-fold definition: engineering ergonomics and cognitive ergonomics. While the two ideas are vastly different, bauhaus understands that both are crucial to function and performance within the workplace.

Understanding the importance of the two within the workplace, bauhaus has taken a new approach to understanding ergonomics: Holistic Ergonomics. Both engineering and cognitive ergonomics are taken into consideration in holistic ergonomics.

Engineering ergonomics. This aspect is focused primarily on the physical, including how a person’s body moves within a specific space. With an understanding of a person’s body size and physical capabilities, engineering ergonomists are able to provide recommendations as to the set up and design of a workspace. A consideration of the physical mechanics of work guides engineering ergonomics, but this is only one side of the big picture.

Cognitive ergonomics. Concentrated on the analysis of the thought process of workers. The role of a cognitive ergonomist is in training workers in an effort to improve work performance. Cognitive ergonomics is focused on decision making, planning and mental knowledge that is required of workers. A cognitive ergonomist can also make recommendations on workplace design in an effort to improve flow and process within the workplace. However, cognitive ergonomics does not take the physical mechanics of a workplace into consideration.

Knoll, a bauhaus partner, has developed a clear understanding of both engineering and cognitive ergonomics into what is called “holistic ergonomics.” Holistic ergonomics takes both the physical and the cognitive into consideration. Workplaces designed with holistic ergonomics in mind will make considerations both for how a person’s body fits and moves within the workplace as well as how the office can be best designed to improve cognitive functions, planning and performance.

At bauhaus, we believe design of furniture and workspaces is only successful with it considers all aspects of the work environment, including organization, technology, process and culture. Our products are designed to support the physical aspects of engineering ergonomics while addressing the aspects of knowledge, workflow and performance. It is this holistic approach to ergonomics that drives the successful design of a workplace.