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What is Ergonomics?

A definition of Ergonomics is the study of people in their work environment, focused on improving the worker’s comfort, health and safety, and efficiency. Ergonomics often relates to the equipment that workers use, but may also be about other work environment factors such as the number of breaks that workers can take and the average temperature in the workplace.

Several studies have linked workplace ergonomics with higher productivity, which is why considering workplace ergonomics is essential for any organisation that wants to strive for maximum productivity.

Ergonomics at Work

When designing an ergonomic workplace, it is important that you carefully consider how the people in your organisation interact with equipment, processes and systems.

It is important that a workspace is designed to minimise the effort of employees in any type of work situation they may find themselves in. For an office worker this may mean having a chair that promotes good posture, a desk that is adjustable in height (and can even be transformed into a standing desk), a keyboard and mouse that reduces the risk of RSI, lots of natural light in the office environment, etc. It may also mean that the software systems they have to work with are user-friendly and allow effective team collaboration.

In a more industrial setting, ergonomics may relate to the effect on productivity and physical health of factory design and the movements workers have to perform on the job.

Ergonomics is all about the big picture, not just purchasing a few new pieces of ergonomic furniture. No matter how comfortable an office chair is, if workers have to work with outdated or buggy software, never get any breaks or don’t see any natural light all day long, your organisation will never be as productive as it can be.

Business Benefits of an Ergonomic Workplace

There are numerous proven benefits of having an ergonomically designed workplace. Here are 4 of the most important ones:

  • Cost Reduction: The cost of work-related injury and illness is much higher than many organisations realise. Good ergonomics will help prevent employee accidents and illness and thus reduce costs.
  • Increased Productivity: An ergonomic solution is not only the healthiest and safest one, but generally also the most productive one. When a worker feels more comfortable on the job they tend to perform better.
  • Higher Quality of Work: Bad ergonomics results in tired and frustrated workers who make more mistakes and deliver lower quality work.
  • Higher Employee Engagement and Loyalty: Employees who work in an ergonomic workplace are happier and feel more appreciated. Poor ergonomics can create resentment of the employee towards the organisation because they may feel that the company doesn’t appreciate their health, safety and expertise. An ergonomic workplace may reduce turnover, decrease absenteeism, and boost loyalty and moral.

When designing an office, workplace ergonomics is of key importance to ensure that your organisation will be successful. An ergonomic workplace can help improve worker productivity, health and happiness. This will result in better overall company performance and may deliver the edge that you need to stay ahead of your competition.