It’s easy to let poor workplace ergonomics go on unchecked, but don’t let yourself fall into that trap. It may seem unimportant in the short term, but poor ergonomics can seriously affect employee health and productivity -- both short and long term. Creating healthy workplace ergonomics doesn’t have to be a “strain” on your bottom line.
Injury often occurs on the job. Sometimes it’s the result of lifting a heavy parcel. In this case, the cause of the injury is easy to see. But many office injuries are more insidious, coming from sources that aren’t as easily identified. Repetitive movements, poor posture, and the visibility of your computer screen can all contribute to strain and injuries.
Office workers often develop pain in areas such as their back, writsts, shoulders, neck, hands, and arms.
What may seem like a “crick in the neck” or a sore joint may actually signify a developing condition like tendonopathy, tendonitis, or even arthritis. One condition, deep vein thrombosis, results from being crammed in a small seat for a long time. Once known as “economy class syndrome” for its prevalence among frequent flyers, it’s now more common in office workers. It involves blood clots, and can quickly become fatal.
Are you starting to get an idea of how workplace ergonomics affect productivity, in addition to health? Some studies point to as much as a 25 percent productivity boost from implementing ergonomics.
To prevent injuries and low productivity from poor workplace ergonomics, take a few of the following steps:
Change your position frequently, and encourage employees to get up, stretch and move around hourly.
Make sure that all employees have desks that are appropriate for their heights, which don’t require them to contort themselves to reach supplies.
Choose chairs that support healthy posture. The feet should rest on the floor, and the body should bend between 90 and 110 degrees.
Wrists should be held parallel to the floor when typing.
Use headsets to talk on the phone.
If necessary, upgrade your office or classroom furniture to promote healthier workplace ergonomics. It’s a small investment that can pay off tenfold in health and productivity.