Students in primary and secondary school can expect to be at school an average of seven hours a day; students attending college are encouraged to dedicate at least 35 hours a week to studying — in addition to time spent in the classroom. The time and energy devoted to learning doesn't affect just the mind; it also can take a toll on a person's physique. A student's body type can be as unique as his or her study habits.
In consideration of the extended periods of time students and faculty spend in libraries, computer labs, classrooms and study halls, learning facilities need to provide comfortable and functional furnishings that can adjust to individual needs, including height, build and working preferences.
Creating a comfortable and flexible learning environment can have a significant effect on a student's stamina. Often, students must use the same desk and workstation as the student before them. A desk height that is comfortable for a varsity basketball player most likely will not be comfortable for a cheerleader.
A one-size-fits-all setting is not conducive to learning. In a higher-education facility, three to 25 people a day can be expected to use the same workstation, and the slouching, straining or leaning that some students are forced to do to use a workstation can cause physical discomfort and fatigue. To enhance performance and minimize fatigue and injury, learning establishments should be equipped with ergonomic workspaces that adapt to body size, strength and range of motion.
The advancement of technology has resulted in the presence of computers and related equipment in nearly all educational and office settings. A recent survey of 500 office workers indicated that more than 89 percent reported feeling muscle tension or fatigue at least occasionally at the end of their workdays. With the likelihood that many people will be using workstations from primary school to retirement, schools and universities should be taking steps to get students thinking and living ergonomically before stepping into an office setting.