Taking care of your employees is good for business. Comfortable, healthy people are more productive, more loyal, and generally just better at their jobs than those that are uncomfortable and unhealthy. They’re also significantly less expensive; sick days, medical bills, high turnover, and low productivity take a real and measurable toll on your bottom line.
Ergonomics is the science of optimizing work environments to promote better health, comfort, and productivity. The ultimate goal of ergonomics is to prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as carpal tunnel, strained backs, and tendonitis. In the world of ergonomics, it’s the small things that matter the most. Something as basic as a poorly designed workstation can lead to back problems, missed workdays, insurance claims, and all the rest.
Indoff is a leader in providing ergonomic solutions for your office. From outstanding modern commercial interior designs to beautiful office furniture with excellent ergonomics, our team can help you create a space that makes everyone who spends time there feel their best.
Any way you look at it, creating an ergonomic office is a good idea. Here are seven tips to help you up your ergonomic game and take better care of your team:
Cramped work quarters are an enemy of ergonomics. Employees need enough space to move freely and sit or stand and work comfortably. Each workstation needs to provide ample space to allow folks to stretch their limbs and move around. Tight spaces also increase stress and make it difficult to concentrate and work undisturbed.
Effective commercial interior design makes smart use of your floor space and ensures that everyone has enough room to get their jobs done well and be comfortable while they’re at it.
Adjustable, ergonomically designed desks and chairs allow you to fit furniture to specific employees. There’s no one-size-fits-all; backs need to be straight, desks should be at elbow height, feet need to be flat on the floor, and knees need to be at right angles. Chairs need to be comfy enough to sit in all day. Good furniture will keep your team alert, focused, and more productive. Take the time to fit your furniture for your team members and make sure everyone knows they are free to ask for what they need.
Your team spends a lot of time every day using and looking at tech and screens. Monitors that are poorly positioned cause problems like back strain, neck strain, eye strain, and headaches, all of which will dampen productivity and make working unpleasant.
Proper monitor placement is practically free but makes a huge difference. For optimum comfort, monitors should be placed at arm’s length from the user, and the top should be about eye level. Train your employees about how to place their monitors and give them the space and equipment they need to do it right. Provide reminders and check in regularly.
Keyboard and mouse placement should follow natural body posture. When working, elbows should be at a 90-degree angle to avoid causing shoulder or neck pain. Usually, this can be achieved by placing keyboards a few inches above the worker’s thighs and tilting the keyboard ever so slightly towards the individual.
To get this right, you’ll usually need to lower desks, raise chairs, or provide pull-out keyboard trays. Remember the short folks; these people need footrests on the floor so they can comfortably raise their chairs up and get their elbows to a comfortable position while working. The mouse should be level and about a shoulder distance apart from the keyboard. Mouse mats with gel wrist rests are a good idea.
When folks move into a new workspace, it’s a good idea to fit them into the space, making any necessary adjustments so they can be comfortable and safe.
Taking frequent short breaks is good for the mind, soul, and body. Employees who take multiple quick breaks throughout the day enjoy more creativity, more productivity, less eye strain, less muscle strain, and lower stress. Providing a well-stocked break room is one way to get your employees moving. Another great idea is to provide alternative workspaces that folks can use when they need a change of scenery. Outside workspaces, small group gathering areas, and collaborative spaces give your team members the chance to move around during the day while still staying on task.
While computer screens are a major cause of eye strain, it’s not plausible to eliminate the screens or even reduce screen time; often, it’s an essential part of the job. But there are things you can do to mitigate risks. First, train your team to set their screens’ brightness levels low. Second, encourage regular breaks. And third, think 20-20-20; every 20 minutes, employees need to look at something at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. If your people are sitting in tiny cubicles, this is tricky since nothing in these spaces is 20 feet away. A good office design will factor this in, providing windows or open office views in every space to give everyone the chance to look away for a bit and rest their eyes.
Make ergonomics a regular conversation in your workplace. Help your team members understand what healthy posture and position look like at work. Offer regular ergonomic training, post signs, offer weekly tips, and be generous with the furniture and equipment you provide.
At Indoff, we believe your furniture and commercial interior should help every aspect of your business. Contact a local representative to find out all about ergonomic office design. Boost your bottom line today by keeping your crew comfortable and healthy.
Jim joined Indoff in 1988 after spending 5 years at Ernst & Young, where he specialized in audit and accounting for privately-held businesses. Jim is responsible for the day-to-day management of Indoff.
Phone: (314) 997-1122 ext. 1203
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John’s background includes the start up and acquisition of several successful business ventures, and he provides strategic planning and overall corporate governance.
Phone: (314) 997-1122 ext. 1201