It is essential to design a workplace keeping in mind not only the aesthetic appeal, but also its impact on the employees. The current corporate scenario involves employees glued to their desks for hours at a stretch. A bad posture held for a long period of time can be seriously detrimental, causing backache, migraine, and worse. A fatigued worker cannot put in their 100%, and this in turn negatively impacts their engagement, efficiency, and productivity. Thus, affecting both the employee and the organization.
The solution to this problem lies in a proper understanding of ergonomics.
What is Ergonomics?
Ergonomics is the art of designing the workplace keeping the limitations and abilities of workers in mind. It aims at optimizing the interaction between workers and their work environment, thereby enhancing the productivity of workers and reduce discomfort in them that causes delayed and inefficient work.
Employers can design the workplace considering the needs of employees.
Benefits of Ergonomics
- Reduced Risk of Injury
One of the biggest threats to productivity at the workplace is an increase in injuries, causing an increase in the number of employees who are absent at the workplaces. Surprisingly, most of the accidents do not result from lifting heavy items or slip and falls, but the strain that comes from repetitive work or postures. Since these injuries develop over time, they are not noticed immediately.
- Better Posture, Reduced Foot, Neck and Back Issues
Sitting and working in the wrong posture negatively impacts health and productivity. Bad posture causes fatigue, pain in muscles and bones, stressful neck, and more. Ergonomic chairs and desks can help correct this aspect.
Standing desks have become the latest trend in many workplaces. But, standing for long periods of time at work is often counter-productive as employees can complain of back and heel pain. Standing desks when supplemented with standard workstations help improve efficiency.
- Lesser Repetition and Exertion
Task repetition is common in offices, and almost all employees make this mistake frequently. This when combined with awkward position, and higher fatigue results in unnecessary motions like moving your arms and neck frequently. Ergonomic designs help reduce this issue to a great extent, thus maintaining higher productivity levels.
- Higher Energy Levels
Fatigued workers frequently complain of muscle aches, are prone to falling sick and less capable of performing their duties quickly and efficiently. The problem deteriorates with time until they are unable to work at all. They are then forced to take frequent breaks to lie down and stretch to ease aches and muscle strain.
Physical pain not only impacts on bodily output but mental energy, too. Such people are hard to inspire or think through challenges in the workplace. They also struggle with innovation.
Better ergonomics helps tackle these issues and increases employee’s energy levels.
- Fewer errors, Higher efficiency
Workers who work in ergonomic workstations concentrate better at what they are doing. In contrast, employees who are uncomfortable tend to get distracted from their work by the discomfort and end up making errors that they would have otherwise not made. This is very important, especially where workers are doing physically demanding jobs or operating machinery.
When employees can complete work efficiently, they will automatically become more productive. So, with ergonomics, higher efficiency and productivity are guaranteed.
- Work Quality
Work quality will automatically improve when employees are healthier, satisfied, and comfortable. The employees won’t be physically tired in an ergonomic workplace. However, this depends on the overall design and quality of office ergonomics.
- A caring employer
Ergonomics contributes much in promoting a safe and progressive office culture. When offices have the right ergonomics, other’s views of office culture improve. Positive workplace design improvements show that you care about workers’ health and well-being. When employees prioritize employees’ safety, it is appreciated by all. An employee who feels cared for and valued by the employer, would have higher morale, motivation and productivity.
Are Ergonomics Costly?
A number of employers ignore office ergonomics fearing the costs. However, as an employer, you should look at the bigger picture.
Ergonomics and office productivity are closely inter-linked. Redesigning the workplace to become more comfortable and enhancing interactions among workers is one sure-shot way of boosting employee engagement and reducing indirect costs like medical, insurance claims etc. By reducing accidents and fatigue, as an employer you can create a positive environment for your employees. Employees working in an ergonomically designed workplace are happier, healthier and more efficient.