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As workplace wellbeing climbs its way up the agenda, ergonomics has become a popular topic of conversation.
Good ergonomics can help people become healthier, happier and more productive at work. This is because it looks at how people interact with equipment and processes and sets out to improve this interaction.
Ergonomics is about making products and systems comfortable and efficient for people to use.
In terms of workstations, this involves looking at all aspects of the workstation environment and adjusting different elements so that users can work comfortably. This includes helping people work in the correct posture by using ergonomic products and accessories, such as a monitor riser to ensure that the top of the screen is level with the user’s eyes.
An ergonomist will assess the design of products and systems to see if these meet people’s needs and look at how they can make them easier and safer to use.
Ergonomists also study the effect of the work environment on employees, because poor layouts, processes or systems can increase the risk of stress, burnout and other issues.
The number of people saying their health is at risk as a result of their workplace has fallen from 31% in 2000 to 23% in 2015. This is great news, but employers are still looking to improve matters.
Cigna’s Health and Wellbeing report found that retaining a motivated workforce is a challenge for up to a third of employers, with four in ten employers looking to make a further investment in health and wellbeing.
There is still much that workplaces can do to nurture wellbeing, and workspace ergonomics provide a clear way to deliver this.
When ergonomics is not as it should be, this can create a productivity issue. Or where there’s a productivity challenge, there may be an ergonomic solution.
Improving workplace ergonomics reduces risks to employees and can remove barriers to productivity by making tasks easier and faster to complete.
For example, ergonomics can encourage people to work comfortably and use their equipment more easily, so that they become less tired and can work more quickly and effortlessly.
Another example are sit-stand workstations, which can encourage movement and higher energy levels in the workplace. By alternating sitting, standing and moving during the working day, people can improve their posture and reduce the risk of back problems and other health issues.
Workers using standing desks are reported to stay more alert and focused, allowing them to be more productive across the day.
In one study, Cigna discovered that stress was a major issue influencing health and wellbeing, with increased stress levels affecting 50% of organisations.
Helping people to work more safely, healthily and effectively at their workstations is fundamental to good ergonomics.
A workstation assessment will look at every aspect of how employees interact with their immediate environment and recommend adjustments to ensure working practices are as efficient as possible.
This can include ensuring the position of the monitor screen, or level of lighting, does not lead to eyestrain, headaches or lower back pain.
When a screen is too low, users can lean forward and strain their neck and lower back to view the contents. Screens should be positioned so the top is level with users’ eyes.>
Monitor brightness should be set so the user can easily view the screen’s contents and read words on the screen without straining their eyes.
An ergonomic mouse and keyboard can help prevent wrist strain, and lumbar support for office chairs can help to lower the risk of lower back pain.
You can complete a free online healthy workstation assessment here.
Encouraging better health at work can have an impact on your ROI, and good ergonomics can play a critical part in this. As well as reducing potential absence through illness, the right ergonomic equipment can help improve efficiency. A comfortable workforce is a productive one. We’ll show you how.
Workplace ergonomics is a hot topic for any business owner who wants to optimise their team’s output by encouraging better health at work. It has been calculated that UK workers suffer a staggering 553,000 cases of work-related musculoskeletal disorders each year. * While workers endure aching muscles, debilitating trapped nerves or limited movement that an ill-equipped office environment can cause, organisations watch the negative impact of absences, illness and lower productivity play out on their bottom line.
Investing in the ergonomic furniture and accessories is as important as investing in quality training and recruitment. Fewer lost workdays, lower medical expenses (if these are part of employee benefits) and avoiding the cost of interim staff all mean saving long term costs.
However, employee sick days aren’t the only reason productivity and associated profits plummet. An employee suffering from wrist strain, back pain or aching shoulders won’t work at their optimum and, in the long run, that will cost an organisation money.
How ergonomics delivers on the bottom line
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