Unproductive employees will cost you a lot of money. Luckily, there are several ways to boost productivity and ensure safety in the workplace. One way is by incorporating ergonomics into the workplace.
Ergonomics is all about creating a work environment that’s conducive for employees to help them stay safe and work better. Failure to do so can lead to ergonomic hazards, which are a bit more difficult to spot since their effects aren’t always felt immediately.
The goal of ergonomics is to optimize the interaction between a worker and their work, making it easier and more efficient to perform tasks. It goes without saying that ergonomics and office productivity go hand in hand; let’s see how:
1) Ergonomics Encourages Perfect Postures
People are built differently, which is why it’s important to have office furniture that can accommodate employees of all shapes and sizes.
Ergonomics encourages employees to work in their comfort zone. With so many hours spent sitting at work, you need to keep your legs at a 90-degree angle to allow your feet to rest flat on the floor. This posture prevents aching feet from work, supports blood circulation, and helps workers to remain comfortable.
Similar to the ideal position of feet and legs, back, arms, elbows, and eyes should also remain in the right posture to keep employees more comfortable and in turn, less fatigued and more productive.
2) Ergonomics Reduces Highly Repetitive Tasks
Task repetition, especially coupled with other risk factors such as awkward postures, slows down work progress. Excessive and unnecessary motions should, therefore, be reduced as much as possible to achieve efficiency at the workplace.
The whole point of ergonomics is to ensure employees are comfortable while working, allowing highly repetitive tasks to be done without the increased risk of Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs).
3) Employees Feel Cared About
The simple act of adding ergonomically-designed products at the workplace has a profound effect on employees’ motivation and productivity. It shows that you care about their health and overall well-being, and recognize their existence and importance to the company. As such, they are more engaged and more willing to give their best.
4) Ergonomics Reduces High Force Requirements
While all jobs require some level of physical activity, other tasks demand workers to use some extra strength. High force requirements are not only damaging to the workers’ health but also slow down work.
Modern workplaces need ergonomic equipment to help reduce muscle exertion and work effort, which will, in turn, increase productivity. This includes using mechanical assists, adjustable height lift tables, counterbalance systems, as well as powered equipment and tools designed to improve workplace environment and ergonomics.
5) Ergonomically-Designed Products Allow Workers to Work More Quickly
We’ve already mentioned that ergonomic equipment optimize postures, cut down on repetitive motions, and reduce high force requirements.
All this makes a worker’s job much easier to do. For example, ergonomic computer monitors are designed to reduce eye strain, which allows employees to focus more on their screens without the risk of developing headaches; an ergonomic keyboard can help you type faster; while ergonomic cleaning equipment enables workers to clean larger areas, without needing to bend so frequently. All this increases the quality and quantity of work, leading to greater productivity.
6) Ergonomics Minimizes Work-Related Errors
Uncomfortable employees tend to be distracted by the discomfort and end up making simple errors that would have otherwise been avoided. These simple mistakes can end being quite costly. For instance, errors made when operating machinery can lead to severe injuries or wastage of raw materials, while mistakes made when making measurements can hurt the quality of products.
On the other hand, ergonomic workstations provide much-needed comfort and allow employees to concentrate more on what they are doing, which often result in fewer mistakes being made. Also, ergonomically designed products are more efficient and make fewer errors.
7) Ergonomics Makes Storage Easily Accessible
When it comes to workplace comfort, most people tend to overlook the accessibility of workplace peripherals, papers, and important files.
Think of the number of times in a day you have to reach over to grab some papers or drop to your knees to access important documents in the bottom filing cabinet. While this may seem small, it can take a toll on one’s body. An ergonomically friendly workplace will include cabinets that play multiple roles and store office equipment within easy reach.
8) Comfortable Workers Are More Energetic
Discomfort at the workplace increases fatigue and muscle aches. Employees who are in pain tend to feel tired and drained, which makes them less able to do their jobs well and faster. They are forced to take frequent breaks so as to stretch or lie down in an attempt to ease muscle strains and aches.
On top of that, physical pain also affects mental energy. It’s difficult to feel inspired, or come up with innovative ideas, or solve problems when you’re constantly distracted by physical discomfort. In contrast, employees who are more comfortable, have more energy and higher working capacity.
9) Ergonomics Reduces the Risk of Injury
Millions of employees suffer work-related injuries every year. This affects employers and employees alike.
One of the biggest threats to workplace productivity is injury-related absences. They rob the workplace of a valuable workforce and cost employers a great deal of money in the form of compensation payments. Work-related injuries have physical and psychological repercussions on the injured person. An injured employee will easily lose their morale, which in turn affects their productivity levels.
An ergonomically-friendly workplace makes work easier and helps cut down strain, which minimizes the risk of work-related injuries.
10) Ergonomics Boosts Healthy Habits
The introduction of sit-stand workstations has gone a long way into achieving ergonomics and office productivity.
Standing desks are believed to help employees keep fit, promote mental concentration, and even battle certain medical conditions that result from sitting for prolonged hours. That being said, it’s important to alternate between standing and sitting since using a standing desk for too long can be counter-productive. It can cause back problems and foot issues like arch pain and heel pain.
Ensure you have on the right footwear when using a standing desk. Considering one’s gait affects other parts of their body like the hips, it’s important to see a podiatrist if you have any problems with your feet.
11) Ergonomics can Boost the Bottom-Line
One of the often overlooked benefits that ergonomics can provide to any business, is the positive effect it can have on the profitability of the business.
In the current competitive business climate, companies and management are very conscious of cost savings and the taking of well-informed business decisions. In this process, management tends to place a lower emphasis on the influence of the work environment, on the health, safety, and morale of the workers.
Using ergonomics in the workplace to ensure that workers’ health and safety are improved, tends to have a positive effect on the bottom line, with the reduction in the company’s cost, which can be attributed to improved productivity, higher quality of work, less training expenses, and generally improved labour relations.
The inclusion of ergonomics into the workplace also ensures retention of trained and skilled workers for much longer periods, which coupled with all the other benefits mentioned, makes any business more profitable.
As we’ve already seen, ergonomics can have a huge impact on your company, including improving productivity. With such a competitive business environment, you want to make life easier for your employees and ensure they are motivated to work harder and better. What better place to begin than with an ergonomically-friendly workplace.