The Benefits of an Ergonomic Workplace
by Dylan Neal, Caster Concepts
When I first started at Caster Concepts, I was unlucky enough to score one of the “old” office chairs. By old, I don’t necessarily mean it was something that was uncovered during an archeology expedition – it was clean and comfortable, but of a sufficient vintage that it didn’t have many of the benefits of ergonomic chairs that we see today.
Recently, my new ergonomic office chair arrived – and at first blush, I didn’t think it was a big deal – I simply rolled it into position and nestled into it. But as soon as I got the chair adjusted to my comfort, I began to feel the difference. The contours in the back and seat bottom were engineered to promote proper posture, and I enjoyed,the adjustability of the arm rests and seat height.
By the end of just one workday, I realized I had more energy, fewer aches and pains and less stiffness than with my old chair. I thought, “Wow, what a difference.” I later realized that I was comfortable staying in my seat for longer periods and didn’t have to get up and stretch, the way I had to in order to combat the fatigue I experienced in the old chair.
The key lesson is how a dedicated approach to the improvement of ergonomics in the workplace can have significant benefits for both employer and employee. Let’s explore five such areas where ergonomic enhancements can achieve measurable results:
1. Ergonomics improves employee engagement. The experience of fatigue and discomfort during one’s workday can be very counterproductive – but, taking it a step further, just think of your attitude and behavior when you are tired, uncomfortable or experiencing pain. Good ergonomic behavior can reduce turnover, decrease absenteeism, improve morale and increase employee involvement.
2. Ergonomics improves productivity. When implemented properly, an ergonomic solution will usually improve productivity. Ergonomics designs that reduce exertion, require fewer motions, allow for activity in positions that are comfortable to the operator and allow for good posture, can lead to significant reductions in downtime due to injury.
3. Ergonomics improves quality. Poor ergonomics leads to frustrated and fatigued workers that don’t perform their best work. When the job task is too physically taxing on the worker, they may not perform their job in a manner consistent with their training. For example, an employee who might not fasten a screw tight enough due to a high force requirement can ultimately create a product quality issue that will damage the reputation of the company and its products.
4. Ergonomics creates a better safety culture. Healthy employees are one of an organization’s most valuable assets. Creating and fostering a culture that encourages health and safety at your company will lead to better overall performance for your organization.
5. Ergonomics reduces costs. According to one study¹, overexertion was the leading cause of disabling injury and directly cost businesses $15.1 billion in 2012. By systematically reducing ergonomic risk factors, you can prevent costly injuries.
Caster Concepts is an MHI member and an exhibitor at ProMat 2015.
Learn more and register for ProMat at ProMatShow.com.