In our experience, employers are always interested in happier, healthier, more productive staff. Some businesses are focusing on workplace ergonomics to help workers be more efficient and comfortable. An ergonomic workplace might also reduce the risk of job-related injury if your employees perform repetitive tasks.
What is Ergonomics?
Ergonomics is a process that involves designing environments and tools around the people who use them. In the past, products like office chairs and keyboards had a traditional, cost-effective design. However, sometimes non-ergonomic environments caused workers to hold their bodies in an unnatural position for hours. As they do, muscles and joints fatigue, and over time can become damaged.
When employers prioritize workplace ergonomics, they evaluate how workers move and make adjustments to remove strain. More comfortable employees feel less fatigue and muscles, joints, tendons and nerves are protected.
As you can probably imagine, an ergonomic workplace costs money. So what are the advantages?
- Prevent costly injuries – Musculoskeletal disorders develop over time or all at once because of overload. If it happens because of work-related activity, you’ll need to pay for that employee’s care. While they recover, you’re also out a member of your team. Ergonomics could reduce absenteeism, allow staff to work pain-free and save you from worker’s compensation claims.
- Boost productivity – People work better when they feel good. Productivity declines when they fatigue. When you design a job to require less exertion and contortion, efficiency improves.
- Show employees you care – Donuts in the breakroom are nice, but they probably won’t make a difference if employees receive a better offer from your competitor. What does make a difference is when your staff members know you studied how to make their lives better, then you put money into making changes. Workplace ergonomics could improve morale and employee retention.
What Businesses Need Workplace Ergonomics
The workers most likely to develop a repetitive strain injury are those who do the same task over and over, people with jobs that require forceful exertions or jobs where the worker has to repeatedly keep their body in an unnatural position. For example, a dental hygienist spends the day leaning over patients to clean teeth. Construction workers use power tools that require force and transmit vibration. Manufacturing employees perform the same tasks over and over, which places them at risk.
To decide if your business could benefit from workplace ergonomics, watch how your employees move and work. Identify potential problems, then brainstorm solutions. The fix doesn’t always involve buying a product. Sometimes you can simply adjust chairs and table heights or cross-train employees so they rotate instead of repeat.