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How Effective Office Ergonomics Can Help to Prevent Employee Fatigue

Though it seems straightforward enough, designing a well-functioning workspace carries a great deal of complexity. Paying attention to ergonomics is crucial when it comes to preventing injury, enhancing productivity and reducing fatigue for your employees. Here’s what the science of ergonomics has to say about creating and managing a workplace where your employees can work best.

What is ergonomics?

First things first — what do we mean by ergonomics? Office ergonomics is the science of designing a workstation to fit the capabilities and limitations of the average worker. It takes into account the physical stresses of the workday and the way minor discomforts can build up into serious physiological problems over time.

It’s vitally important to take workplace ergonomics seriously if you want to employ happy, healthy, motivated people. You might be surprised to learn the many ways that minor ergonomics problems in the workplace detract from your workers’ ability to reach their full potential.

Office ergonomics checklist

Following are the most important things to keep in mind when designing ergonomically correct workstations.

  1. Proper arm support. If the arms are not comfortably supported, desk-bound employees will experience pain and fatigue in their shoulders and neck from the strain of keeping the arms lifted. The keyboard and mouse should also be placed within a comfortable distance that allows the arms to rest on their supports without reaching.
  2. No leaning. The body should be aligned in a neutral posture as much as possible, keeping the head centered over its main source of support — the neck. Hunching or leaning forward to look at a computer will put stress on the spine, so employers should provide comfortable, supportive office chairs.
  3. Keep the neck straight. Too many office workers find themselves frequently tucking their phone between the head and the shoulder to keep their hands free while they’re on a call. If your employees will be spending a lot of time on the phone, provide headsets so they can comfortably take calls and type or take notes at the same time.
  4. Reduce eye fatigue. Not placing the monitor too close, reducing screen glare, and not putting the monitor near a source of bright light are all good ways to protect employees’ eyes.
  5. Protect the neck. Turning the neck excessively can be harmful, so workstations should be designed with all necessary tools in a single line of vision. Employees shouldn’t need to turn their heads to access a device or screen frequently throughout the day.

Health and morale effects

Keeping good ergonomics in mind won’t just reduce the chance of adverse health effects. Studies show that limiting strain and fatigue can also improve workers’ productivity and levels of job satisfaction. Muscle fatigue caused by unnecessary strain or tension can lead to an overall sense of sluggishness, which will chip away at your employees’ work habits. People work better when they feel better, which is why it’s so important to consider these office ergonomics tips.

The bottom line? Improving posture and following OSHA ergonomic standards is good for your workers and good for your business at the same time.

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