Long gone are the days where you work in an office for a few years and develop back problems for the next 50 years. There’s a new revolution in workplace productivity and comfort. Owners are beginning to take notice of how productive their offices are and how to increase those numbers. The key points to a productive office include incorporating ergonomics, having communication between employees, a focus on employee well-being, and creating a bright, clean atmosphere.
Ergonomics is the study of people’s efficiency in the workplace. There is furniture, equipment, and materials. Height adjustable furniture, eye level equipment and soft materials contribute to good health and posture. Good posture consists of having your head upright and over your shoulders with your eyes looking slight downward without bending from the neck, having your elbows bent at 90 degrees with your shoulders and forearms relaxed, thighs should be horizontal with a 90-110 degree angle at the hip, and feet should be supported.
Perhaps the most common issue with furniture in the workplace is the chair and back support. The backrest should support the natural curve of your lower back, without forcing it straight up. Another movement in furniture is one that allows the person to exercise while working. As reported by Forbes, this new system of performing work tasks is one that starts off with less performance, but then creates a more productive employee than one that sits in a traditional office. It is proven that 1.5 hours of moderate activity will increase life span by 4.2 years. Alan Hedge works through these issue in his presentation on Ergonomics and health.
Ergonomics has 4 general benefits: Reducing costs, improving productivity, improving quality, and improving employee engagement. [Ergo-Plus]
Ergonomics Reduce Costs
Ergonomics have been proven to reduce costs for employers. Blue Cross Blue Shield in Rhode Island invested in creating workstation changes, ergonomic programs and training, and standardized ergo equipment. This brought their Worker’s Compensation costs from $227,620 to $26,010, in just one year!
Ergonomics improves productivity
Ergonomics can increase productivity in companies very drastically. Statefarm insurance decided to invest in new furniture and seating that was ergonomic and they reported that productivity has increased by 15 percent.
Ergonomics improves quality
Bad ergonomics leads to fatigued employees that don’t perform at their highest abilities. When an employee is tired or fatigued, they might not complete a task at company standards, but might cut corners to work less.
Ergonomics improves employee engagement
When employees do not feel tired at the end of the day, they tend to put in more work towards the workday, and continue at the end of the week. The positive change will be noticed by employees and can “reduce turnover, decrease absenteeism, improve morale and increase employee involvement.”
Another key point to success and productivity in the workplace is communication between employees. We have all seen those offices where everyone sits in a cubicle, has their headphones in, and appears to be in another world. Employees that communicate more with each other, perform better and higher on their assigned tasks. Open communication between employees will also increase positive relationships in the office, which will increase productivity and activity. People like to work more when they are happy!
When employees are happy, the employer is also happy. As employers begin to invest more into providing materials and equipment that is beneficial to the employee’s wellbeing, the quality and activity will increase. While working the typical 9-5 job, the critical time of less productivity is between 2-4 PM. This is when the sugar rush fades and the lack of sleep catches up with you. There was a study done by Harvard Medical School on how sleep affects productivity. They stated that “insomnia costs the average worker 11.3 days and $2,280 in “lost productivity” each year. As a Nation, our collective losses are fairly mind blowing: $63.2 billion annually!”
There are offices around the world working with a new type of system to help fix insomnia: the sleeping pods. The goal of the pods is to provide a quick “power nap” which increases productivity and the health of the employees. Some companies that have incorporated the sleeping pods include: Google, NASA, Facebook, Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Huffington Post, and Cisco.
The last key point to a productive workspace is by providing a clean and bright office.
We are moving towards a new way of working and living. In the past, work was physical labor, but now we are in the middle of a cubicle revolution that is taking the world by storm. Through ergonomics, communication, focus on well-being, and an inviting office, employees are more productive. Although, we may never end our quest at the tranquil office and might go as far as moving our office to the beach.