One of the things I like to do is watch and observe people. I find myself doing this possibly more so since I started selling office and industrial chairs.
As part of my job I get to travel all over the country, and couple of days ago I had what I will term “the experience” of travelling to London. Once there I had the pleasure and joys of the London underground system.
During my journey between Marylebone and Mornington Crescent I noticed that the 2 carriages that I could see into clearly, were in almost total silence. The slience only broken by the continuous ting ting ting and accasional banging that could just about be heard through the headphones of the young lady listening to what she would call music on her IPhone.
As my eyes wandered and observed what was going on around me, I couldn’t help but notice that when two people accidentally caught the eye of each other, one would hastily look elsewhere, as they didn’t want to be caught looking. On a couple of occasions when I also caught the eye of someone, again they very quickly averted their gaze away. I was waiting for those immortal words – oi ! what you looking at ? but there really wasn’t any need to be so concerned, after all, even people that walked into the carriage holding hands were now sat up in their chairs next to each other in total silence.
It was whilst on this journey that I couldn’t help but notice how everyone was sitting . The 6’ plus, tall man studying the financial times, the 5’ short lady playing on her I Phone. The tall, the short, the large the slim – everyone going about their own day, but all uncannily sat almost exactly the same.
Their bottoms right back in the seat, their backs firmly up against the back of the seat and their feet firmly planted on the floor of the carriage. What can only be described as almost the ideal seating position.
And then to the office
Contract this to when I walked into the architects office for my meeting. Once again I took the opportunity of looking around at the various people in the office whilst I was waiting in the reception area. Nothing out of the ordinary really – all different shapes and sizes, all sat on what appeared to be exactly the same type of black office chair, working at the same size desk and each had the biggest monitor I had ever seen. Yet hardly any of them adopted the same “ideal” seating position as I had witnessed on the tube train.
There were people:
- slouching almost with their chin on the desk.
- sat with one leg tucked under their bottom,
- having to bend their neck down quite awkwardly whilst trying to read the document on their monitor,
- sat quite far back and stretching their arms to reach the keyboard
- sat in a very reclined and “relaxed” position, again having to stretch to reach the keyboard
Yet there were only 2, sat in what I would call the ideal seating position.
I noticed that a number of desks were empty, so being inquisitive (some might say nosey) I asked the lady on reception if they were spare desks and if they were recruiting. Oh no, came the reply, we have 3 people off with shoulder and back problems and that one had been off for over a month apparently.
Do I say anything to try and help, at the risk of upsetting people, or do I keep quiet ?
The gentlemen I had gone to meet invited me to sit at his desk to view some proposed new laboratories on his monitor. I took the opportunity of deliberately taking my time to adjust the chair I had been given, before almost jokingly saying how I like to sit correctly if I am to be at a desk for a long time.
This prompted the comment about not many people in the office liking the chairs, and how hard they seemed. Followed by the chap showing me how loose the back is on his chair. I must admit that the chair didn’t seem to have too much foam on the seat area, compared to what I am used to.
We then got down to the business of discussing the proposed new laboratory that was being designed. This meeting went on for just over an hour, during this time my host was obviously struggling with the comfort of his chair.
Happy to help if I can
I explained that the adjustments of the chair were very easy to make. A few knob turns, few lever pulls, and a few minutes later, my host was in his words “actually feeling rather comfortable” sitting in his chair. To my amazement he also commented that no one had ever shown him how to adjust the chair.
He again mentioned the lack of foam in the seat, but with a smile on my face I told him that I couldn’t do a lot about that.
We shook hands and ended our meeting, and off I went back on my return journey to sunny old Banbury.
Nice to be appreciated
To my surprise and totally unexpected a very nice email from the chap at the architects thanking me for my time and for helping with his chair.
Just goes to show, that taking a few minutes to actually adjust your chair to suit you, is well worth the time and effort.