In the past, the workplace was often stuffy, sectioned off and counterproductive. Today, however, more emphasis is being placed in offices on ergonomic workplace design.
What does it mean to say something is ergonomic?
Ergonomics is the focus on employee efficiency in the workplace, based on their relationship with not just the aesthetic, but also the physical characteristics of the workplace design. In short; making sure your office is best suited for staff and productivity.
Happy, healthy employees make for higher productivity in a company. Ask yourself this: Is my office currently providing a comfortable and inviting environment for people? Some may not realise, but office furniture can produce physical problems for people over prolonged periods of time. Even if a person is in a seat all day, as opposed to lifting heavy equipment, they can still be causing themselves unnecessary strain through bad posture and external circumstances.
A disorder which can arise from the workplace is known as Repetitive Strain Injury. This can occur from sitting in a less than adequate chair, or sitting with an incorrect posture. This is not exclusive to office chairs however, as desks and their positioning can also be problematic. Scattered and untidy workstations, with a lack of space or office structure, can also have negative influences. According to the HSE, symptoms of Repetitive Strain Disorder can include stiffness, joint and/or muscle pain, cramps, carpal tunnel syndrome and general fatigue. The HSE has stated one of the main causes of this disorder is “poor posture or activities that require you to work in an awkward position”.
Over prolonged periods of time of coping with the aforementioned symptoms, the sufferer can even go on to develop more serious musculoskeletal problems. Additionally, the risk of this combined with low morale can lead to absenteeism. In order to both preserve worker productivity and physical/mental wellness, an ergonomic approach for your office design is key. This will mean to first acknowledge the kind of business you have, the type of employee requirements in your workplace, and their specific workstations. Secondly, the next step is to enact positive changes to the workplace.
Here are some ways to ensure a workplace is more ergonomic:
- Place special care in making sure the temperature, humidity, lighting and noise levels of the workplace are suitable.
- Make sure that care and time is taken into the workstations. For instance; the distance and height for an employee to their desk, monitor, keyboard and mouse need to be set up for safer periods of prolonged work.
- Additionally, the chair and posture of the employee need to be able to seat a person safely for extended periods of time. If possible, allow and encourage the employee to get involved in the process of setting up their more ergonomically friendly workstation. Each worker is different and some may even require more specific workstations depending on their needs.
- Space to move around freely is also important. Modern offices are now ceasing to have as many cubicles and closed off sections for employees. A more open space workplace, without barriers, will encourage higher participation and teamwork.
- Invest in ergonomic products that will aid in making a positive difference to the workplace.
Gannon Ergonomics are experts in the field, having a fantastic range and variety of ergonomic products. We sell everything from back supporting adjustable chairs, to flexible desk lamps. Please have a look at our products and contact us today.