Do you have a persistent pain in your neck and shoulders while at work? Does your lower back either throb or feel quite numb? Do you get a headache staring at your desktop and often get the feeling that your eyesight has worsened? Do you experience cramps in your fingers and feet? No, you are not (just) getting older. You are like most of us, suffering from bad ergonomics at your workplace. If ignored, these common, seemingly harmless discomforts could develop into severe MDSs (Musculoskeletal disorders). Simply put, ergonomics is “the science of designing the workplace in accordance with the capabilities and limitations of the employee”.
Why should companies take note?
Work sites that are designed without keeping ergonomics in mind, lead to excessive fatigue and discomfort. This in turn, lowers productivity while making the workers unhappy and unhealthy. From something as common as an uncomfortable chair to something graver like lack of safety gear or unguarded dangerous machinery, ergonomics has a strong impact on your employees and their performance in your organization.
Why is ergonomics a good investment for your organization? Well, here are a few pointers that might convert your skepticism into belief:
Cost-effectiveness: Though going the ergonomic way might conjure up images of huge investments, paying attention to ergonomics actually reduces your costs. A healthy workforce means that you get to save on the direct and indirect costs of injuries as well as on unreasonably extravagant health-care compensations.
Boost to Productivity and Quality: An ergonomically sound work-place is characterized by efficiency. Given the required levels of comfort, fatigue is reduced to a great extent and unnecessary movements are minimized. This improves the output qualitatively and quantitatively.
Enhances Employee Engagement: Your efforts to make the organization a happier and healthier place to work in do not go unnoticed. As your employees realize the benefits of all that you do for them, it boosts their morale. This eventually leads to lower rates of absenteeism and reduced turnover. Moreover, work becomes less of an ordeal and your employees start getting more involved in their work.
Way to a Safer Workplace: Safety and health are important enough to be core values in any organization, and for this the importance of ergonomics in the workplace must be understood. Poor ergonomics increases the chances for various unfortunate accidents. These accidents can be avoided by just a little more attention to detail. You could even curtail harmful habits like smoking by using an intelligent workplace design.
As human beings, we are given to habit and we get stuck in our ways. That is probably what has delayed the growth of “ergonomically-friendly” workplaces because we feel that people still came to work and work got done even before these concepts started gaining ground. However, there are workplaces today which are paying heed to these requirements and not without reason.
Gaining managerial support for improvement using various ergonomics in the workplace tips, understanding the problems that might have already been caused due to ignorance, actively involving your employees and regular reviewing are basic steps towards a safer and happier workplace.
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