As this book was published in 1987, it may be of most interest to those researching how the field of office ergonomics evolved in modern times.
The Ergonomics Payoff: Designing the electronic office
Edited and coauthored by Rani Lueder, CPE
378 pages; extensive black/white & color photos
Hardcover. Language: English
Please note its December 1986 publication date.
ISBN: 0039219984 / 9780039219987
First published by Holt, Rinehart & Winston
Reviewed by Val Stengels
Published in The Construction Specifier
The relatively new science of ergonomics (also known as "human factors engineering") is defined as "the science of adapting products and processes to human characteristics and capabilities in order to improve people’s well-being and optimize efficiency and productivity". The Ergonomics Payoff is a practical manual that bridges the gap between designers and facilities managers and between the providers and the consumers of the office environment. This book is intended for those involved in designing the electronic office or in evaluating how a traditional office can accommodate new requirements more effectively. The text is a result of the cooperation and work of 17 authors (including the editor), all experts in their fields.
The first two chapters deal with such basics as the office in context, and stress in the electronic office. This is followed by a discourse on some purely technical matters, such as power wiring, screen visibility requirements, and teleconferencing. Some historical information is added to form a reasonable foundation for the main discussion: evaluation of the electronic office.
The general office environment is discussed in length in four chapters covering lighting, noise, thermal comforts, and air quality. A chapter titled "Evaluating the Quality of the Workplace" discusses the performance implications of information technology in the workplace. It also introduces a framework for field evaluation towards improving the overall quality of the workplace. It is interesting to note that some European countries have officially abolished the massive open-office plan configuration as inhuman.
The text also includes the basics of a workstation design for the handicapped, including some of the adaptable equipment, as well as an access checklist with all measurements and dimensions shown both in metric and in traditional system.
The last chapter on diversified fields of the office environment covers a brief discourse about offices at home. The idea is based on the fact that people no longer have to occupy the same space to work together. With the rapidly increasing capabilities to move information and data, the potential for decentralized work and "telecommuning" (sic.) has increased drastically. Perhaps in the future a chapter like this will be included in each and every text dealing with residential space design.
The Ergonomics Payoff is a valuable collection of technical information about office design for the present and the future. The book is profusely illustrated with black and white, as well as a number of color pictures, tables, charts, and graphs.
Val Stengels, FCSC, CCS, is Chief of Metric Services at the Canadian Department of Public Works. He has frequently lectured on construction materials and methods.