Remote work during the pandemic reinforced the importance of ergonomics.
It’s hard to be productive when you’re sunk into the sofa balancing your laptop on a pillow. It’s difficult to be productive sitting in an uncomfortable chair at the kitchen table.
It’s also tough to be productive when your neck is stiff or your back is sore after a long day with poor posture. And it’s impossible to be productive when you’re spending time at the doctor’s office or physical therapy clinic as a result of not having an ergonomically friendly workspace.
Ergonomics is the science behind design that allows people to work efficiently and safely. For office- and desk-based employees, that means having a sturdy, comfortable chair, as well as having a computer, keyboard and mouse positioned at the right height. The same principles hold true at home, but when COVID-19 forced many professionals to work remotely, ergonomics became an afterthought.
October is National Ergonomics Month, and as businesses nationwide continue reopening their physical offices, workplace surveys note that more companies are planning to offer flexible or hybrid scheduling, allowing employees to rotate between the physical office and home office.
OFDC Commercial Interiors offers professional consulting services for Florida businesses, including recommendations for ergonomically friendly furniture for the office and home. For employers, there is certainly a cost to focusing on ergonomics, but the costs of not focusing on ergonomics are even greater.
Below are six benefits to investing in an ergonomic-focused workplace that offer a great ROI:
- Productivity: Discomfort, physical pain and mental fatigue can impact the number of tasks an employee can complete during the workday. Healthy employees have fewer aches, pains and injuries, and miss fewer days of work each year.
- Work quality: A strong body and focused mind allow an employee to operate at optimum capacity, and employees operating on all cylinders means a company is operating on all cylinders.
- Legal and medical claims: Nearly one-third of workers’ compensation claims are related to musculoskeletal disorders, which include muscles, nerves, blood vessels, ligaments and tendons. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) touts ergonomics as a key in preventing musculoskeletal disorders.
- Morale: Employee satisfaction thrives in workplaces where workers feel valued for what they do as an employee, but also who they are as a person. Employees who recognize that an employer generally cares for their well-being are intrinsically motivated to perform at high levels.
- Culture: A focus on ergonomics is a focus on safety. Employees are a company’s most valuable asset, so protecting their health creates a strong safety-focused culture that thrives.
- Retention: Employees who feel valued and are able to successfully accomplish challenging tasks are more likely to stay on the job. For an employer, that means fewer unfilled positions and less time spent searching for and training new employees.
COVID-19 has made the need for a dedicated home office a necessity for many professionals. Employers and employees share responsibility in creating ergonomically friendly workspaces at both the traditional office and the home office. For both parties, the ROI is too great to ignore.
About the Author
Joe Gammons is president of OFDC Commercial Interiors, Southwest Florida’s premier source for quality office furniture and design concepts since 1974. For more information, please visit OFDC-inc.com or call 239-347-4876.