How often do we change our sitting position throughout the workday? We all spend too much time sitting down – whether it’s at work, in the car or on the couch after work. People who don’t use wheelchairs can "stretch their legs" during a long day at the office. Unfortunately, that’s not a real option for wheelchair users. That's why it is important for them to find relief and comfort in other ways. The Dutch manufacturer O4 Wheelchairs has created the WorkHopper, a dynamic and ergonomic solution that’s specifically designed for the workplace.
Most workplaces that are created for people with disabilities entail extended periods sitting in a static position. That’s very tiring and places very high static loads on the body, making it all the more important for wheelchairs to reduce strain on the upper limbs. That's why the WorkHopper is based on a 3D body scan and custom-made to fit the user’s exact body measurements and unique needs. The back and sitting angle adjustment function ensures users always sit comfortably and can tackle all the demands of their workday with ease.
"We always say there is no such thing as one correct sitting posture. Your next sitting position is always the right and best one. The WorkHopper offers active and variable support, mobility and greater freedom of movement in the wheelchair and as much or as little support as the user wants or needs," says Michiel Raterink of O4 Wheelchairs.
It was important to the Dutch company to make a wheelchair that is not just suitable for an office environment. That’s why the WorkHopper provides excellent shock absorption, which enables users to also move comfortably around a factory, warehouse or industrial site without developing posture-related pain and fatigue. "Even though the WorkHopper makes it easier to work in an office at a desk, it also lends itself to working in a manufacturing plant or workshop. We believe it has an endless array of use. You just have to consider each case individually and simply try things."
If you would like to know more about the wheelchairs of the Dutch company, you can get a picture at REHACARE. But what kind of innovations O4 will have in their luggage for the fair is still a secret.
In Germany, people with disabilities have a protected right to participate in the primary labor market. As a result, the costs of disability resources that are needed for the workplace or job accommodations are covered by the applicable funding agency and service provider (depending on the respective jurisdiction and responsibility, this might be the Public Retirement Insurance, the Federal Employment Agency or the Statutory Accident Insurance), as this pertains to the so-called "Leistungen zur Teilhabe am Arbeitsleben or LTA (Editor’s note: These are benefits that aim at enabling disabled people to participate in a meaningful work life, and generating, sustaining and enhancing their working and earning ability). Instances that necessitate a second or additional wheelchair as an exclusive workplace accommodation must be assessed on a case-by-case basis as there is no legal right to a work wheelchair. However, the WorkHopper "comes in different types of frames, which are all included in the Disability Resources for Independent Living Directory (German: Hilfsmittelverzeichnis, HMV; editor's note)." The maximum reimbursement benefit by the funding agency or service provider is granted, "if there is ample justification that the wheelchair is necessary as a job accommodation and not just a desired item."
Increasing accessibility in the workplace means creating an environment that expands inclusion. The Dutch manufacturer and its WorkHopper do their part to foster both aspects. The adjustable settings not only facilitate ergonomic seating but also provide more freedom of movement and allow better occupational performance. Raterink: "This reduces the disparities between wheelchair users and their colleagues without wheelchairs and increases diversity participation in the workplace."
Ultimately, this doesn't just benefit the wheelchair users. After all, once the tiring effects of prolonged sitting are eliminated, people have more energy on the job. This keeps employees happy and productive, which also greatly benefits the employer.
The many satisfied O4 Wheelchair customers also attest to this. If you are interested in one of the many Hopper wheelchairs for every situation in life, come visit the REHACARE trade fair in Hall 4/B16 to find out more and test the different models.