Understanding Ergonomics, Part 1, defines ergonomics and describes the symptoms and treatments involved. It also looks at the type of work most likely to cause a problem when ergonomics are not appropriately addressed.
This post looks at the benefits of ergonomics and tips for its implementation. It also provides information for creating a plan to assess space for ergonomic implementation. Finally, it looks at situations outside of the workplace that can benefit from implementing ergonomics.
Benefits of Ergonomics
Applying ergonomics helps prevent repetitive strain injuries. As those injuries are reduced and even stopped altogether, additional benefits are seen. Those benefits include:
- Increased Efficiency. Ergonomics allow workers to move at their most efficient level, which leads to healthier employees. Efficient, healthy workers produce better quality work.
- Increased productivity. Efficient movement leads to increased productivity. A 1986 study by the Army Corps of Engineers showed a 20.6% improvement in employee productivity one year after the ergonomic furniture was installed.
- Increased morale. Workers not dealing with headaches and sore muscles and especially with more severe repetitive strain issues caused by an uncomfortable working environment tend to be happier, and their productivity naturally increases.
- Increased work quality. As workers are more comfortable and able to work more efficiently, the quality of work increases as well.
- Reduced turnover & absenteeism. Workers are often absent because of musculoskeletal disorders. Reducing these reduces turnover and absenteeism. After all…
“Work that hurts doesn’t exactly encourage people to come every day,” Dan MacLeod, Professional Ergonomist.
For more benefits of implementing ergonomics, see “How to Increase Profits with Ergonomics: 20 Ways to Cut Costs, plus One Way to Increase Revenues“ by Dan MacLeod.
A variety of tips and techniques exist for optimizing ergonomics. In most cases, the best implementation strategy is tailored to the individual.
However, there are a few general tips that fit most situations, especially when beginning to implement ergonomics. These tips provide an excellent beginning point for working toward a more comprehensive implementation of ergonomics.
- Arrange the workspace. An ergonomic workspace fits a worker’s body. Also, tasks completed the most often have supplies and equipment for that task within easy reach. Avoid reaching, twisting and poor posture on a regular basis.
- Use good work habits: Using variety in movement types, employing good posture, and increasing efficiency through the placement of supplies and equipment are all good work habits to help increase the benefits of ergonomics.
- Incorporate regular exercise & stretching: Regularly exercising and stretching the whole body add to the benefits of ergonomics.
Ergonomics does not have a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, a situation analysis (formal or informal) can help determine the most effective ergonomic strategies to implement.
For larger companies with deeper pockets, hiring an outside consultant to assess ergonomics in the workplace is a great option. For smaller businesses and individuals, learning how to evaluate an environment for ergonomic adjustments can be extremely useful. An assessment such as this ergonomics checklist to make the workplace more ergonomic is an effective way for anyone, regardless of resources, to begin implementing positive ergonomic changes.
Ergonomics Outside of the Workplace
Ergonomics is not just for the workplace. Frequent travel, as well as many tasks in the home, can also benefit from ergonomics. Taking the time to consider “Business Traveling Ergonomic Tips“ as well as “Home Ergonomics“ can go a long way in making an individual healthier and happier in a more rounded way.
Achieving the best ergonomic situation doesn’t happen all at once. It takes habit building as well as regular assessments to determine the best approaches for each individual and situation. However, the time spent working toward an ergonomic workplace and beyond yields tremendous benefits for both workers and companies.