What is Ergonomics?
Ergonomics is the “science of making things fit people”, according to Medicinenet.com. The science of ergonomics borrows from many different fields, including anatomy, mechanics, physiology, and psychology to create conditions that promote physical safety and effectiveness. Ergonomic designs, for example, a standing desk, allows people to work comfortably while avoiding the risk of injuries that come from adapting to things, like a poorly designed office chair, that does not allow for healthy movements and posture.
When applied to the office, ergonomics encourages employee comfort and health, while reducing the costs to company’s that come from poor ergonomics, like healthcare claims for things like back injuries and employee absenteeism. Good ergonomics also increases employee productivity because employees can work without or with less pain. What does ergonomics look like in an office setting? Good posture when working at the computer, workspace design that supports good posture through well-designed equipment placement, and mini breaks for stretching and exercise are just some examples of ergonomics in the workplace.
How Ergonomics Affects the Performance of Employees
First, let's look at how poor ergonomics affects employee performance. According to the state of Oregon and OSHA, there are direct and indirect costs associated with poor ergonomics. The direct costs are straightforward and include medical treatment, prescription costs, and insurance premiums. If employees are injured, they are likely to work less effectively and need to take time off work to seek medical treatment. This leads us to the indirect costs of poor employee ergonomics such as overtime for the employees covering injured employee’s absences, increased absenteeism, decreased morale overall, potential legal and investigative costs, an injured employee coming back to work before they’re healed, and being less effective, and the costs of hiring another employee if someone quits due to injury. These indirect costs are estimated to be “3-5 times more expensive than the direct costs of that claim.”
Now, let's look at the benefits of having good ergonomics in the office place.
Reduces Musculoskeletal Disorders (Musculoskeletal Conditions (MSKs)
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015 musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) accounted for 31% of workplace injuries. A musculoskeletal disorder involves the muscles, tendons, nerves, blood flow, and ligaments, such as sprains or muscle strain. Employees who suffered an MSD needed on average 12 days off work to recuperate. These injuries occur when an employee is working with poor posture and can include repetitive motion injuries. The good news is that cases of MSDs can be reduced with affordable ergonomics accessories, like chairs that support better posture, wrist supports for typing, standing desks, or foot support, and training employee’s how to have good movement habits. This allows employees to work pain and injury-free and reduces the stress that occurs when employees work while in pain.
A healthy company is based on healthy employees. Employees who are pain and injury-free will be able to work harder and more effectively. Comfort does not equal laziness, and comfortable employees are more likely to work better and have increased job satisfaction. Increased job satisfaction increases not only productivity but employee loyalty. There is also the improved morale that comes from a company being aware of their employee’s being in pain and taking the steps necessary to correct the situation. While the decision to support and encourage proper ergonomics might be motivated by the bottom line of reducing costs due to injury, there is also the perception that the company or organization cares about the pain its employees are experiencing. In short, pain-free workers are using few sick days, are physically and emotionally able to be more productive, and productive employees increase profit.
Boosts Mood and Energy
Cultivate a better office atmosphere by capitalizing on the increased good mood and energy that comes with practicing and supporting proper ergonomics in the office. When an employee is working with poor posture, or using equipment that strains their body, this ultimately leads to stress, fatigue, and discomfort, thereby lowering the employee’s mood. When proper ergonomics is supported from the top down, this creates an environment where employee success is supported. This leads to more confidence and the ability to perform better, in addition to increased energy, allowing more work to be done, and done well.
Creates a Positive Company Culture
By supporting your employees’ well-being and overall performance with ergonomic solutions, you are showing that you care about your employees’ safety, in addition to the bottom line. Knowing they are cared for and supported allows employees to perform their best, and to continue to reach their full potential. Your company will further benefit from this positive culture because it will in turn attract more qualified workers and support employee retention.
Support Your Employees’ Ergonomics with BioFunctional Healthcare Solutions
Now that you know how much of a positive impact proper ergonomics can have on your organization, find the solutions you need to support your employees’ health and productivity at BioFunctional Health Solutions. BioFunctional Health Solutions (BHS) helps you with “easy to implement best practices for any work environment without the need for expensive equipment.” They will work with you and help you create an office atmosphere of productivity and success at any budget. BHS specializes in early detection and intervention to prevent injuries before they occur. Their successful programs include clear goals and objectives, involves your employees, offers support to management while implementing solutions, and a system for measuring success. Get started on your path to a healthier, safer, more productive, and profitable business with BioFunctional Health Solutions.
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