Every business would benefit from an ergonomic workplace transformation. An ergonomic workplace greatly contributes to employee productivity and satisfaction by reducing stress, posture-induced chronic pain, and repetitive injuries.
You’re probably familiar with the concept of ergonomics as it relates to office furniture. The field of ergonomics, however, involves more than special keyboards, desks, and chairs.
Ergonomics Employs a Holistic Approach
Ergonomics is a holistic approach to productivity based on comfort, movement, injury prevention, and proper rest. A lack of proper breaks and movement can squash employee productivity just as much as poor posture.
While all aspects are important, injury prevention is at the forefront of ergonomics. According to data published by OSHA, work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are frequent causes of lost or restricted work time. An ergonomic workspace reduces MSDs and, therefore, increases productivity.
Ergonomics Begins with the Right Furniture
If you’re not familiar, an ergonomic workplace transformation can be confusing (and costly). This confusion is exactly why companies like BTOD were created — to help businesses make informed decisions about the specific pieces of furniture they buy.
Good posture prevents chronic pain and injury. Ergonomic furniture creates the foundation for good posture. Employees can’t practice good posture, for example, without the right office chair and desk.
Ergonomics Can Prevent Repetitive Motion Injuries
Repetitive motion injuries develop over long periods of time and worsen if the cause doesn’t change. For employees who work in an office, the most common repetitive motion injuries involve the wrist and fingers, like texting thumb and carpal tunnel.
If your employees are sitting at a computer all day typing on a keyboard or a mobile device, they’re at risk for developing carpal tunnel and other similar injuries. Ergonomic tools like wrist pads, ergonomic keyboards and mice, monitor risers and mounts, and adjustable-height desks play a role in preventing these injuries.
Are Your Workplace Policies Ergonomic?
Ergonomic company policies have significant potential to increase productivity and satisfaction. For example, deskbound employees discouraged from taking breaks are at risk for developing MSDs. Likewise, if you’re not open to switching to ergonomic office equipment at a basic level, your employees can develop repetitive motion injuries that lead to workers’ compensation claims.
Your workplace policies should allow employees the option of standing or sitting at their discretion. To make this work, they’ll need an adjustable standing desk, a comfortable standing mat, and possibly a riser.
Your policies should also require frequent breaks, even if employees only go outside for a few minutes to get fresh air. It’s not enough to simply allow for frequent breaks. Many employees have learned to avoid taking breaks altogether.
Employees Can’t Concentrate When They’re in Pain
Employees perform better when they’re happy and comfortable. Nobody likes working in pain. Pain diverts attention away from the task at hand, and chronic pain can significantly slow an employee down.
An ergonomic workplace transformation designs entire workspaces — including décor, temperature, and lighting — to support comfort while reducing the risk of injury. Many employees struggle with chronic neck pain from looking down at a computer monitor that should be elevated. This pain prevents employees from being fully focused on their tasks. Once a monitor is elevated to eye level, the pain recedes.
Keeping workspaces uncluttered and visually clean is also part of ergonomics. Mental distractions are both conscious and unconscious, and a messy desk can lead to unconscious slouching and other bad posture habits.
It makes sense that employees are most productive when they’re happy and comfortable. Even slight pain can make concentrating unbearable. If you want a productive, happy team, you need to implement ergonomics into your workplace, from individual work stations to company policies.