The Importance of Designing an Ergonomic Workplace
You can’t ignore ergonomics when designing your company’s workplace. It’s essential for cultivating healthy and productive employees. Unfortunately, many companies overlook ergonomics. They design their workplaces with little or no regard for ergonomics. Why is an ergonomic workplace important exactly?
What Is Ergonomics?
While you’ve probably heard of ergonomics, you may not know its definition. Ergonomics is defined as the study of work. More specifically, it refers to the process of creating and optimizing a workplace according to the needs of employees.
Ergonomics is all about making your company’s workplace easy to use. If it’s ergonomically designed, employees will experience less physical stress when performing their respective jobs. Conversely, if your company’s workplace isn’t ergonomically designed, employees will experience more physical stress. Ergonomic workplaces are simply designed with a focus on employees. They offer an easy and natural way for employees to work by minimizing physical stress.
Lower Workers’ Compensation Costs
An ergonomic workplace can save your company money on workers’ compensation costs. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), one-third of all workers’ compensation costs are attributed to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). There are many different types of MSDs, including carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, muscle sprains and back injuries. Regardless, poor or nonexistent ergonomics is a contributing factor for most MSDs.
Fewer Sick Days
Employees will probably have fewer sick days if your company has an ergonomic workplace. Statistics show that most employees take about five sick days per year. Some employees may take fewer sick days, whereas others may take more sick days. Nonetheless, designing an ergonomic workplace will likely result in fewer sick days taken by your company’s employees.
Lower Risk of Injury
Of course, an ergonomic workplace will lower the risk of injury. Injuries are less common in ergonomic workplaces. If your company’s workplace is ergonomically designed, employees will be able to easily and naturally perform their respective jobs. They won’t be exposed to severe physical stress that could otherwise leave them susceptible to injury.
Even if your company’s workplace consists of a typical office, employees can still sustain injury. If an employee sits for an extended period in a desk chair with little or no back support, for instance, the employee may develop a pulled back muscle. Injuries such as this can often be prevented by embracing an ergonomic design. If the desk chair doesn’t offer back support, you can replace it with a new and more ergonomic desk chair that does offer back support.
Lower Turnover Rate
An ergonomic workplace can help your company achieve a lower turnover rate. Turnover rate refers to the percentage of employees who quit or part ways with your company during a given period. If your company lost 10 out of 100 employees last year, its turnover rate for that year would be 10%. While you can expect all of your company’s employees to stay indefinitely, you should strive to lower your company’s turnover rate. Fortunately, designing an ergonomic workplace can help you achieve this goal.
Employees are less likely to quit if they work in an ergonomic environment. Without ergonomics, employees will be exposed to greater physical stress. This physical stress can lead to emotional stress as well. When combined, these two forms of stress can lower the satisfaction levels of your company’s employees. They’ll become dissatisfied while working, so they may leave your company in search of employment elsewhere. You can encourage employees to stay by designing an ergonomic workplace.
Employees are typically more productive when working in an ergonomic environment. According to one survey, over four in five employees believe ergonomics impacts their productivity. With an ergonomic workplace, employees will be able to perform their jobs faster and more easily. They won’t be exposed to severe physical stress. Instead, they’ll be able to work comfortably and naturally, which is usually reflected in their productivity levels.
Tips for an Ergonomic Workplace
How do you design an ergonomic workplace exactly? For starters, you should define traffic paths. All workplaces require employees to walk and move around. If the traffic paths are obstructed, employees may have trouble traversing your company’s workplace.
You should also provide your company’s employees with ergonomic equipment and tools. If an employee works at a desk, make sure he or she is given an ergonomic chair and an ergonomic desk. Both the chair and desk should be designed to minimize physical stress on the employee who uses it.
The lighting in your company’s workplace can affect its ergonomics. If it’s too dim, employees may experience eyestrain. Conversely, excessively bright light can cause vision problems as well. An ergonomic workplace requires proper lighting that’s not too dim nor too bright.
An ergonomic workplace is essential to your company’s success. It will lower your company’s workers’ compensation costs, promote fewer sick days, protect workers from injury, drive down your company’s turnover rate and improve productivity.