Backing You Up!

CapitaLand procures ergonomic work chairs for better support and to boost employees’ well-being

Issue: May 2012

For its selection of new work chairs for employees at CapitaLand’s corporate office, the company went through an extensive process of assessment and evaluation before deciding on the ergonomic work chair
For its selection of new work chairs for employees at CapitaLand’s corporate office, the company went through an extensive process of assessment and evaluation before deciding on the ergonomic work chair

Like well-tailored clothes that fit you to a tee and leave you with a more svelte silhouette, ergonomic chairs and workstations that take into consideration the individual’s physical capabilities and needs to fit the contours of the body, ensuring maximum convenience and comfort. Ergonomic chairs are designed after years of research into body movements, skeletal stress and postures; and are made to interact with user to alleviate aches and pains associated with prolonged sitting and poor posture. As a result, sitting in a well-made chair can reduce discomfort and fatigue, reduce possible injuries, and improve blood circulation and productivity.

CapitaLand, a strong advocate of Occupational Health and Safety at the workplace, understands this well. In March 2012, all its 200 employees at the CapitaLand corporate office received new ergonomic work chairs for their workstations.

“In line with CapitaLand’s core values on People and our Because iCare journey, this move to purchase ergonomic work chairs for our employees is another testimony of the company’s concern for employees’ well-being and our willingness to invest to improve employee welfare,“ said Tan Seng Chai, Deputy Chief Corporate Officer of CapitaLand Limited, “We took the opportunity to make this change as the existing chairs are due for replacement after in use and re-use for many years.”

CapitaLand continually seeks out ways to make work environment more conducive for its employees because it truly cares
CapitaLand continually seeks out ways to make work environment more conducive for its employees because it truly cares

CapitaLand had established the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Management System in 2009 and extended this to China, Malaysia, Vietnam and Japan in 2010. Its subsidiary, Australand, was certified under AS 4801, Australian Standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems. A key component of CapitaLand's OHS Management System is identifying and managing OHS hazards.

As part CapitaLand’s continuous EHS improvement policy to ensure that its employees are able to perform productively in optimal work environments, CapitaLand’s EHS committee carried out an ergonomics work system assessment in its corporate office in Singapore in the second quarter of 2011.

The EHS team went through a rigorous process in searching for the experts in ergonomics that could best serve the company’s needs on improving work systems for its employees. Eventually, the company appointed Professor Martin Helander who has over 28 years of extensive international ergonomics consulting experience Together with his partner Dr Halimahtun M. Khalid, Prof Martin G Helander conducted an ergonomics assessment of the workstations of employees in CapitaLand’s corporate office. A sample of 20 workstations was assessed. The selection of the sample took into account the varying ages, weights, heights and health conditions of CapitaLand’s employee base in the corporate office. The suitability of office furniture and computer equipment used by the employees was assessed.

An ergonomics assessment of work place was conducted by consultants as part of CapitaLand’s Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) programme to improve employee’s well-being
An ergonomics assessment of work place was conducted by consultants as part of CapitaLand’s Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) programme to improve employee’s well-being

From the assessment, it was discovered that various adjustments to workstations were needed. Areas of improvements included altering the positions of tables and cabinets, changing the heights of monitors, providing proper foot rests, better lighting, replacing the mouse to fit smaller hands, and reminding staff to stretch and take vision breaks every half an hour. On-site adjustments were made for the assessed cases. In addition, the two experts also recommended the use of ergonomic work chairs at the office as this would be in line with the new OSHA requirements in reducing biomechanical and vision problems, improving postural comfort; thereby, increasing overall employee comfort and well-being.

The ergonomics assessment study was planned to coincide with the review of office chair replacement in the CapitaLand corporate office. The findings prove to justify the recommendation of procuring new ergonomic chairs for the employees. In the spirit of wider group interest, the findings from the study were also shared with CapitaLand’s various business units which had similar office workstations.

Green features and patented design of the selected ergonomic chair makes it a class above others
Green features and patented design of the selected ergonomic chair makes it a class above others
Photo credit: ergonomic-mesh-office-chairs.com

Even the selection of the ergonomic chairs went through rounds of reviews by the Administration department of CapitaLand corporate office.

“The choice of the ergonomic chair was due to its outstanding ergonomic features and its
12-year warranty on mechanisms, parts and labour. It provides day-long comfort with its patented system of cells and loops that flexes in concert with the body’s movements for day-long comfort. With naturally balanced tilt and easy adjustability, the chair is able to support all body sizes and shapes. It provides good ventilation, keeping body temperatures constant. It is also 99% recyclable,” shared Fleur Lim, Senior Administration Manager, CapitaLand Limited.

After intensive sessions of negotiation by the administration department of CapitaLand corporate office and carefully planned budget allocation, the approval was given by senior management to procure the ergonomic chairs for employees.

The Change

The company’s requisition of the ergonomic chairs for employees in the corporate office was very well received and applauded by many.

“Not many companies are willing to invest in the welfare of their staff nowadays. I have not encountered such efforts in my previous employment. This ergonomic chair is expensive and I feel very lucky that the company is investing in the welfare of the staff, “said Connie Goh, Finance Manager.

Research Manager, Neo Poh Har, who had a neck injury, often suffered neck and shoulder pains. “I was happy (to know) that CapitaLand cares for its staff as we spend a great deal of time sitting in our office chairs. Having tried the chair, I think it reduces my back problem as it supports my lower back and promotes good posture,” Neo said, welcoming the improvements.

“I find myself correcting my posture whilst sitting in the chair so I have experienced less tension on my upper back,” added Janet Yeo, Senior Secretary of the Finance department at CapitaLand Limited. “I am happy that the company is willing to spend so much money on us. Past employers were deterred by the cost factors.”

“We were all very excited about the new ergonomic chair knowing that the manufacturer is well-known for its inventive and ergonomically designed chairs. Being a staff working in an environment where I know that my well-being is cared for makes me feel satisfied and motivated to contribute to the company, “shared Pearlyn Ng, Administration Manager, CapitaLand Institute of Management and Business (CLIMB).

“The trainer helped me adjust my chair so that it would have the right setting for me,” said Belinda Lee, Senior SAP Executive, CapitaLand Limited.

Well, it looks like CapitaLand is indeed putting its money where its mouth is and backing it up with the right chairs to support and bring comfort to its employees at work.

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