Task chairs are linear, unidirectional and constraining. They have been designed to facilitate a singular relationship with the computer. We have a mechanistic relationship with the chair and the task at hand. Most chairs place the body in a default, neutral position. Sitting is seen as an instruction, head down, back straight, now get to work.
The relationship we have with the computer and the screen has changed. Computers are now tools for collaboration and our work is now more open, more collaborative. We lean into create and recline to be entertained. With this in mind, there is now no fixed sightline or correct posture. Instead we need to cater to many tasks, many modes and many postures.
The nature of work is changing. Work is less sedentary; it is more fluid, more interactive. We are moving continuously. We move from task to task, from mode to mode. We need work environments that support this level of flexibility and foster office-wide interaction. People need chairs that support them in all the different positions they subconsciously adopt.
What determines the shape of a chair? This was the ultimate question, to extend enquiry beyond seating to include sitting. The chairs we sit in shape us, they are built in our image. But what if a chair was designed with what we do in mind. Shaped by human behaviour and how we communicate with each other.
When we communicate, we use words, tone and voice and we use our bodies. Over 70% of communication is determined by non-verbal clues. We gesture to communicate and to express what mode we're in. We widened our view to examine the interaction we have within the workplace. We recorded and interviewed a range of people in different workplaces. Often there was a difference between what people say they do and what they actually do.
We found that people commonly assume ergonomically correct postures when asked how they sit at work, however when observed throughout a full working day, a significant portion of their time was spent in postures outside the accepted norm.
When people sit, they sit in almost every possible way you can imagine. They sit upright and erect, they slouch, they cross their legs, they lean back, they side saddle and they straddle chairs. Many of those postures could be classified as unconventional. If we were going to create a chair that supported these natural postures, we needed to capture them and reset the bar for 'ergonomically correct'.
We found common and unconventional postures that are not supported by most task chairs. This prompted us to widen our search space, firstly to record and classify these postures and secondly to develop better ways of supporting them.
Be offers freedom of movement and continuous support for the range of postures and tasks you perform throughout the day.
Designed with sustainability in mind, BeLite reflects the continuing trend toward environmentally conscious workplaces.