If you work in an office, chances are that you find sitting in the same position for hours on end fairly uncomfortable. Do you find yourself getting stiff, so you get up and stretch on a regular basis? Does your mind wander because of your discomfort, and do you find it hard to stay motivated on your tasks? These problems and more can occur when your workspace isn’t working for you as an individual and you may be one of many people who would benefit from something called ergonomics.
Ergonomics refers to the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment, and the application of science to ensure that a workplace fits the specific needs of the individual user. The aim of ergonomics is to make the necessary changes to the user’s workspace in order to increase efficiency and productivity and reduce discomfort.
Every worker is different so unsurprisingly, there is no ‘one size fits all’ perfect workspace. Instead, ergonomics uses a series of different principles to determine the very best of setting up a workstation/workspace to suit an individual. Some of the sciences behind ergonomics include physiology, anatomy, engineering, and psychosocial studies. These different sciences are applied in order to correctly set up workstations, improve postures, coach proper techniques for performing tasks and determining the best equipment to be used.
Ergonomics can be applied to a range of things within a workspace, including:
- The right chair that offers adequate support for each individual worker
- A desk that has sufficient space and is the right height
- Correct positioning of the computer monitor, keyboard, mouse and any other key features of the desk
- The use of ergonomic aids such as special keyboards, headsets and more
- Correct lighting
There are several key goals of ergonomics which also double as benefits for both employees and their workforce. These are:
- To prevent fatigue, discomfort, pain and other negative effects of poor workplace design and habits. These can be responsible for a significant amount of time absent from work, costing employers time and money, driving profitability down. In fact, it is estimated that musculoskeletal disorders caused by poor workplace ergonomics cost employees more than $20 billion annually – through decreased productivity, worker’s compensation and medical expenses.
- Reducing sick time caused by musculoskeletal disorders that may occur as a direct result of the workplace, by enhancing the health of employees. Employees that are happy in their workplace are more likely to go above and beyond expectations at work, improving the quality of their output. It also makes them more likely to be retained by the business rather than seeking alternative employment.
- To increase productivity by removing barriers caused by the attributes of the employee’s workspace. This, in turn, can increase profitability for the business, and in some instances better enable employees to reap performance-based incentives and rewards.
If you would like more information about ergonomics in the workplace, please contact our offices.