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The world of “office life” is changing drastically. While many people still have set company offices where a majority of their work is accomplished, freelancing and online hiring has others working in the most non-traditional workspaces. With these evolving changes occurring in work life, we have seen an explosion of coworking spaces specifically designed for individuals who are independent contractors, small business owners, and those who find themselves traveling constantly.
While these office spaces are extremely helpful, there is a drawback: the inability to personalize your space. Although this is not an issue on some levels, there are some physical hindrances which do arise when you are unable to adjust the furniture to meet your personal needs.
This was the specific need Mirjam de Bruijn discovered and has attempted to remedy with her brilliant collection of desk tools. A recent Cum Laude graduate from Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands, Bruijn is known for her philosophy of designing extremely attractive products that not only serve as a pleasing element to the eye, but also highly functional objects. This concept has been brilliantly personified in her collection she is calling, Asana.
Her collection, which consists of five different tools, was designed specifically with the goal of alleviating some of the health issues which arise from utilizing the office spaces found in coworking locations.
"The furniture is often not made for the office and cannot be adjusted to one's measurements," Bruijn explained, "More and more people end up at the physiotherapist with complaints such as poor blood circulation, back problems and repetitive strain injury."
Through her Asana collection, Bruijn has sought to create an assortment of tools which help office dwellers improve their posture, strengthen muscles, improve balance and stimulate blood flow. The first offering in her collection is a set of three rounded sticks. Coming in a variety of sizes, these carefully crafted golden sticks can be placed directly under the wrist and provide accurate support when utilizing a computer mouse. Giving your wrist this simple form of support can help alleviate hand pain which is often associated with using a mouse for prolong periods of time. A second tool in the Asana collection, the double weights, is also designed for the sole purpose of helping relieve stress from your hands and wrists. Uniquely designed to resemble a sleek, modern desk accessory when not in use, these matching weights serve as excellent reminders to take frequent breaks and allow your hands and wrists to be involved in strengthening activities.
It is also common for your arms to become weak and tired from remaining stagnate all day. That is why in her collection, Bruijin also included a uniquely designed rubber band for strengthening your arm muscles. Simply hold the opposite rings in both hands and pull. These not only help to strengthen those arms, but can also help in alleviating stress, allowing you the ability to think clearer and be more productive.
While strengthening and maintaining your muscles is a good way to keep pain at bay, this is not the only issue which Bruijin tries to overcome with her desk collection. Her unique design of a rubber cushion came from her recognition that many hours spent in uncomfortable chairs can hinder ones posture, thus causing back and neck problems. Her vision was to create a cushion which was easily portable and could be used in virtually any chair. Sitting on this cushion forces you to instantly sit up taller and straighter, thus allowing your spine and neck to align. Such alignment helps support your back properly therefore reducing the possibility of spinal discomfort.
The final instrument in Brujin’s desk tools is the wooden foot rest. While this unique tool is not used specifically for gaining strength or lessening pain, it is extremely useful in assisting you in increasing your balance. By placing both feet firmly on either side of the board, users strive to keep the board flat while the circular bottom attempts to lean one way another. Achieving and maintaining an even board gives you the ability to exercise your balancing skills while typing away on your computer.
While it is known that remote desk work is becoming an extremely popular career choice for people all around the world, it is also known that such work does have the tendency to be a strain on one’s health. That is why it is important for those of us who find ourselves sitting in one spot for a majority of the day, to learn how to take care of our bodies while still being extremely productive in the occupational world. Because of the emergence of tools such as those in the Asana collection, it is becoming easier and easier to find a harmonious balance between health and work.