A key topic facing organisations when it comes to the workplace is office ergonomics. It is reported that poorly designed workspaces are major causes of bad posture, headaches, eyestrain, repetitive strain injuries and neck and back pain. Experts warn that the risk of injury is somewhat increased with poor office ergonomics. Ergonomics is the term given to the study of how people interact with their working environment and the tools they use to do their job.
Injuries and illnesses are common in the majority of workspaces and can cost you and your employees time and money; they can also affect how well staff do their job. We are all different in terms of size, shape and our capabilities, the aim of office ergonomics is to organise the workspace to suit the individual and the job they are doing. However, introducing office ergonomics isn’t just about providing a comfy chair; it also focuses on how things are arranged in your office, for example:
- How workstations are organised
- How people sit (or stand)
- The kind of movements that are made and whether they are repeated over and over throughout the working day
- The wider workspace, including lighting, temperature and noise
- The equipment used to do the job and if it is ‘fit for purpose’
In short, introducing an ergonomic working environment aims to reduce injuries and illness.
From the individual’s perspective changing posture throughout the day can also minimize the risk of pain and injury. Taking short breaks away from the desk, moving around, standing or simply going for a walk are all said to help, as is a little gentle exercise, for instance; stretching the neck, shoulders and back.
Using good ergonomic office design and more importantly educating your staff to the benefits of office ergonomics can result in a reduction in absenteeism and prevent injuries caused by adopting awkward postures. A workplace that is designed for and around people is more likely to benefit them; this is because it takes into account the needs and limitations of the people who occupy it.
At Whitespace we are finding that more and more businesses are starting to appreciate the benefits of providing their employees with an ergonomic working environment and if it results in less absenteeism and a happy workforce, what is there to lose? Download our ’10 tips for an ergonomic workstation’ here.
Download our ’10 tips for an ergonomic workstation’ here.