Ergonomics has been a buzz word over the many years, with almost everything from computer equipment, industrial technology, vehicles, office equipment, etc. carrying/promoting the term. But like most buzz words, and years later it becomes one of those things we get so accustomed to hearing that we really lost focus on how important it really is.
So in this blog post, we will look at the word ergonomics, review its meaning and highlight five (5) benefits of it in the office space.
- Cost reduction
- Employee & Customer Engagement.
- Health & Safety
What is Ergonomics:
If we were to take the definition from Tom Armstrong: “Ergonomics literally is the study of work”. Posturite says: “Ergonomic means that special attention has been given to the design to make sure it is the best possible fit for the user, the environment and the task.”
Why is Ergonomics important?
There’s a myriad of benefits coming out of designing your office space with an ergonomic mindset. Here are five that we believe are the most important/relevant at this time.
1. Cost Reduction
I once observed a scenario where an office made changes to their office furniture. However, not factoring in all of their employee’s size, shape, height, etc. a generic purchase was made. Subsequent to that, the employee developed complications due to improper seating conditions and had to make multiple visits to the doctor. This carried a carried cost to the organisation through workman’s compensation and absenteeism.
This ultimately meant that the initial cost of that one chair was close to twenty times more than the initial purchase. Making the right choice in office furniture helps prevent indirect costs due to injury.
Similar to the example above, if end users are not comfortable they cannot get work done as effectively as they would like. Designing a work space/workstation should allow for good posture, fewer motions, ideal height, etc.
The same goes for designing a space for customers as well. Reception areas should allow for customers to be relaxed and comfortable as they wait for service.
While we know the volume of work is important, the quality of that work is the real barometer of volume. Poor office layouts or designs contribute to employee fatigue and poor work output.
If certain job tasks are physically challenging on the employees, they may not perform properly. Employee absenteeism can also be factored into poor ergonomics and affects the quality of service to customers and overall company productivity.
4. Employee & Customer Engagement.
Ever noticed the excitement, smiles that come with a new piece of office or home furniture? Increased engagement comes from increased happiness. One proponent of activating that emotion is keeping staff comfortable.
Comfortable office layouts/office furniture sets the right mood/ambiance so that both staff and customers can interact better and meetings are more productive. If customers are not comfortable chances of them coming back to your office to do business as loyal as they maybe would be slim.
5. Health & Safety
Possibly one of the most overlooked aspects of ergonomics is health and safety. Remember we started out by saying that ergonomics is the study of work to be done and we also used the example of an employee having complications due to the incorrect chair being purchased.
Safe To Work (STOW) should not just be from the standpoint of the OSHE but also include the ability for the office layout/design and relevant equipment being fluid and user-friendly enough for both employee and customer. Ultimately ergonomics shows your commitment to health and safety and it should be one of your core values. Without it, all the other four aspects listed above can be negatively impacted.
In closing, it’s wise that your interior designer, office furniture supplier, etc do an assessment on your space and staff so that they can make the right recommendations so as to maximize all of these 5 benefits listed above.