Increasing staff productivity is a frequent discussion point with CEOs and business leaders when we are engaged to redesign their office space. Creating an ergonomic workplace can support this objective.
Ergonomics ensure there is a good fit between the workers and what they interact with in their environment. Ergonomics is an important aspect of the workplace as it supports workers to maintain better health, increasing their satisfaction, which in turn leads to increased productivity.
By designing a workplace that allows for good posture, less exertion, fewer motions and improved heights and reaches, the workstation becomes more efficient. Poor ergonomics leads to frustrated and fatigued workers that don’t perform their best work.
Employees notice when a company has focused effort on ensuring their health and safety is a priority. If an employee does not experience fatigue and discomfort during their workday, it can reduce turnover, decrease absenteeism, improve morale and increase employee involvement.
Ergonomic office chairs have been a focal point for years now. They are comfortable, stylish and are not necessarily expensive. Investment in a chair that is used 36.5 hours a week is a much better investment in your team health than a new coffee machine (not that workers don't love those!). A good quality chair should include:
A comfortable cushion: One of the most basic requirements is a comfortable place to sit.
Breathable fabric is ideal too. This offers greater comfort, especially in the warmer months.
Arm rests: If you have an office chair with armrests, the armrests should be adjustable. They should allow the user's arms to rest comfortably and shoulders to be relaxed. The elbows and lower arms should rest lightly, and the forearm should not be on the armrest while typing.
Adjustable seat height: Ideally, you want to be able to adjust your seat so that your thighs are parallel to the floor and your feet are flat on the floor. You also want to have your arms at the height of the desk (or the part of the desk containing your keyboard or mouse).
Adjustable back rest height: You should be able to adjust your chair's back up and down and the angle as well. Generally, you want the angle to be pretty far forward to keep your posture up.
The ability to swivel and/or roll around: A chair with wheels and the ability to swivel is a necessary feature. When you need to reach for items on your desk, you can put strain on your body, so widening the area you can easily reach is important in protecting your body from injury.
Healthy employees are an organisation's most valuable asset. Creating and fostering a workplace environment that supports ergonomic design will lead to better human performance.