*This article was last updated on June 1, 2021.
Quick! Before you read any further:
- Do your employees seem less productive or engaged than normal?
- Do your employees seem tired and sluggish, both physically and mentally?
- Have you seen a spike in health care claims pertaining to chronic pain or illness?
- Do you see employees frequently slouching or hunching over their desks in meetings or when standing?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, it may be time to bring key decision-makers to the table to discuss investing in ergonomic office furniture for your employees.
"In addition to encouraging frequent movement throughout the day to break the time spent sitting, having safe, appropriate ergonomic equipment for your workforce as well as education on proper use of that equipment is key to the prevention of work-related injuries," said Dana Lemberg, benefits and wellness analyst at Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
What is ergonomics?
Ergonomics is an applied science to design and arrange objects that people use frequently (e.g. computers, chairs, desks) so they can interact safely and effectively. Ergonomic office furniture exists for this very reason. On average, your employees are spending 8.8 hours per day at work - that's a lot of time spent sitting, staring at devices, and room for poor posture. Ergonomic office furniture can do just the trick in helping your employees interact safely and effectively within your workplace.
What does ergonomics mean?
According to ErgoPlus External Site, ergonomics is concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system preference. This study helps optimize the interaction between the work environment and your employees.
Why should I invest in ergonomic office furniture in my workplace?
It’s simple: Your employees are spending most of their time in your office — so why not make it healthy and comfortable? Ergonomic office furniture comes with a number of upsides for your employees and your workplace. Take these five proven benefits External Site of developing a strong ergonomics process for your workplace from ErgoPlus. ErgoPlus explains how ergonomic office furniture in the workplace can reduce overall costs and improve employee productivity, quality of life at work, engagement and safety.
92 percent of American workers say their physical work space is lacking and their mental well-being and productivity is suffering. 17 percent of workers report not having flexible desk options (e.g. standing desks) contributes to decreased productivity and job satisfaction. 86 percent of workers are sitting all day at work — leading to higher risks of muscular-skeletal disorders, obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and more. 61 percent of workers with adjustable desks believed the change improved their health outside of the office. One third of workers compensation costs are attributed to muscular-skeletal disorders.
Sources: NationalBusinessFurniture.com, BusinessInsider.com, Advisory.com, Ergo-Plus.com.
What types of office ergonomics furniture is out there?
You may think ergonomic office furniture External Site begins with the desks your employees use and ends with the chairs they sit in each day. That's not the case. There are several pieces of ergonomic office furniture that may surprise you, but each plays an important role in providing each unique employee with customization tailored to helping them feel comfortable and productive throughout their workday.
Consider these questions when evaluating your employees' current work spaces.
- Is the surrounding space open and collaborative? Do they have to walk far or turn often to collaborate with team members?
- Do their chairs support their spinal curves, fit to their height and weight, and allow them to rest their arms and legs easily?
- Are the keyboards, mouse and phones within close reach?
- Where are their computer monitors positioned? Are they within an arm’s length away, and are they bright enough to see or too dim? Are the monitors able to be easily moved up and down, or side to side?
- Are their desks stationary or do they allow them to stand up and rest their feet comfortably on the ground?
Each of these questions will help you in determining what needs to be changed to improve your employees' well-being within your workplace.
What does ergonomics look like in the workplace?
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), training is an important function in the ergonomics process. The training should be easily understandable and digestible. Consider these topics when providing ergonomic training:
- The principles of ergonomics and their applications
- Proper use of equipment
- Proper lifting techniques
- Awareness on work tasks that may cause pain or injury
- Early symptoms of Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD)
- When to report and address early symptoms of MDS before injuries become more serious
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Ergo-Plus is a separate company and does not provide Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield products and services.