Steelcase Global Study Uncovers New Postures Driven By Mobile Technology

   Steelcase Global Study Uncovers New Postures Driven By Mobile Technology

Company Unveils Gesture™ Seating to Address Pain Caused by New, Unsupported

PR Newswire

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., March 12, 2013

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., March 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Steelcase (NYSE: SCS)
today launches Gesture, a new sitting experience, designed in response to the
company's latest research about changing postures in the workplace. The global
study reveals how new technologies have led to nine new postures -- not
supported by current office chairs -- which frequently cause pain and
long-term injuries, disrupting concentration and creativity. The Gesture
chair was inspired by studying the movement of the human body and created for
the ways people work today.

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"We love our technology – it's become a ubiquitous extension of ourselves,"
states James Ludwig, vice president of global design for Steelcase. "The user
interface is intuitive and responds to various gestures. But what about
gesture recognition for the human body? The way technology impacts our bodies
as we work has been largely ignored."

Steelcase conducted a global study in 11 countries, observing over 2000 people
in a wide range of environments and postures. Company researchers discovered
nine new postures that were a result of new technologies and new workplace
behaviors. If not adequately addressed, these postures can cause pain,
discomfort and long-term injuries for workers.

"Tablets were introduced just three years ago. But many people are using
chairs that were designed well before these new devices became pervasive at
work. Back then, chairs were created to help people hold one pose in front of
a computer all day. Now we know that people need to move and change positions
regularly, especially as they engage with new technologies. We observed people
in pain -- they need a sitting experience designed for the ways we work
today," continued Ludwig.

Gesture: A New Sitting Experience

Steelcase researchers studied how the physiology of work has changed, how the
human body interacts with new technologies and how it transitions as people
shift from one device to another. Researchers noted a more extreme range of
human sizes around the world, which impacts postures. The company also
studied the changing sociology of work and how people rapidly shift between
individual, focused tasks and creative collaboration. Each new activity caused
people to change postures. Based on this research, Steelcase designed the
Gesture chair's three key interfaces – the core interface, upper limb
interface and seat interface -- to support new postures driven by new
technology and more casual behaviors in the workplace.

For example, Gesture encourages motion rather than forcing the body to hold a
single posture. The upper limb interface allows people to draw closer to a
work surface to avoid hunching over a screen and easily move close to the body
to support texting postures. Unlike conventional chairs, the Gesture chair's
core interface hugs the lower back when people recline to scroll on a tablet
screen. The seat interface adjusts rapidly to help users avoid perching on the
edge of their chair. Gesture embraces a broad range of body sizes and easily
adapts to meet the needs of each individual user, which is critical in an
increasingly global business environment that has to support a more diverse
workers than ever before. The Gesture chair is a system of interconnected
parts – inspired by the human body – designed to support every movement.

"Today's workers are driven by their vision – small technologies have a
gravitational force to pull the body down," explained Carol Stuart Buttle,
CPE, Principal at Stuart-Buttle Ergonomics. "If the chair doesn't move with
the user, people slouch to make up for it, or flop on the desk to
overcompensate for what is uncomfortable. Workers today are moving from bad
posture, to bad posture, to bad posture. Gesture helps you be where you need
to be – it helps workers find support in smarter ways so they can use their
devices in safer ways."

New Tech-Driven Postures

As part of its global posture study, Steelcase identified nine new postures
based entirely on the result of new technologies. For example:

  oThe Draw – Technology (small and mobile) allows people to pull back from
    their desks while they use it. They recline, signaling they're
    contemplating or absorbing information and draw the device closer to their
    body to maintain an optimal focal length.
  oThe Multi-Device -- This posture is representative of how people adapt to
    multitasking on multiple-devices. One hand holding a phone to the ear, the
    other tasking on a laptop. The result is a forward lean that is a symbol
    of concentration and an orientation to the smaller screen of a laptop.
  oThe Text - Smartphones are small compared to other forms of technology
    and, therefore, require unique postures. Workers bring arms in close as
    keying and gesturing are performed.
  oThe Cocoon - People recline, bring up their feet onto the seat, and draw
    their smartphone or tablet close, resting on their thighs. The result is a
    cocoon - small mobile technology allows people to remain productive in
    this posture.
  oThe Swipe - This posture results when the device is used on a worksurface
    in "surfing mode", in which people operate the device with one hand,
    typically with swiping gestures. Because it's on a worksurface, a person
    must keep their head a certain distance above the tablet in order to see
    it, and position their head to look down at it.
  oThe Smart Lean - This posture is the result of mobile devices that create
    the desire for people to temporarily "pull away" from others without
    leaving a meeting or collaborative
  oenvironment. This is typically a temporary posture and used for glancing
    at incoming texts or e-mails.
  oThe Trance - This posture was observed when people were focused on the
    screen and either mousing or using a touchpad to navigate on the screen
    for extended periods of time. This is a long duration posture.
  oThe Take It In - In this posture, people recline to view content on the
    large display and/or sit back to contemplate. This posture is about
    "taking in" information rather than generating it.
  oThe Strunch - The "strunch" (stretched-out hunch) is a very common posture
    with laptops. As people become fatigued, they gradually push their laptop
    further from the edge of the worksurface, resting their weight on the
    surface. This causes them to reach forward to work. Since the back and
    neck cannot sustain the reach and hunch posture for a long time, the
    person begins to prop themselves up with their non- tasking arm.

"Gesture reflects a new science of sitting," noted Ludwig. "When you feel it,
you'll get it."

To try the Gesture chair or learn more about about the Steelcase Global
Posture Study and Gesture please contact:

Katie Hasse

or visit

Gesture will be available Fall 2013.

About Steelcase Inc.
For 100 years, Steelcase Inc. has helped create great experiences for the
world's leading organizations– wherever work happens. Steelcase and our
family of brands– including Steelcase®, Coalesse®, Designtex®, Details®,
Nurture®, PolyVision® and Turnstone®– offer a comprehensive portfolio of
furnishings, products and services designed to unlock human promise and
support social, economic and environmental sustainability. We are globally
accessible through a network of channels, including approximately 650 dealers.
Steelcase is a global, industry-leading and publicly traded company with
fiscal 2012 revenue of $2.75 billion.

SOURCE Steelcase

Contact: Erin Howard, +1-646-281-6176,
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