Every day at the office, you interact with many different work tools. From the office chairs to desks to lights and more, each has a role to play in proper office ergonomics. In fact, there can be so many different aspects to ergonomics, few people have the time or the experience to analyze their own workspace and spot ergonomic concerns or areas for improvement.
This is one of the primary reasons why it is beneficial to have a professional experienced in ergonomics assess your workspace for inefficiencies, ergonomic hazards and other potential issues.
Also, some workplaces may require a professional ergonomic assessment based on the industry and the government body that oversees their business. In this blog, we will look at what an ergonomic assessment is, what assessors are looking for, and why they are so crucial for your business.
The Basics of an Ergonomic Assessment
Essentially, ergonomic assessments can be done on either individual workstations or entire office spaces to find and mitigate ergonomic risks that could lead to long-term injury that affects how an employee does their job and enjoys their life outside of work.
There are many reasons an ergonomic assessment may be done. Some employers will do this as a preventative measure to help ensure employee comfort and productivity in the office. Other ergonomic assessments are done when an employee returns to work from injury or surgery to help improve the recovery process and avoid reinjury.
In some cases, ergonomic assessments are required to be done by a certified professional such as an Occupational Therapist or Certified Ergonomist. These mandatory assessments could be based on the industry in which the office operates or ordered based on previous complaints and injuries. In many cases, however, ergonomic assessments are entirely optional but incredibly beneficial.
At Office Interiors, we call any informal assessment offered by office furniture professionals but not by certified ergonomic professionals an ergonomic evaluation. You might consider an ergonomic evaluation rather than a certified assessment when you simply want advice to improve the ergonomics of a workstation in an inexpensive and non-binding manner and are not responding to a chronic ergonomic injury.
What Does an Ergonomic Assessment Look For?
Assessors will examine a workspace to find anything that may affect proper ergonomics. For example, an assessor will look for factors that could be promoting poor posture.
This is not just an examination of the furniture or tools on hand, but also ensuring that employees have set their chair to the correct height and adequately adjusted their armrests. Also, ergonomic assessors will consider environmental factors like lighting and the presence or lack of natural light in the office.
Finally, many assessors will provide some tips to help employees with ergonomics. These tips could include plans for stretching or moving throughout the workday. Experts recommend employees should stand up and move every half hour.
At the conclusion of the ergonomic assessment, the assessor will provide a report on their findings and recommended improvements. In the case of voluntary assessments, the recommendations are not binding, and employers have no set timeline to put the proposed changes into action.
However, mandatory ergonomic assessments must be strictly followed. Some recommendations may have deadlines for implementation that have to be met.
Why Get an Ergonomic Assessment?
For businesses that are not required to complete ergonomic assessments, why should one still be done? After all, there are no consequences to not doing an ergonomic assessment, right?
While there may not be immediate consequences, there could be significant long-term consequences. Poor office ergonomics affects productivity. Employees who are in pain or tired, cannot do their best work. Over time, productivity will continue to decrease.
There is also the risk of long-term, chronic injuries developing. These injuries can affect work performance as well as life outside of the office. Also, some people may be forced to miss time at work due to pain or injury.
An ergonomic intervention can also impact employee retention. An office with good ergonomics is undeniably more appealing to work at than an office with poor ergonomics – all other factors being equal.
Businesses that hope to attract and keep top talent need to consider more than just pay and benefits. The work environment is of utmost importance, and ergonomics play a prominent role in creating a positive, healthy workspace.
Finally, businesses that complete ergonomic assessments can feel confident that they are ready for new rules or regulations that come into place. While many organizations may not be subject to mandatory ergonomic assessments right now, there’s no telling what the future may bring.
As ergonomic injuries become more common and costly, voluntary assessments may become a thing of the past as mandatory assessments take their place. Businesses that have already made progress on improving ergonomics will be uniquely prepared for any changes that may come their way.
Want to Learn More?
Intrigued by the potential benefits an ergonomic assessment or upgrade could offer your business? To read more about office ergonomics, you can browse the ergonomics section of our blog; or, if you want all your info in one place, download our Guide to Office Ergonomics.
At Office Interiors, we do not offer certified ergonomic assessments, but we can provide an ergonomic evaluation. To book your free evaluation reach out today!