Why You Should Care About Office Ergonomics
You’ve probably heard the phrase “sitting is the new smoking.” Thanks to the sedentary work environments of many white-collar professions, employees lack significant amounts of mobility during the day. The reality is that many adults spend around 50 percent of their days sitting at work, a startling statistic that can lead to increased risks of life-threatening diseases. Many of these diseases and conditions (such as tendonitis, muscle strain, arthritis, heart disease and obesity) occur because of poor posture, stiff chairs and repetitive motions. The lack of consideration for office ergonomics often represents a massive blow to your business’s employee health.
Office Ergonomics: Keeping Employees Healthy and Happy
Understanding office ergonomics
Office ergonomics, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is “the science of designing the job to fit the worker, rather than physically forcing the worker’s body to fit the job.” Workplace ergonomics are designed to help employees feel comfortable at work by providing the right environment for employees to perform essential work tasks efficiently.
Why are office ergonomics important?
Not only does a poor work setting affect employee health, it also directly affects employee performance, which can negatively impact a company’s bottom line. When an employee is constantly in pain at work, their focus on daily tasks and projects diminishes. The worker may also have to take time off to go to the doctor or take medical leave. So, what steps are necessary to provide employees with a comfortable, healthy work setup?
How to improve office ergonomics
The first thing you should do to improve office ergonomics is getting workers involved. Supply them with employee training content that explains the importance of office ergonomics. The employee training content should provide them with guidelines on how to properly assess their office environment. Giving employees resources to assess their current setup helps them understand how to identify potential problems before they experience negative consequences. It also helps them get involved in the process of creating a healthy work environment.
Employees should assess work areas, as described by WebMD:
- The work setup, including desk height, lighting, keyboard and computer monitor placement
- The chair/seating arrangement
- The time spent in one position
- How various tasks are completed with different movements.
- How many daily movements are repetitive
Once employees understand office ergonomics, you can begin to help improve each employee’s workstation. Below are some tips for creating a healthy, ergonomically sound workspace:
- Adjust seat heights
- Order supportive gel-filled wrist cushions
- Adjust computer screen height
- Order chairs with customizable seats and back support
- Offer incentives for coworkers to exercise
- Invest in desks that allow for both sitting and standing
- Use a headset for long phone calls, rather than uncomfortable hand-held phones
- Provide training topics in the workplace about ergonomics and other health-related topics.
By incorporating these tips into your workplace, employees can lead healthier lives while at work. Keeping up with healthy habits isn’t just helpful. It’s crucial.
Making Immediate Improvements
Need more help improving your own office ergonomics? Check out about the importance of office ergonomics and discover what other aspects create a positive work environment.