Building and Construction Review is proud to announce that AJ Products has received our Product Innovation Award.
AJ Products is passionate about helping people create healthy and productive workspaces at affordable prices, providing innovative furniture and equipment to improve ergonomics, increase efficiency, and inspire creativity. “Our focus is always on how to improve the wellbeing of our customers, and we believe that these solutions should be available to everybody,” said Laura Supple, Product Range Manager.
“We ask ourselves what problem we want to solve and then look into what we can offer to do that. For example, what would help people move more at work? Our Swedish background gives us an advantage when it comes to what we can offer UK customers. The benefits of an active work environment have long been recognised in Scandinavia so we have years of experience to offer to a market that is still in its infancy in the UK.
“Our active furniture range offers a comprehensive solution for all parts of the office environment. Sit-stand desks are the most well-known product, but we also have sit-stand meeting tables, active sitting chairs and exercise equipment designed specifically for office use, such as desk bikes and walking treadmills. Moreover, our solutions extend to all types of workplaces including workshops, manufacturing facilities and warehouses to help businesses across all sectors prioritise employee wellbeing.”
In line with this mission to help people move more during the working day, AJ Products recently teamed up with ukactive on a report to examine the impact of working practices on employee health and wellbeing. Tackling sedentary behaviour in the workforce is a comprehensive study into the state of workplace health that looks at the risks associated with long hours spent in sedentary positions at work, whether that work is office-based or remote, and what can be done to improve activity levels among the working population.
The report investigates how our office spaces must change as well as what companies can do to support remote workers and ensure wellbeing practices are sustained away from the physical workplace. It also examines real-world solutions based on case studies from businesses running successful wellbeing programmes to provide a ‘best practice’ guide for other companies to follow. The report is available to download and read for free on the website: https://campaign.ajproducts.co.uk/tackling-sedentary-behaviour/
Following the report, AJ Products will be continuing its partnership with ukactive in 2021. “We want to continue to raise public awareness of the health risks of prolonged sitting,” Laura explained. “We believe educating people about healthy work practices is just as important, if not more so, than offering the right solutions.”
Indeed, with the sudden increase in people working from home, the need for healthy and productive workspaces has never been more pertinent. Employers still have a duty of care over remote workers and must ensure staff work just as safely and comfortably at home as they would in the office.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, AJ Products worked with its supply partners to provide affordable and readily available home office solutions to ensure home working did not compromise employee health. Then, as businesses started to return to work, the company also added a range of social distancing products to help employers protect their staff, such as belt barriers, screens and signs.
“As an employer, extra effort was required to ensure that AJ’s philosophy of staying active at work was not lost while staff were working remotely. Each employee was given the option to choose furniture that would let them create a comfortable home office space so they could stay active at home and not fall victim to the common problems of poor posture and sedentary behaviour while working remotely.
“People chose the items that best suited them. For those with limited space at home, being given an exercise ball chair meant the difference between a sedentary work set up and having the ability to keep moving. Others were able to create a full sit-stand set up at home and work as they would have done in the office. We also tried to maintain our core value of workplace wellbeing by encouraging everyone to move around while taking phone calls, take short breaks to walk around the house and get outside for some exercise in their lunch hour.”
Building on this work, AJ Products will continue to develop its home office furniture range in 2021 to help employers safeguard their workers’ health, safety and comfort when working remotely.
“We’re bringing in a greater variety of sit-stand furniture designed specifically for home use, such as smaller desks that fit more easily in a limited space. This is a priority for us as home working looks set to become a much more normal part of our working lives.
“While we anticipate a return to the office in the new year, more and more companies are talking to us about introducing greater flexibility for employees and encouraging remote working one or two days a week.”
So, what are the key things employers should consider when supporting their remote workers? “From a furniture perspective, the easiest thing you can implement is an active chair, like a Pilates ball or balance stool. These are at a reasonable cost, so everyone can feasibly implement one into their home office.
“We also encourage getting a desk. Any kind of desk and a decent office chair is better than nothing, but what would be best is a small sit-stand desk that can fit into a home office. If you’re standing, you’re more likely to move, and even small movements make a big difference to the work day.
“As well as this physical side of things, we also want to emphasise to companies the importance of employee wellbeing. You need to talk to employees about their mental and physical health, encourage them to take breaks and go for a walk in the fresh air at lunchtime.
“It’s so important to create a culture of permissibility around this; people tend to feel guilty when working from home that they’re not doing enough work or that their boss doesn’t think they’re working. Encouraging employees to take breaks and look after their wellbeing is just as important as providing the equipment.”
To find out more information and how AJ Products can help you implement a healthy, comfortable, and productive workspace, head to the website or get in touch.