Economics of ErgonomicsFrom the executive suite to the breakroom, high quality office design is an essential part of making employees feel comfortable and valued throughout the workday. But it isn’t all about about feeling good. In fact, a well-designed workspace can mean the difference between a company that’s leading the market with its innovative product releases and one that’s barely scraping along. There’s no way around it: economics and ergonomics go hand in hand. Here are just a few reasons why.

1. Workers Compensation Claims Can Be Crippling

Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs) are one of the greatest risks white collar work presents, due largely to the constant demands on wrists, hands and joints during long sessions at the keyboard. What’s more, because these injuries happen at the workplace, employers are on the hook for any costs associated with diagnosis, treatment, and any lost wages. That’s a big deal, as RSIs account for a whopping $20 billion dollars in workers compensation claims in the US in one year alone. That’s makes non-ergonomic workstations a very costly bit of design.

2. Absenteeism Inhibits Teamwork

Over time, workplace injuries can be so debilitating that many employees have no choice but to frequently call in sick. Unfortunately, absenteeism wreaks havoc on a team’s efficiency, as it means other team members must scramble to cover their colleague’s workload. This can lead to embarrassing errors, like not calling back a client in a timely manner, as well as delayed delivery of project outcomes. It also puts a strain on team dynamics and can inject more stress into an already tense situation.

3. Pain Lowers Productivity and Promotes Inefficiency

Of course, pain lowers the productivity of the individual worker as well, as they often must compensate for their pain by moving through their tasks in physically inefficient ways. This often leads to employees putting off painful tasks or simply doing them far more slowly than they otherwise would, thereby slowing down the workflow.

4. Discomfort is Distracting

Added to the above is the disappointing reality that discomfort is simply distracting. When an employee is seriously in pain, they won’t have much mindpower left for brainstorming creative, market-leading ideas. Instead, they’re more likely to tow the  line and adopt a “just get it done” mentality. That’s not exactly the heart of innovation.

5. Surgery is Costly

Last but not least, surgery for RSIs and other Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) is often costly. While your insurance should cover it, there’s always the risk that your premium is increased, especially if the need for surgery arises across multiple employees.

Convinced yet that Ergonomics is Economics? Great! Next week we’ll discuss the the top 5 ergonomic strategies that have the biggest payoff. Until then, have a comfortable week!

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