Does Ergonomics Really Improve Productivity?
What’s the requirement for the employees in the modern world? Of course, work efficiency. Employers implement modern technologies and methods to achieve this goal. Unfortunately, striving for improving productivity majority forget about employee safety and convenience.
Professionals believe that good atmosphere and new technologies in the workstation help to boost productivity. So, let’s check whether ergonomics can really improve the productivity of employees.
Do you often experience headache and strain in eyes at work? Do you have neck and back pain? Or maybe sometimes you feel numbness in your hands and feet? These kinds of problems often happen with those who work in the office. Many of them spend the whole day in front of the screen. This called an office syndrome.
As the name suggests, office syndrome refers to the pain caused by office-related job. For example, sitting beside the computer for a long time. Besides, not changing body position for too long or using uncomfortable furniture and old equipment.
Many people when looking for a job mainly consider the financial side of the work and not the convenience. At the beginning it may seem as triviality. However, by the time it may turn into the bigger problem.
Like many other office workers maybe you also feel exhaustion and pain in different parts of your body. You ignore this problem for several months. However, one day you will have to take a sick day to recover your health. Just imagine what may happen if every employee takes a sick day several times in a year. Efficiency decreases, productivity goes down the drain and the employer has to pay compensation.
Professionals believe that ergonomics is very important for employee satisfaction and for maintaining productivity. If it’s the case let’s identify what is ergonomics. Ergonomics is a science of designing and adjusting a workplace to the user’s need. It aims to increase efficiency by reducing discomfort and creating good working environment for employees.
So, how to understand whether employees feel comfort at workplace and how to adjust accordingly? Going through the core elements of ergonomics you can estimate of the workplace.
Natural light is the best and the safest option to lit the workspace. Working in a light place promotes better concentration and reduces stress. In contrast, dim lighting causes eye strain, anxiety and fatigue. Nowadays in majority offices you can see fluorescent bulbs. They are in demand for longer lifespan and less energy usage. However, fluorescent lighting can cause migraine, light sensitivity, difficulty in reading and focusing.
Psychologists have already proved the impact of colors on human being. Colors around us can change our mood. Lack of color in a room and empty walls create boring atmosphere. Dark colors make employees feel isolated, while red and orange can seem annoying. Bright colors like yellow or pink are a bit childish and distracting. Light blue or combination of light colors is a good choice, as they have calming effect.
Can you work appropriately when you are freezing? Of course, no. When your body is shivering with cold your brain also will not be able work normally. As a result, working speed reduces by several times. Similarly, in a hot space with poor ventilation workers feel uncomfortable and lose concentration. Balanced temperature and equipping a workspace with AC system is very important for employees.
Working in noise is difficult. It is distracting and a person cannot focus on the work he or she doing. Especially for people who do analytical or financial job. With the noise the probability of making mistakes increases significantly.
When positioning your computer think about the angle of monitor. Think about how long do you sit in front of the computer and how much do you type. Keyboard and mouse should be comfortable enough not to suffer with pain in wrists after working the whole day. Also, computer monitor’s positioning shouldn’t cause eye strain or fatigue.
Desk and chair
Majority office workers run sedentary lifestyle, which leads to back pain, shoulder pain and other ailment. Sitting all day in improper posture can stimulate cardiovascular diseases. Taking this into consideration people must balance sitting and standing. Height-adjustable desk and adjustable chairs can do more than you can expect. Office furniture should support physical activity, not discourage.
Ergonomics and productivity
Sedentary lifestyle and improper working condition leads to losing working hours and causing injuries. That means ergonomics have a direct relation with productivity.
Not many business people understand that in order to expect the best from people who work with you, you should treat them well. Besides the financial reward, safety and convenience also can fuel the productivity. Realizing physical and emotional requirements resulted in development of ergonomics. Ergonomics involves different sciences like biology, psychology, physiology, engineering and biomechanics.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information workers spend almost 65% of their day in a chair. Repetitive movements and incorrect position causes musculoskeletal disorders among office workers. Not treating on time or mistreating can worsen the condition. Everyone is in loss in this situation. For employee it’s a health problem and for employer reduced productivity. As for the government it is an increased social security cost.
Sometimes it is enough just to talk to employees about what bothers them or how to make the workplace better. Someone likes working in isolation, someone in a collective. Also, some prefer cold space while others can’t stand it. One likes colorful and bright atmosphere and others it may distract. Satisfying everyone’s wish is impossible. However, fulfilling the request of majority makes employees feel themselves important to the organization. As a result, gratified employees start to demonstrate better results.
Moreover, the impact of ergonomics on productivity can be seen in the following ways:
1. Injury-related absence reduces.
2. Employees work faster with ergonomic equipment.
3. Concentrated workers make fewer errors.
4. Employees can save more energy and have more working capacity.
5. Employer reduces employee compensation cost.
6. Company gains more profit with smoothly working employees.
How to incorporate ergonomics at workplace?
Creating ergonomic atmosphere is not difficult. Change the design of the room, revamp equipments, buy new furniture. However, it is costly to change everything at once. If you unable to do it then just start from small changes.
For example, transposition of objects in the workplace to appropriately lit the desk. If the room is cold you can keep a heater, so workers can work without freezing.
Replace very bright light with natural light lamp. Change bulbs if there is the dim light in the room. With this you can protect employees from different eye problems.
Further step in implementation ergonomics can be altering simple desks into adjustable ones. Employees can periodically change the height of the desk to change their body position. Some offices integrate both sitting and standing desks instead of height-adjustable desks. So workers can choose the preferable one.
Furthermore, use wallpaper and other decorating objects that have calming effect. By this people will work feeling less stress and anxiety.
All in all, ergonomics is necessary to provide employees safety and convenience. Ergonomics stimulates them work better and show higher productivity.