There is a lot of discussion about office ergonomics these days. As sedentary jobs become more and more common, an increasing volume of research is being done about the effect these types of occupations can have on people’s bodies.
Still, the concept of ergonomics is relatively new, and many people don’t understand how it relates to their office environment. Even more importantly, how they don’t know how office ergonomics can affect the areas of life outside of work.
As more people become aware of ergonomics, they will consider ergonomics alongside remuneration and benefits when job seeking. In fact, businesses that become leaders in this space may also become uniquely positioned to acquire and retain top end talent.
So, what is ergonomics and how does it fit into the modern business world?
The Science of Ergonomics Explained
Simply put, ergonomics is the study of the interaction between people and the tools they use. More precisely, how employees and their tools interact.
People who study ergonomics also look for ways to improve the design of the aforementioned tools to enhance their user experience.
When looking at an office environment, there are countless areas where ergonomics could be relevant. Everything from the chairs people sit on, to the desks they use, is a component of ergonomics.
The ultimate goal of studying ergonomics is to find improvements in the tools people use while working every single day. People aren’t productive when they are uncomfortable or in pain, but with the right tools, we can help them feel better at work and be more productive, happier, and healthier.
The Dangers of Improper Ergonomics
Poor ergonomics can lead to chronic injury. In fact, improper ergonomics is one of the most significant workplace risks faced by office workers. Conditions like carpal tunnel, back pain, and joint pain can develop over time and become a chronic health problem.
The result of chronic conditions can have an effect both at work and at home. People may have to call in sick due to the pain that prevents them from working to their full potential. At home, they may be confined to the bed or couch while missing out on activities with friends and family.
In fact, 80 percent of people will experience back pain over the course of their lives. Additionally, back pain is one of the most common reasons employees miss work. How do lost person hours affect your workplace?
If you could make improvements to your office ergonomics and cut down on sick days or disability claims, what would that do for productivity? Ergonomics isn’t just about pain; it’s an issue that can also affect the bottom line.
How Does Ergonomics Relate to an Office Environment?
Ergonomics has become a very hot topic in many modern offices as more and more research is done on the matter. Still, many business owners and managers are unsure of exactly how ergonomics relates to the environment they create for their staff.
While office jobs can vary wildly from programming to data entry to marketing and everything in-between, there are some similarities among most office jobs.
People who work in an office environment, for example, tend to spend a lot of their day sitting in one spot. While sitting doesn’t seem like it would cause injury, poorly designed chairs and improperly adjusted furniture can cause strain on the back, neck, and shoulders.
Typing is another common cause of chronic pain as a result of poor ergonomics. Correctly adjusted armrests and simple tools like keyboard trays can go a long way in helping prevent injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome.
Give Employees Better Tools to Work With
In addition to creating best practices and standards, employers should ensure their employees are comfortable and productive throughout the day with ergonomic furniture. Sit to stand desks are becoming incredibly popular in modern office environments.
These desks give employees the ability to seamlessly move from sitting to standing without interrupting their work in any significant way. Experts recommend that employees spend at least ten minutes of every thirty minutes standing or walking. A sit to stand desk makes this easy.
Ergonomic chairs are also a great solution to help employees feel great while working. When looking for ergonomic chairs, you should seek out chairs that provide adequate support for the lower back. The design of the chair should help the muscles in the back relax as employees sit and work.
Build an Ergonomics Friendly Office Today
Still asking yourself, “what is ergonomics?” If you still have questions after reading this post or want to start digging into the various ergonomic tools available, check out our Guide to Office Ergonomics.
Alternatively, you could always reach out and ask us your questions! This is far from our first rodeo, if you have a question about office furniture or ergonomics, we can find you the answer.