Office ergonomics are the ways in which employees interact with their working environment, if office ergonomics are poor and a person’s body is positioned incorrectly when interacting with the essential functions of their job then employees are likely to suffer in terms of physical health and therefore productivity. In this blog we look at how the importance of ergonomic design, proposing ways ergonomics could be included within your workplace design, minimising risk to staff and maintaining productivity in your business.
It’s unlikely to come as much surprise that the average office worker will spend 3,515 days at work throughout their lifetimes, with much of this time spent sat behind a desk. Prolonged sitting is not without consequence as musculoskeletal disorders are rife throughout offices, especially where employees lack the ergonomic seating required to protect their physical health. Failing to incorporate ergonomic design can lead to a plethora of employee health issues, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and severe back injuries, which can ultimately be bad for business as injuries caused by improper seating can result an increase in absenteeism and a reduction in productivity.
The best workplace design companies will only supply seating with good ergonomic design, however there are a few features to look out for when selecting the right office seating for your employees. Adjustable seat height, width and depth are essential features in all office chairs along with lower back support to prevent slouching and a backrest to support the natural curvature of the spine. The seat material should not only be visually appealing but should also provide enough padding to remain comfortable when sitting for extended periods of time.
Not only are chairs important to maximising employee wellbeing but other furniture items such as ergonmic desks can play an important role in your workplace design, preventing health issues and maintaining a productive workforce. Ensuring the height of a desk allows for the user to place their feet flat on the floor means employees maintain good posture, meanwhile a matte finish on desks will prevent glare which is known for causing eye strain and potentially triggering migraine episodes. Desks should be large enough to accommodate all the necessary equipment a person may need without being cluttered and without the need for an employee to stretch or strain themselves to reach equipment when needed.
Office workers spend an average of 1,700 hours each year looking at their computer or phone screens which can have a detrimental impact on eye health and can even cause headaches. The best way to avoid these negative consequences is to design ergonomics your workplace design project along with providing employees with best practice when using different screens. Monitors for example should be height adjustable with a swivel mechanic which allows employees to move the screen into a comfortable position, meaning workers can sit at the correct position without having to move their body out of the correct position to find the best viewing angles. Ideally the top of the monitor should be positioned slightly above eye level and the centre of the monitor should be within arm’s reach from your ideal seating position. Screen resolution, brightness and contrast should also be adjustable to ensure text is easy to read which minimises the risk of eye strain. Any sources of glare should also be eliminated to reduce headaches and eyestrain, which means window coverings may be required within your office fit out design to block out sources of glare such as direct sunlight.
Designing good lighting into your workplace design project is absolutely necessary as poor lighting can make hazards harder to see, increasing the risk of physical injury to staff while also have unseen affects such as eyestrain, headaches and can even cause migraines. The result of inadequate lighting is an increase in sickness and injury and a reduction of productivity and concentration throughout your workforce. But fear not as the best office fit out companies will use the latest design software, allowing interior design specialists to carefully place light sources, striking a balance throughout the space allowing for lighting which allows employees to work productivity without being dazzled.
Author- Marcus Livesey, Marketing Executive at Officeinsight