Improving ergonomics in the workplace can seem like a hefty investment. Ergonomic furniture, tools, and aids can be expensive. But those investments can be well worth it in the long run, because effective workplace ergonomics helps create a healthier workplace, which can boost employee engagement—and in turn, boost the business’s bottom line.
Workplace ergonomics is one of the most important employee perks: it fosters a safety and health culture as a core value. People recognize the value of walking into a safe workplace; with the knowledge that their employer wants to keep their team healthy, employees are likely to be happier at work. Reducing ergonomic problems leads to fewer sick days, fewer injuries, and can reduce long-term, cumulative issues that can shorten a worker’s career.
Including absenteeism, work-related MSDs have a significant cost. MSD-related workers’ compensation expenses cost businesses between $15 billion and $20 billion each year, according to OSHA statistics. The Institute of Medicine estimates the gross economic burden to companies resulting from workplace MSDs, in the form of compensation and loss of work, to be as high as $54 billion annually.
Benefits of Ergonomics
Workplace ergonomics fosters a safety and health culture as a core value. People recognize the value of walking into a safe workplace; with the knowledge that their employer wants to keep their team healthy, employees are likely to be happier at work. Reducing ergonomic problems leads to fewer sick days, fewer injuries, and can reduce long-term, cumulative issues that can shorten a worker’s career.
Instead of straight-backed office chairs and carpal tunnel-inducing office desks, an increasing number of workplaces are adding ergonomic office furniture to not only modernize their décor, but also to improve workplace ergonomics. Below are some popular ideas to help make your office more ergonomically friendly.
Computer Monitor Stands
When your computer monitor is positioned improperly, you can end up with neck and shoulder pain from craning your neck or turning your head to see the monitor while you’re working. Computer monitor stands can help you position your monitor directly in front of you, with the center of the screen at about eye height. You can also use computer monitor stands to raise the monitor to a height appropriate for standing desks.
By now, it’s fairly common knowledge that sitting all day while you work isn’t healthy. One way you can increase movement is by using a standing desk while you work. Standing desks have a surface that’s higher than an ordinary desk, because they’re designed to be used while you’re standing up, of course. Many standing desks have multiple height options that can work for people who are short or tall. Some adjustable height computer work stations even have electric motors that can adjust the height up and down, so they work for anyone.
Standing Desk Conversions
For those who can’t buy an entire new desk, another option to create an adjustable height computer work station is a standing desk conversion. These consist of a platform that serves as a computer monitor stand and typically also hold the keyboard. They sit on top of an existing work surface and can be adjusted so the height is appropriate for sitting or standing.
Ergonomic Office Chairs
An ergonomic office chair offers several benefits, from lumbar support for improved posture to waterfall seating designed to reduce the amount of stress on the legs.
Active seating refers to stools or chairs that let you move around while you’re sitting. This can include wobbly stools, balance balls, and a variety of other seating options that help you work your core muscles while you’re sitting. Active chairs can help improve posture and boost your energy levels during the day by preventing slouching.
Searching for furniture for your office or yourself is rarely easy. When possible, you’ll want to try out different items in person. It is a worthwhile undertaking to make your workstation easier to navigate without causing stress and strain to your body, and the right furniture and accessories for you can help lower stress and injury caused by awkward positions and repetitive tasks.
Your office work space should be set up so that it fits you and the job you are doing. Only you can know how comfortable you are doing your job after several hours, five or more days a week.