A Well-Being Approach to Improving Office Productivity
The Connection Between Well-Being and Work Performance
A well-being program incorporating ergonomic best practices in any work environment helps improve employee morale and productivity. When employees who are less fatigued and are able to work without discomfort they are more productive, more alert and happier overall.
Fact: Happy employees tend to be more loyal to their companies. A recent study by economists at the University of Warwick found that happiness led to a 12 percent spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10 percent less productive.*
The Downside of Poor Workplace Well-Being
- Musculoskeletal injuries resulting from poor workplace ergonomics account for 34% of all lost workday injuries and illnesses.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome accounts for 15% of all workplace injuries.
- 42% of carpal tunnel cases result in more than 30 days away from work.**
What Office Managers Can Do
Most office managers are prepared to address an office well-being problem that a member of their staff brings to their office door, such as carpal tunnel and neck strain due to working long hours at a computer. However, many employees may not even identify their well-being problem as related to their job, suffering through aches and eye strain on a daily basis, not realizing it is connected to their computer work. These ailments only lead to poor productivity, which affects the overall performance of the department. To maintain high standards of office productivity, an office manager may have to be a detective, identifying well-being and comfort problem areas among associates in the department, even though employees have not complained about these issues. The office manager can then provide a well-being solution.
Looking Out For Well-Being Red Flags
Do a walk through the office and keep your eyes open for clear signs of fatigue, strain and discomfort among staff, then suggest these accessories and techniques commonly provided by professional ergonomists.
Well-Being Red Flag: Lower Back Strain
- Suggest chair adjustments so employee's thighs are parallel to the floor
- Feet should be flat on the floor or on a foot rest
- Knees should not touch the seat pan
- Fit the employee's chair with a back rest that provides lumbar support
- Provide employee with a foot rest to relieve "pull" on the lower back
Well-Being Red Flag: Wrist Pain
- Keep mouse as close to keyboard as possible to prevent over-reach and wrist strain
- Use a palm support to help eliminate risk factors contact stress and wrist extension
- Keep hand, wrist, and forearm straight
- Keep hand position level with or below elbow position
Well-Being Red Flag: Eye Strain
- Suggest employee sit approximately 20" to 35" from the monitor.
- Position the top of the monitor screen at, or slightly below eye level using a monitor stand.
- Use a glare filter to reduce glare, brightness and reflection
Well-Being Red Flag: Neck and Shoulder Strain
- Employee should have neck and shoulders in a relaxed position and elbows close to the body
- Position keyboard and mouse closer and lower to their body
- The keyboard should be flat or tilted away from the body at a negative slope
- Keep forearms approximately parallel to the floor with elbows at a 90-110 degree angle
* Revesencio, Jonha. Why Happy Employees Are 12% More Productive, Fast Company Magazine.
** Ergonomics: The Study of Work. https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3125.
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