“Comfort” is a word more often associated with soft pillows and couches. But as it turns out, comfort is just as important in the workplace as it is to the TV room. While we would never recommend working from a La-Z-Boy, creating a workplace that’s specifically customized for each employee’s unique body and behaviors is essential to reducing pain and therefore keeping everyone on task. Doing so needn’t be expensive. With a complete ergonomic evaluation, you’ll have a much more comfortable — and productive — workplace in next to no time.
1. Evaluate the Space
You can’t fix the problems unless you know what they are. With an ergonomic checklist in hand — or, better yet, an ergonomist by your side — take a tour of the office to identify less than ideal spaces. Ideally, it’s best to do this during the work day. This is so you can watch as people move through the space and manipulate their equipment. This way, you’re better able to spot awkward positions and movements. You’ll also be able to determine whether you need new equipment or training programs.
2. Invest in New Equipment
If you’re using old furniture or, say, the keyboards that came with the computers, chances are it’s time for an equipment update. Fortunately, simple solutions like an ergonomic keyboard is relatively inexpensive, given how effective it is in preventing injury; this in turn decreases the need for costly surgeries, lowers absenteeism rates, increases productivity and all but eliminates workers compensation claims due to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Standing desks and ergonomic chairs are also excellent for preventing injury and keeping employees focused on the job. However, if that’s too much of an investment, you can always make your own. Books, old shelves and egg crates can all add height to a desk so that employees can stand while they work. The latter can also make a good stool for shorter employees whose chairs don’t lower quite enough for their feet to touch the floor.
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3. Constantly Reevaluate
Implementing an ergonomics program is a big step, but it’s not the end of the process. To get the most out of your investment, it’s essential to constantly reevaluate and readjust your strategies — through an ergonomic evaluation — as the needs of your employees change.
For more on this topic, we highly recommend reading, Four Simple Ergonomic Steps to a More Productive Workplace.
How do you keep your office ergonomic? Let us know in the comments below.