With the transition to work from home and remote set ups, the importance of understanding ergonomics for your work set up has been crucial in maintaining productivity and employee engagement in corporate environments.
Ergonomics is the study of how we, as individuals, interact with our environment; essentially trying to optimize our space so we may maximize our performance. There are various branches of ergonomics including organizational, cognitive, and physical. In relation to work from home set ups, physical ergonomics should be predominantly addressed with minor emphasis on organizational ergonomics.
Losses Due to Poor Ergonomics
With employees working from less than ideal set ups at home, their risk of developing upper and lower back, shoulder, hands, and wrist injuries has been rising. Their work table may be too high causing them to lean forward or sit on the edge of their chairs leaving their back unsupported.
Their laptop screens could be lower than their eye-line causing them to look down and hunch over, conversely if their laptop screens are at eye-level their keyboard would be too high causing hand and wrist injuries, maybe even carpal tunnel syndrome. Additionally, the risk of musculoskeletal disorders that affect muscles, nerves, ligaments, blood flow, and the like significantly increases without proper set ups. Poor posture may also contribute to fatigue, stress, and irritability – greatly reduces employee productivity.
These factors can lead to substantial increases in absenteeism and sick leaves, therefore reducing overall employee productivity and company profitability. Sick leaves could be taken for backache problems, tension headaches, eye problems carpal tunnel syndrome, and possibly mental health stress. One study noted that organizations spend an estimated $300 billion annually to cover costs due to absenteeism and work-related stress health care.
Invest in Workplace Wellbeing for the Best Results in Productivity
By prioritizing ergonomics for your employees, you can increase productivity and boost employee mood and energy. Some research compiled by ErgoPlus has shown that introducing ergonomics in the workplace can result in 75% reduction in lost work days, 58% reduction in employee absenteeism, 48% reduction in attrition, and 67% reduction in errors.
Not only will you reduce company costs, but you can also develop a positive company culture of health and safety. Research shows that companies who show they care can allow employees to reach their potential and it attracts potential employees and clients as they want to be part of a company that values balance and workplace wellness. Furthermore, employee engagement can be enhanced resulting in improved morale and better employee retention.
Suggestions for how you can implement ergonomics to maximize your productivity can be found below:
- Use a rolling chair with back support and padding
- Position monitors 50-75cm from your face, centered straight ahead, eyes should fall at the top third of the screen
- 20/20/20 rule – every 20 mins look at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds
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