Ergonomic Adaptations for the Modern Workplace
- Install Eye-Friendly Lighting
- Use Adjustable Workstations
- Create Opportunity for Movement
- Encourage Good Personal Posture
- Get Professional Advice
Ergonomics is the science and study of designing spaces around human needs and limitations. While the term is often associated with chairs, desks and other furniture, the definition actually extends into the entire work environment. There are many ways for employers and office managers to increase the productivity, morale, and health of their team members through ergonomic modification. Even small changes in routine or office layout can provide welcome relief from sources of physical and mental stress.
1. Install Eye-Friendly Lighting
Whether offices are equipped with cheap bulbs or energy-efficient fixtures, they should still be installed in an ergonomic way. Ample lighting illuminates each room completely without causing glare on monitors or forcing workers to squint. Some offices use daylight bulbs or incorporate sunlight from the outdoors into their lighting plan to create a more natural interior environment.
2. Use Adjustable Workstations
Employees aren’t uniform, even if their office furniture and computer equipment is. When possible, offices should have adjustable furniture, monitor stands, and desks to allow each worker to adjust their station as needed. Maintaining good personal posture is essential for avoiding a variety of muscle and bone health issues, especially for people who spend most of their workday sitting down. Lower back pain, which is often related to poor posture, is the most common work-related personal disability reported worldwide, according to Forbes.
3. Create Opportunity for Movement
Spending hours a day sitting down is normal for many modern workers, but this routine can have serious consequences. A stationary work routine saps energy and can lead to a number of long-term health problems. Work environments should allow for movement and motion, allowing employees to get a little bit of exercise every hour or two. Access to a larger outdoor or communal area can help employees stretch their legs without needing to leave the property.
4. Encourage Good Personal Posture
Maintaining good posture when sitting or standing is the result of habits created from conscious effort. Many people aren’t fully aware of their own habits that lead to slouching or other posture issues. Hanging posters or other visual reminders of posture basics can encourage employees to monitor their habits and give them a simple guide on how to develop healthier ones. Some offices hold meetings or periodic training sessions to show their workers how to take advantage of existing ergonomic features in the workplace.
5. Get Professional Advice
Many large businesses employee full-time professionals who evaluate and improve the ergonomics of all the organization’s work environments. Most small and mid-sized businesses don’t have the budget for a permanent staff member for this position, but they can work with consulting experts on a temporary basis. Even limited guidance from a consultant can offer incredible insight into the issues and interactions related to workplace ergonomics.
The physical and emotional well-being of employees has a direct impact on their ability to work, communicate and collaborate. Following these basic tips for ergonomic workspace design is a good way to start creating a healthier and more productive work environment, which has major potential benefits for both employers and employees.