Workplace ergonomics is often associated with placing and design of equipment and furniture in a workplace, however it is much more than that. Ergonomics involves everything that involves people. It is making better use of human capacities (economize motions) and protect workers from hazards and other poor work conditions that negatively affect worker’s occupation health and productivity. The concept of ergonomics has a major role to play in providing a comfortable working environment to promote productivity and efficiency. According to the Asian Productivity Organization, comfort and productivity are interrelated. Employees who worked in a noisy environment and congested areas are more likely to feel dissatisfied and unmotivated to do their tasks. Other common ergonomics issues include wrong heights for table and chair, no back support, no elbow support, banging the knees in keyboard tray, and cradling the phone while using the computer. An office should be designed based on the specific nature of the jobs and the employees working there. Flexibility, comfort, communication, lighting, temperature, air quality and spatial arrangements should be considered to further improve productivity in the workplace. Benefits of Ergonomics
- Ergonomics reduces costs – Sprains and strains results to lost productivity, and at the same time, this costs money for an organization in the form of compensation benefits. Implementing ergonomics in the workplace reduces ergonomic risk factors such as musculoskeletal disorders.
- Ergonomics improve productivity – Working in an awkward posture is not an efficient way to get things done. An efficient workstation encourages good posture, less exertion and fewer motions, and better heights and reaches.
- Ergonomics contributes to higher working capacity – Poorly designed workstations are frustrating and may cause employees to feel tired and strained. With ergonomics, employees are not distracted by discomfort and are likely to feel inspired, solve more problems, and think of new ideas.
- Ergonomics make the employees feel more engaged – An organization that provides an ergonomic workplace takes the health and wellbeing of their employees seriously. A comfortable workspace can reduce turnovers, decrease absenteeism, and increase employee involvement.
Organizations feel that implementing ergonomics is a luxury but it is not. The initial cost may be higher but compared to conventional and traditional workspaces, ergonomics offers more benefits not only for the employees but for the organization as well. For an organization that is limited financially, an option of procuring second-hand ergonomic equipment and furniture may be explored.