Unlocking the Benefits of Ergonomics in the Workplace
The Australian Bureau of Statistics states that Australian adults are sedentary for 39 hours a week and according to Safe Work Australia, MSD (Musculoskeletal Disorders) cost organisations $24 billion in 2013. This shows that workplace wellbeing is not only a moral issue but a financial one too.
Considering this, organisations must implement measures to improve employee safety. One such solution is the use of ergonomic furniture.
Ergonomics involves creating an optimal working environment where people are comfortable and efficient. Its use can lead to improved productivity, enhanced morale, lower employee turnover rates and fewer work-related injuries.
Good ergonomic practices have been shown to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and back pain. This practice is also important for preventing injuries caused by falls, slips and trips in the workplace.
What are Ergonomics?
Ergonomics is the science of designing and arranging workplaces, products and systems to promote safety, comfort and efficiency for all workers. It involves considering a person’s physical, cognitive, social and organisational needs when designing tools, machines, tasks or processes.
Doing so makes work safer by reducing fatigue and discomfort, increasing productivity and ensuring safe working conditions. Ergonomic principles can be applied to any workplace environment, including offices, factories and laboratories.
The goal of ergonomics is to create an environment that helps people perform their jobs more efficiently while minimising stress on the body. This is best achieved through proper design of the workplace layout, as well as providing appropriate furniture, equipment and supplies. Many wellbeing strategies simply add ergonomics to solve many workplace issues.
These are some of the most important ergonomic problems businesses must address:
Neck pain can be caused by conditions such as whiplash, chronic muscle strain or even a herniated disc. The most common cause of neck pain is poor posture, which puts pressure on the cervical spine (the neck). Causes of poor posture include slouching and hunching over a desk all day long.
An injury or overuse of injured instruments, such as an arthritic joint or muscle sprain, usually causes back pain. It can also be caused by inflammation of the spine itself, a condition called backache or sciatica. Some people experience chronic back pain that lasts for years after the initial injury has healed.
Arm, Wrist and Hand Pain
Arm, wrist and hand pain can be caused by repetitive stress injuries (RSI), such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tendinitis in your fingers and wrists. Arthritis of the elbow joint can also cause painful swelling in your arm that worsens with weight-bearing activities like climbing stairs or lifting objects up off the ground.
Overuse injuries occur when you use your body in ways that weren’t designed to be used — for example, by repeatedly lifting heavy objects or running at high speeds over short distances. Overuse injuries are especially common among athletes who compete in sports like track and field or football, but anyone who overexerts their body can get injured.
Benefits of Ergonomic Furniture, Tools and Equipment
Here are ten key benefits of ergonomic furniture, tools and equipment:
- Better Health Conditions
Working in an ergonomic workplace can have profound effects on employees’ health. For example, your employees will be less susceptible to injuries from strains and over-exertion in the body.
Moreover, installing ergonomic workstations in the office can help your workers in the long run. These furniture pieces are designed to fit anyone’s height and allow the body to adopt a more natural, neutral position while working. As a result, workers will not need to strain their necks, backs or eyes on the job.
- Improved Safety, Productivity and Comfort
Investing in ergonomic furniture and tools is a great way for employers to increase their workers’ comfort, safety and productivity. Ergonomic chairs, adjustable desks and anti-glare screens allow people to sit comfortably and adjust settings according to their individual needs. They also help avoid physical strain on the body, especially when working long hours.
With proper equipment ensuring they are well supported while they work, employees are better able to concentrate on tasks at hand and work faster. Employers who invest in these tools can create a much more pleasant working environment for their staff and increase the chance of them performing at their best.
- Higher Mental Clarity
The importance and benefits of ergonomics can’t be understated, especially in the workplace. Ergonomic furniture and design can help reduce physical discomfort by supporting the body where it needs it most. This can consequently lead to improved posture, which provides mental clarity and helps focus successfully on work.
Improved posture has an even broader effect; proper desk setup also helps to reduce stress and increase concentration. It’s no surprise that ergonomics is quickly gaining recognition as a key factor in maintaining productive work environments.
These are three ways ergonomic furniture can help enterprises achieve higher mental clarity in the workplace:
Reduced Eye Strain
It’s no secret that computers and other digital devices are an integral part of the modern office. However, staring at a computer screen for too long can cause discomfort, eyestrain and headaches. To combat this issue, ergonomic desks and chairs contain features that improve posture and reduce strain on the eyes. These features include adjustable height settings, adjustable armrests, swivel chairs with lumbar support and special monitors that minimise glare.
Increased Comfort Levels
Ergonomics is all about helping people work better by providing comfortable working conditions. This kind of furniture is designed to reduce fatigue, back pain and neck strain by allowing the body to be in a natural position while working. This can also help improve productivity levels, as employees feel more comfortable and supported when performing tasks.
Being able to move around freely and easily is essential for staying focused and productive in the workplace. Ergonomic furniture is designed with this in mind, providing support while allowing users to shift or reposition themselves as needed. This can prevent stiffness or discomfort that often arises when sitting in one position for extended periods of time.
How to Create an Ergonomic Workspace
These ten tips can help business owners create an ergonomically-sound workspace:
1. Correct Desk Height
A desk must fit the user’s body shape and size. If a desk is too high or low, it can lead to shoulder, neck, and wrist pain. Ensure each employee has an adjustable chair and desk that can be easily adjusted for height and comfort.
2. Proper Posture
Sitting in an incorrect posture for extended periods of time can lead to physical and mental fatigue. Encourage employees to sit up straight with their feet flat on the floor and remind them to take periodic breaks throughout the day to stretch and move around.
3. Consider Keyboard Positioning
An ergonomic keyboard should be positioned at a comfortable angle, so it does not strain wrists or cause discomfort while typing. It should also be placed in a comfortable spot on the desk where it can be easily accessed.
4. Think About Lighting
Eye strain from incorrect lighting can lead to decreased productivity levels, so make sure each workstation is properly lit with adjustable lighting fixtures that provide enough brightness without causing glare.
5. Include Monitor Support
A monitor stand can help reduce strain on the eyes and neck by positioning your screen at a comfortable level. It also allows employees to easily adjust their monitors for optimal viewing angles.
6. Utilise Armrests
Armrests allow users to rest their arms in a relaxed position while typing, reducing fatigue and pain. Make sure chairs have adjustable armrests that can be set to accommodate each individual’s needs.
7. Implement Foot Rests
Keeping feet elevated helps maintain good posture and prevents discomfort caused by long hours of sitting. Consider investing in footrests or adjustable desks so employees can stay safe and pain-free.
8. Opt for Ergonomic Mice
Ergonomic mice are designed to fit comfortably in the hand and help reduce strain on wrists and arms. Be sure to include these in your office setup so employees can enjoy greater comfort throughout their workday.
9. Provide Document Holder
A document holder allows users to keep important documents close by without having to crane their necks down or over to view them. This helps improve posture, prevent eyestrain and boosts user efficiency levels.
10. Encourage Breaks
Encouraging regular breaks throughout the day is essential to creating an ergonomically-sound workspace. Remind employees to take short breaks to stretch, move around, get some fresh air or take a short walk.
An improved workspace leads to greater comfort for your team members, better performance, increased morale and more creativity overall. With the right furniture, you can ensure an optimal working environment to help your business reach its full potential. Start implementing these tips today for a healthier and happier workplace!