A lot of people spend a lot of time in offices and other work environments, and so over the years people have started to become a bit more conscious of workplace health and safety. One of the emerging areas of workplace wellbeing is ergonomics. This is the practice of designing and arranging workplaces, practices and systems in a way that best suits the people who will be using them. The aim of this is to ensure that any negative physical and psychological impacts of a workplace on its employees are mitigated as much as possible
There are a number of ways that employee wellbeing can be impacted by equipment or systems, and so ergonomics is usually an ongoing process to continue improving the workplace environment. In this article, we’ll take a look at six things you can do to improve your office’s ergonomics and make it a safer and healthier place for everybody to work in.
1. Good chairs
The vast majority of office workers are seated for most of the day. This can have some implications when it comes to employee welfare, as well as productivity. Equipping your office with high quality ergonomic chairs may cost a bit more money than you would like, but it’s important that everybody has an office chair that is comfortable. Those of us who have ever had back problems know just how inhibiting it can be, and a bad chair will exacerbate, or potentially even cause quite serious problems. Not only is it unfair to expect people to work in uncomfortable chairs, but doing so could also end up affecting productivity through time off work or distraction.
2. Appropriate desks
When fitting out an office, it’s easy to get carried away with space management or aesthetics. This can lead to fitting an office out with desks that are completely inappropriate for the work that is going to be carried out. If your workers need space to do their job, then it’s worth making the effort to arrange the office in a way that facilitates bigger, more suitable desks.
It’s also well worth looking into desks that can elevate to a standing position. These are fairly new so they may not be all that common yet, but some people are finding that they are happier and more comfortable standing up as they work. As people become more aware of the risks of a sedentary lifestyle, there is increasing interest in avoiding it through measures such as using a standing desk at work.
3. Decent desktop equipment
Making sure every desk has an adjustable monitor stand is important when it comes to ensuring the safety of employees’ necks. It’s easy to develop neck problems if we’re looking at a computer monitor in an awkward position.
As well as physical wellbeing, psychological health can be negatively impacted if a worker’s immediate environment is lacking the kinds of things that make a job easier. This is why it’s important to make sure office employees have desktop equipment that helps them get the job done in a comfortable and stress-free manner. Things like mouse and keyboards that each employee finds comfortable. This may mean not being able to buy in bulk if different workers have different preferences, but productivity will suffer if half your employees are fumbling around a keyboard that isn’t conducive to their typing style. Meanwhile some employees may prefer a track pad over a mouse.
It’s important that every worker in an office is comfortable with their desktop equipment. And investing in this will pay dividends in the long run.
4. Climate control
Comfortable room temperature will always be a point of contention among employees. Some will like it cold, especially during hot months, meanwhile others may struggle if the mercury dips below 26. It’s virtually impossible to please everybody, but either way it’s critical that office air conditioning is installed in the workplace. Unless you happen to live in an area that somehow sits at 23 degrees all day, all year round, then you’re going to need to be able to protect workers from uncomfortable temperatures. A small desktop fan will only cut it to a certain point, so beyond that, proper commercial air conditioning installation is a must.
5. Rest area
Some offices simply won’t have the space, but for those that do, a comfortable ‘chill out’ area can be a really great idea. Not just a dining room or a kitchen with tables and chairs, but somewhere quiet where an employee can take a relaxing break away from the noise. More and more offices are embracing the idea of having a place where workers can recharge at some point in the day. Such a place can take many forms, like a quiet room with beanbags and a newspaper, somewhere people can watch a little TV and have a cup of tea, or a separate open space with a coffee machine where employees can stand and socialise.
Most offices opt for standard office fluorescent lighting because it’s cheap and efficient. When installing the lighting, it’s worth just checking how it will affect glare on computer screens which is a significant eye hazard. Fluorescent lighting can also contribute to the onset of migraines, which can cause serious problems for those who suffer this condition. Consult with a commercial electricians or lighting specialist to find out ways to improve this part of your office to make it more comfortable and safer for your employees.
By making small adjustments, and even some larger investments, any office environment can improve in such a way that productivity can really go up. And as an added bonus, it will lead to a happier environment for everybody within it. Ergonomics is an ongoing process of small improvements, so don’t expect any instant miracle cures, but over time these measures will certainly begin to pay off.