Why ergonomics matters in every type of work environment
This blog was originally published by Sonic Boom’s parent company, Premise Health.
Most people have heard of ergonomics when it comes to comfortable furniture or desk posture. However, the principles of ergonomics go well beyond that, especially in the workplace. So what does ‘ergonomics’ actually mean? How can it help your employees be more productive and comfortable at work? Keep reading to learn more.
What is ergonomics?
Generally, ergonomics is a scientific discipline that studies human interactions with elements of a system. It’s often applied to workplaces to optimize people’s wellbeing and overall performance.
Applying the principles of ergonomics in the workplace means jobs are designed to fit the worker. Job tasks are safer, and performance is more efficient. Ergonomics is a balance between job demands and worker capabilities, which can have enormous benefits for employers and employees.
Why is it important?
Ergonomics has benefits for all types of jobs and workplace settings:
- Increased morale due to fewer employees experiencing discomfort
- Increased productivity due to reduced risk of musculoskeletal disorders
- Decreased illness and subsequent time away from work
- Increased employee safety resulting in fewer workers’ compensation claims
- Increased savings and decreased healthcare costs due to fewer injuries
Most of us now know that long hours sitting in the same spot in front of a computer can wreak havoc on the body. Office ergonomics focuses on areas like desk posture, computer use, lighting, and overall equipment setup to help employees stay comfortable and productive.
Using proper ergonomics in the office can help prevent harmful musculoskeletal disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, and other muscle strains or low-back injuries. With many office workers now working from home permanently or in a hybrid environment, it’s important for all workstations to be optimized for comfort and safety. The need to incorporate proper ergonomics is a preventive, cost-saving measure all organizations should consider.
Ergonomics is extremely important in industrial settings where workers may be performing repetitive motions or manual labor. Common job types that benefit from ergonomics include factory workers, lab workers, truck drivers, first responders, transportation workers, and construction workers, to name a few.
Ergonomics in the workplace will focus on areas like repetitive motion, proper lifting technique, and safe use of hand trucks, pallet jacks, carts, forklifts, and more. Due to the nature of industrial jobs, using improper ergonomics for forceful or stressful movements, especially in repetition, can lead to serious musculoskeletal disorders and injuries. Preventing serious musculoskeletal injuries reduces expensive treatments like surgeries and ultimately saves significant healthcare costs for organizations and daily discomfort for employees.
As the workforce becomes increasingly dispersed, easy access to ergonomic support makes people more likely to seek assistance and get ahead of potential issues. Workers in both office and industrial settings can access virtual ergonomics from Premise Health, our parent company, to receive assessments of their workspace remotely. The convenience of these assessments makes them an excellent option for all workers regardless of their job type.
How does a virtual assessment work?
Virtual assessments can be conducted with or without a referral via video, or a local provider can assist a member in person following direction from the virtual ergonomist. If possible, members can also send pictures or video of their workstation for the ergonomist to review. Either way, a virtual ergonomist will assess the workstation and suggest tools or modifications to help workers avoid discomfort or potential injury.
Benefits of virtual ergonomics
Virtual visits make many services, including ergonomic assessments, more accessible by making them easy to fit into busy schedules. This allows ergonomists to reach remote or local employees with an equal prevention-focused approach and make sure all workstations are comfortable, no matter where they’re located.
Regardless of the industry or field you’re in, ergonomics can help your workforce feel better in their daily lives and be more productive at work. And having a robust wellness program in place can also encourage employees to get up and move throughout the day. Interested in learning more? Reach out to us to hear about our platform offerings.
Sonic Boom Team