What is Office Ergonomics?
Ergonomics, the method of arranging the work environment in order to protect the human needs of the physical body, is essential in any office environment. Proper ergonomics in the office helps to avoid repetitive motion injuries and strain and stress of various parts of the body including the wrists, arms, neck, shoulders, and back. With nearly 80% of Americans having sedentary jobs, according to Time Healthland, the importance of office ergonomics in workplace safety has become a crucial part of an employee’s work environment. Office ergonomics also offers additional benefits for the employer.
Key Steps in Setting up an Office Ergonomics Programs
An office ergonomics program should not only assist employees in improving comfort during business tasks and reducing injuries, but provide important training about ergonomics while identifying hazards in the office environment. Implementing an office ergonomics program in your workplace includes a number of relevant tasks, which can include the following:
- Provide training to all employees on the importance of basic ergonomics. Training should include what equipment they should be using, how to set up their desk, why it is important, and training in reporting hazardous conditions.
- Provide information and training to all management and employees for identifying various hazards in the workplace and the proper procedure for reporting them.
- Allow employees and management to have access to trained experts in office ergonomics including ergonomist professionals, occupational therapists, and nurses.
- Invite the ergonomist professional into your office to set up each employee’s work area to fit current ergonomic standards. This includes showing employees where their monitor, keyboard and mouse should be kept, how to sit properly without strain, where to place their hands and wrists, and exercises to reduce strain.
- Provide your management and employees with proper ergonomic equipment including chairs with adjustable height and depth controls, palm and wrist rests, and an ergonomic mouse, to name a few.
Benefits of Office Ergonomics
The benefits of office ergonomics for the small business employee far outweigh the initial investment of proper ergonomic equipment and tools. By providing training and tools to be used for office ergonomics, benefits such as reduced injury and missed work, improved productivity, and an increase in employer satisfaction are commonly seen.
- Productivity is greatly increased with an office ergonomics program due to the heightened employee comfort while performing daily work-related tasks. Employees who work in an office environment and are comfortable in their workspace have less as physical pain or discomfort, agitation, annoyance, fatigue, and irritability, which undoubtedly leads to higher productivity.
- Employers also benefit from office ergonomics as it greatly decreases the risk of occupational injuries or illness. Ergonomics helps to prevent worker injury and discomfort from wrist, neck and back strain, as well as reducing an employee’s absenteeism. All-in-all, it helps to provide an overall improved employee outlook on productivity. Employers also deal with a lower percentage of workers’ compensation claims as a result of the decrease in office worker injuries related to their work environment and office set-up.
Because of the high number of American employees having sedentary jobs, learning about using proper ergonomic techniques and equipment is essential for a higher productivity and reduced occupational injuries. By providing employees with adequate training and tools, you can create a successful office ergonomics program, which offers a multitude of benefits to both you and your employees.