• Kyodo

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Manufacturers are accelerating the development of health-enhancing office furniture, to capitalize on a government-led campaign to improve Japan’s working environments.

An increase in companies adopting employee wellness as a managerial indicator is also boosting efforts to make new kinds of office equipment that helps workers stay in shape.

Earlier this month, Osaka-based stationery maker Kokuyo Co. unveiled a chair called the ing, which has a gliding seat that inclines in all directions as a person shifts around in it. The chair allows people to swing while seated and flex the muscles around their waist and shoulders.

To maintain proper posture, one’s body constantly needs to balance the chair’s movements. The calories consumed while sitting in the chair for four hours is equivalent to a 1.5-kilometer walk, according to the company. The chair is priced at about ¥95,000.

Office furniture maker Okamura Corp., based in Yokohama, is expanding the lineup for its Swift series of adjustable desks, first launched in 2015. The desks have a motor-driven height adjustment feature that allows them to be used while sitting or standing.

Findings from Okamura’s joint research with a laboratory show that working at that type of desk reduces worker fatigue and helps maintain awareness, according to the company.

“Managers in information-technology firms sometimes install these desks in their offices in a top-down manner,” an Okamura official said.

Another Osaka-based maker of office furniture, Itoki Corp., last year released the Pio (Park in Office) frame, a set of small, metal poles resembling playground equipment designed to let employees relax and exercise by hanging and leaning on the apparatus.

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