The principle of an ergonomics-oriented workplace refers to the measures adopted in order to prevent employee discomfort, chronic pain, or injury. Good ergonomics involves using research-driven, tested procedures and designs to minimise repetitive strain, adapt poor postures, and reduce excessive force.
Ergonomics is crucial to the physical and emotional health of workers. And although a significant part of good ergonomics relates to employee work habits, equipment orientation, and workstation arrangement, proactive ergonomics is far more than that. It starts with assessing each employee’s specific needs and investing in furniture that aligns with these needs without making tasks even more tiresome. Not only staff’s health is at risk by not having good ergonomics in place, but also the company’s finances. But this is not surprising at all. Since employees are no longer motivated to perform their jobs or their health is declining, productivity will suffer. After all, without a driving force, no company can thrive – at least not long-term.
Therefore, instead of asking employees to adapt to the office environment, you should adjust the office environment to the requirements and needs of workers. That’s the key to practical ergonomics. If you’re considering establishing an ergonomics process but don’t know where to start, don’t get discouraged. Here’s how to dial employee fatigue and injuries down and workplace ergonomics up:
Conduct a workplace ergonomics assessment
Before introducing an ergonomics program, leaders should examine and understand their employees’ needs. This highly depends on the type of business they’re running and the equipment needed for the various business operations. A thorough assessment is critical to establishing the areas of improvement, as well as a potent strategy to address them. Remember that there is a type of ergonomics for every worker role, and what could work for one may be a disaster for another.
Keeping abreast of EHS regulations, rules, laws, and varied programs could help in this respect. We know there is much to keep track of, but that’s your legal obligation as an employer. Fortunately, a range of tools can speed up your ergonomics process. EHS solutions like software include everything from the legal things you need to stay compliant with to Microsoft Dynamics 365, Power Bi, and G-suite.
Invest in out-of-the-box chairs
Now that you’ve learned how crucial it is to conduct a thorough workplace ergonomics assessment with the help of technology like software, it’s important to take the time and research appropriate ergonomics furniture, too. And if costs are your concern, don’t worry – the EHS software pricing is adapted to each business’s needs, so you can choose the variant that best aligns with your budget and requirements.
Often called the heart of ergonomics, the office chair is the first to pay attention to in your ergonomics process. Spending eight hours a day in front of a computer may not seem that burdensome, but you’d be surprised how many risks constant sitting could pose. Apart from general discomfort, chronic back pain is one of the most common issues that could result from poor posture. That’s why office chairs should be selected with safety in mind and adapted thus to each worker’s very needs.
Chairs should promote a neutral posture, be fully adjustable, and tilt slightly forward. Also, it would be helpful to opt for chairs with features like lumbar support, backrest, armrest, and synchronous mechanism. A proper backrest, for example, can encourage physical and psychological well-being, enhance focus, and lift the employee’s good mood. Similarly, the lumbar support ensures the natural S-shape of the spine and protects the intervertebral discs, guaranteeing an ergonomically correct sitting position of the upper body.
The monitor choice matters
Monitors are another must in the equipment you must provide employees with. However, their choice could highly influence their well-being and concentration. Take laptops as an example. Although they’re excellent for mobility and convenience, they could cause neck strain and poor posture if employees constantly look down at them.
Experts recommend monitors adjustable to each employee’s sitting height so that they look directly in front of them. If staff members need two computer screens, these should be adjusted to a similar height to prevent repetitive head motion. To align the screen so that the eyes are at the same height as the upper edge of the display, you may want to consider a monitor elevator. It works for both computer monitors and laptops and should put an end to shoulder tension and neck pain in a trice.
Consider standing desks
Standing desks have started to gain ground in recent years, with more and more employees considering this kind of investment. But what’s the driving force behind this bold move? It’s the employees’ health, of course. As reported by WebMD, standing desks are a potent weapon against inactivity, helping maintain a good posture, burn calories, keep circulation going, reduce back pain, and boost energy and focus. This, in turn, could prevent obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.
The positive impact of these desks is undeniable, but it shouldn’t be the only option provided. Regardless of the benefits, standing desks can lead to leg strain, so the go-to option would be to provide workers with both standing and sitting desks.
Ensure pleasant room temperature and lighting
Good ergonomics extends beyond office chairs, monitors, and desks to how the surrounding working environment is designed. Temperature and lightning play a decisive role in this respect, so they should be part of your list of priorities, as well. Ideally, you should provide as much natural light as possible, but if this isn’t reachable, ensure at least workers benefit from a daylight-similar light. Too shadowy rooms can cause eyestrain, while under fluorescent lights, workers can experience fatigue, so be sure the ambience is just right.
A comfortable temperature is also an absolute must in the office. To be able to work at maximum proficiency, employees should be given a minimum temperature and benefit from air conditioning and fans if the case.
Pay attention to the soundscape
Disruptive sounds like echoes and noise pollution aren’t conducive to performance, as they can keep employees in a constant bad mood. That’s why it’s advisable to ensure a soundscape that promotes productivity and encourages employees’ emotional well-being. Acoustic insulation might be needed in this regard, and while it may be expensive, it’s an excellent long-term investment.
When employees’ health is at stake, you should be vigilant about an ergonomics-oriented workplace.
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