How Office Ergonomics Affects Employee Health and Productivity

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Office ergonomics, that thing you always hear about but have never bothered to learn about. We have all been there, but office ergonomics is a very important concern for any smart business owner and employee.

Ergonomics is the science of designing the workplace while keeping in mind the limitations and capabilities of the employee.

Office ergonomics goes beyond software developers with wrist braces. It affects workers in all workspaces across the world, however desk workers have many hidden and underreported dangers that if not properly addressed can cause a lifetime of debilitating agony and a sharp decrease in production.

Implementing a systematic ergonomics plan improves the mental and physical well-being of all office workers. Remember, just because bad posture has not yet lead to harm or workers’ compensation claims does not mean that it will not in the future. Bad posture needs to be improved before it becomes a chronic musculoskeletal disorder (MSD).

Office Ergonomics Reduces Injuries and Costs

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Scientific studies indicate that many office workers sit more than they sleep and you may be doomed to a career full of MSDs – pain in your neck, back, wrist and fingers. Office ergonomics prevent this and can keep you comfortable and productive for years to come.

By systematically reducing ergonomic risk factors you promote a healthy business by reducing workers compensation costs. Approximately $1 out of every $3 is attributed to MSDs. Prevent these injuries before they occur and you have an opportunity for significant cost and time savings. Indirect costs of an injury can be up 10x-20x  the direct cost.

Ergonomic chairs are a great start for improvement that can be made to any office. Designed specifically for comfort and prolonged usage, these chairs might be expensive but they will last for years. Invest in an ergonomic chair that is designed to be comfortable for 8 continuous hours instead of only one or two. Standing desks are also a popular option in the modern office.

Office Ergonomics Improves Employee Productivity

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By making improvements to the work process, you remove barriers that bar optimal performance. A human body, like a machine, has limits. Pushing your body beyond its limits wears you out and leads directly to MSDs like carpal tunnel syndrome or the dreaded “back pain.”

A healthy and well run business has productive employees and provides them with the tools needed to be efficient and productive. An ergonomic chair, a standing desk, and proper placement of key objects at your desk are all simple solutions to prevent those pesky pains from bad posture.

Comfort is key to productivity and office ergonomics. The best ergonomic solutions promote good posture, less exertion and fewer motions in order to become more efficient. You may roll your eyes at such common sense solutions, but they work. The fact that an entire industry has evolved from the simple concept of good posture and efficient motions demonstrates how important it is, especially considering how often it is overlooked.

Great Office Ergonomics Shows Employees They Are Valued

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Employees notice and value when their company is putting forth its best efforts to ensure their health and safety. Employees are a company’s most valuable asset. Implementing office ergonomics is a great way to reduce turnover and absenteeism, while boosting employee happiness and engagement during office hours.

By providing a comfortable work environment, including things like a high-quality ergonomic chair and a good computer mouse, can go a long way towards preventing repetitive stress injuries that plague so many desk workers.

The cumulative effects of fostering a safe and healthy company culture are numerous. Improving your commitment to your employees will improve their commitment to the company.

Ergonomic Risk Factors

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The main risk factors associated with developing an MSD, that can be controlled and reduced by office ergonomics, are:

  • Task repetition – A task is defined to be repetitive if the cycle lasts 30 seconds or less. Such repetitive tasks increase the likelihood that an individual will develop an MSD, especially debilitating repetitive stress injuries.
  • Forceful exertion – Many work tasks require high force loads on the human body. Muscle effort increases in response and the stress on muscles and tendons leads to fatigue and rapidly diminishing productivity.
  • Awkward posture – Without adequate recovery time, the risk of developing an MSD is greatly exacerbated by having bad posture. Without proper body mechanics, the stress on the body will build up and the pain will come and become more pronounced. Chances are that those aches and pains you associate with “getting old” are really more to do with repetitive bad posture that you do not your body time to recover from.

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Office ergonomics are of great importance to office workers. A healthy business considers how to improve the workflow and reduce physical stress on employees in order to promote a safe and productive work culture.

Years of pain from poor posture, overexertion, and repetitive stress can be alleviated with a systematic office ergonomics implementation solution. Standing desks, wrist braces, comfortable ergonomic chairs and more are an important first step in this process. They will significantly improve worker efficiency and productivity, as well as reduce costs in the long run from drastically reduced workers comp claims and longer employee retention.

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