Your employees are your company’s greatest investment. It pays to educate your team as well as improve workplace ergonomics because it’s a tangible benefit that enhances employee’s lives. Reducing ergonomic problems leads to fewer sick days, fewer injuries, and can reduce long-term, cumulative issues that can shorten a worker’s career. However, over time, investing in workplace ergonomics more than pays for itself.
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. Effective workplace ergonomics helps create a healthier workplace, which in turn can boost employee engagement.
First of all, when you incorporate ergonomics, you demonstrate that you care about your employees; that their health and well-being are important to you. With the knowledge that you want to keep your team healthy, they are likely to be happier at work. Workplace ergonomics fosters a safety and health culture as a core value. People appreciate they are walking into a safe workplace, and recognize the value of being taken care of in this way. Here are some of the things you and your employees should know about ergonomics in the workplace.
The Ergonomically Designed Workplace
The goal of an ergonomically designed workplace is not only to look nice, but also to take into account the capabilities and limitations of people in order to fulfill the functional requirements of the users. The way a workplace is designed can have a profound impact on the productivity of workers. With optimum equipment placement, integrating human factors into workplace design, and effectively integrating the workplace into the surrounding environment are all aspects of ergonomics.
An effective ergonomic workplace design should aim to generate intuition, teamwork, and more importantly, provide a safe, comfortable environment. Integrating ergonomic principles and interior design has become increasingly important when it comes to helping workers perform to their best abilities.
As a result, the use of effective ergonomics is a priority in modern-day office designs. The best workplaces are designed not only for people, but around people. For example, most modern offices avoid closed spaces like cubicles, instead encouraging more open, dynamic work areas.
Improving workplace ergonomics is important when it comes to preventing musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs. After all, it’s in the best interest of employees and employers to create a safe and comfortable workplace. An ergonomically friendly workplace has adequate lighting that isn’t too bright, and offers options for a variety of working postures, both standing and sitting. And an ergonomically friendly workplace should definitely encourage workers to take short breaks to stretch or walk around every half hour or so.
In other words, an ergonomically designed office should be useful for most people, accommodating a wide range of individual preferences and physical ability. There should be plenty of room to move around, whether it’s for delivering interoffice mail, or taking a quick walk to get more physical activity. Windows that provide natural light and views to the outdoors are important for worker productivity, and overhead lighting should not be too harsh. Frequently used objects and equipment should be placed within easy reach of people of all sizes.
What Your Team Should Know About Ergonomics
You and your team should know that you can lower workplace stress while boosting creativity and productivity by improving workplace ergonomics. Ergonomics improves productivity and employee engagement; poor workplace ergonomics leads to fatigue, aches and pains, and injury. When your team is physically uncomfortable, they won’t perform well—and they may even begin cutting corners, which could put productivity and even product quality at risk.
Think about it. When you’ve got aches and pains, you aren’t at your best. Your attitude tends toward the negative, and you aren’t able to concentrate well. Consider the last time you were tired, in pain, or otherwise uncomfortable at work. You may have taken extra breaks, worked more slowly, or even left early because you weren’t feeling well. Imagine what your performance would be like over time if every workday caused fatigue or discomfort. What would it be like if the whole team felt that way every day?
When the workplace keeps ergonomics like good posture, controlling screen glare, ideal heights and reaches, and reduced motions in mind, workers become more efficient and more productive. When your team isn’t fatigued and uncomfortable while performing their job functions, employee productivity increases, because they have more energy during the workday.
Training your employees on workplace ergonomics can boost problem-solving skills and overall creativity while reducing mistakes. In other words, your team will be better able to do their jobs because they won’t be distracted by muscle strain or other physical discomfort. Another tip that can help reduce workplace stress is increasing physical activity. Be sure you and your team take regular breaks to walk around or stretch for a few moments every hour or two. When you vary your body’s position, you help protect against musculoskeletal injuries as well as increasing blood flow, which can give you a little energy boost.
Involve Your Team in Workplace Ergonomics
Engage your team in the process of evaluating how to improve ergonomics in the workplace. This will demonstrate that you value their feedback and contributions—which in turn can improve overall morale. You may be surprised to find that your employees have insights into improving the workplace that you never considered.
Take some time to evaluate your workstations, and talk to your coworkers to get input into how you work together to reduce workplace stress. Making it a team effort gets everyone involved, which can raise morale.
Improving workplace ergonomics can also lower stress by reducing sick days, injuries, and long-term health problems that can negatively affect a person’s career. After all, if your team isn’t distracted by physical discomfort, they can better focus on doing their jobs. And that benefits everyone’s bottom line.