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Everything Ergonomic

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Ergonomics is a vital part to consider when redesigning your space, especially in workspaces. General content about the benefits of digging into the ergonomics of your office can be found in many places, but there is a vast array of additional information about ergonomics which can assist your team and improve their work capabilities. While computer work stations often get a bad reputation for when discussing ergonomics, there are basic principles which apply to all areas of work, including assembly lines, general meeting spaces, and even areas where client interfacing takes more than a few minutes.

Poor Ergonomics

Most know what really bad ergonomics looks like. Employees hunched over keyboards, necks and shoulders curved, wrists awkwardly angled to reach items needed for tasks, and seating which is lacking in numerous areas, whether it be overall support or size.  While employees should always take time to move, rest their eyes, and take breaks away from their workstation, it is all too frequent that employees are rubbing their necks and shoulders, shifting in their seats to find more support or to redistribute weight, and overall spending time adjusting rather than working.

Impact of Ergonomics

However, even tweaking a few of these factors, making work spaces which fit your employees, can significantly improve employee satisfaction, overall health, and productivity. One study, published by Ergonomics and reported by Oklahoma State University, evaluated the impact of ergonomics in the work place. The group with ergonomic improvements increased their output by 4.87%. The control group with no change saw a decrease in their output by 3.46%. The difference between the groups equals a difference in performance of 8.33%. Most managers would find great satisfaction in seeing that measure in their employees and their tasks.

Where to Start?

When looking at areas of improvement, there are many to consider. Not only do poorly designed workspaces lead to less output because of issues with layout and configuration, but health factors, such as back, hand, wrist, neck, and shoulder pain can all frequently be contributed to ergonomic factors. Ergo-Plus cautions “These symptoms can lead to further fatigue and discomfort and result in costly musculoskeletal injuries and disorders down the road.”  Good ergonomics involves the right balance between support and comfort. Frequently needed items should be accessible and conveniently placed. Chairs and workstations should be at a height which fits the worker rather than the specs of the furniture itself. Technology should be adjustable to fit the angles needed for support for wrists and for optimization in regards to the visual field.

Where might an organization start in regards to evaluating the ergonomics in their work space? Observation of employees and fielding their questions and concerns is always a great starting point. Additionally, there are check lists each employees can fill in to see which areas are already serving your employees well and which areas need attention. After all, the employee using the work space is the best person to assess if there is unnecessary strain which can be addressed.

HBi can help assess your space to understand what works in terms of ergonomics and in regards to numerous other aspects like work flow, trends, and updates needed to freshen up your space. See our website for ideas or contact us today.