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The ergonomic revolution taking place in your office

19-Nov-19

Get ready for an ergonomic shake up in your office

Welcome to the age of Ergonomic’s, where better health and well being strategies are being incorporated in the office and home. Ergonomic office products help ensure workers who are desk-based are healthy, energised and productive. Furthermore, in the best possible shape for business success and above all, resulting in happier employees.

An Ergonomic Office Set-Up

“74% of senior managers across Europe believe that offering health & wellbeing initiatives will help them to attract better staff

There are many tell-tale signs of a poorly set up work station and office environment. Major culprits include bad working habits when using computers and laptops, sitting on slouching office chairs, or having no foot, wrist or arm supports.

These factors can cause bad posture and result in employees sitting uncomfortably, straining their eyes and a number of other ailments. By office workers adapting good posture and sitting up straight, whilst trying to keep active at work they will see discomfort levels decrease. Eventually causing better work results and ensuring they stay healthier for longer.

Research has shown that effective office ergonomics interventions on average reduce the number of musculoskeletal problems by 61%, reduce lost workdays by 88% and reduce staff turnover by 87%.

Chartered Institute of Ergonomic & Human Factors research

So what are the types of worker that are suffering from poor office working environments?

Office worker with sore back
A non ergonomic office set-up

Studies have found that office workers are already suffering from poor working environments. For instance:

The Vocal Sufferer

Vocal Sufferers are employees who admit to experiencing discomfort or receiving an injury whilst working at a desk. Typical complaints include:

  • Back Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Wrist Pain

The Silent Sufferer

Silent Sufferers are employees who are also experiencing discomfort whilst working at a desk but are failing to report it. Therefore, not always linking the pain to their work style. Typical symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Recurrent Headache
  • Eye Strain
  • Tingling
  • Heavy Legs

Identifying the types sufferers is an important step towards making the workspace a more ergonomic environment for those who need it.

Use this 5 minute tool to see how ergonomic your office setup is?

Fellowes offer an online ergonomic tool to help discover what changes are necessary in making a desk set up more comfortable. Give it a go and see if the desk space you or your employees are working with is up to scratch!  

Office Workstation risk assessments

It is now a legal requirement for all businesses to undertake regular workstation risk assessments. There is a free to download version of seating at work on the HSE website: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pUbns/priced/hsg57.pdf

There is also a handy guide aimed at employers, managers and others to help you understand ergonomics in the workplace http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg90.pdf

Why they are important..

The purpose of having a workstation assessment is to and find any issues that may affect poorly on health. Once problems are identified, solutions can be implemented in order to improve office set ups.

Workstation assessments ensure that stations are set up in line with health & safety legislation. The assessments can also help find necessary improvements. For instance, this could be anything from using an external mouse and keyboard or making sure that wrists are in line with forearms. As well as workstations improving the health and wellbeing of staff, they similarly aid in reducing health and safety litigation.

Only 40% of European employees claim they’ve had a workstation risk assessments in the last 12 months – and 39% say they’ve never had one

Here are some key points to take into account in the workplace:

  • What policies or guidelines are in place for your staff health and wellbeing?
  • Who is responsible for purchase of products to enhance employee health and wellbeing?
  • How do your employees report discomfort or injury and how many are reporting complaints?
  • Have you recently ordered new furniture, if so would you add ergonomic office features?
  • Are you concerned about the levels of sick leave?
  • Are you looking to increase productivity and employee engagement? Good ergonomic solutions will help employees work better and feel great.
  • Are you looking to incorporate more ‘active working’ into your business and would they be interested in a free sit-stand workstation trial?

There are many manufacturers of ergonomic products that help in all areas of employee well being in the workplace. The manufacturer Fellowes provide a 4-zone approach which helps identify and target problem areas…

FELLOWES 4-ZONE APPROACH 

Fellowes 4 Zone Approach – The complete healthy ergonomic office solution. 

Introducing Fellowes 4 Zone Approach. This approach shows that workstation layouts should fit around the user and not vice versa. By incorporating healthy workspace environments, you could be reducing the risk of workstation-related pain and illnesses amongst employees. Therefore, resulting in a decrease in absences and higher quality produced work. When promoting the ‘complete workstation solution’ , you will be offering the best advice in order to keep staff, happy, productive and healthy.

Fellowes 4 Zone Approach

ZONE 1 – PREVENT BACK TENSION

The first Zone is encouraging the use of products to help support posture and prevent back tension, the recommended ergonomic office products include: Back supports, Foot supports, and having good posture.

Ergonomic office Back and foot supports

ZONE 2 – AVOID WRIST PRESSURE

Secondly, Zone 2 helps encourage wrists and forearm support, by keeping them flat – and ensuring your elbows are level with the surface of your desk. Products to help with this issue include wrist and arm supports for your mouse or keyboard.

Ergonomic Arm and wrist supports for keyboards and mouse

ZONE 3 – RELIEVE NECK STRAIN

Zone 3 focuses on relieving neck strain by ensuring eyes are in line with the top of the screen, and by introducing extendable monitor arms, and laptop and phone supports.

Extendable ergonomic monitor arms, and laptop holders

ZONE 4 – REDUCE INACTIVITY

Fellowes approach with Zone 4 encourages introducing Stand/Sit desk set ups, thus allowing employees to feel the benefit of a dynamic workspace and encourages movement.

Ergonomic Sit-Stand desk solutions

Find more top tips for an Ergonomic Office set up from Fellowes here.

Meet Emma! Fellowes vision of a future without Office Ergonomics

Fellowes have been a driving force behind the Ergonomic Revolution in office settings. Their recent work, ‘Emma, the work colleague of the future’ features a rather horrific projection into the future for office workers. Emma has a list of ailments which have been caused by her shabby working environments.

Emma: A vision of the future office worker
Emma: A vision of the future office worker

Behavioural Futurist, William Higham, and an expert panel in ergonomics have come up Emma, to no doubt cause a stir and be the surge in office ergonomics.

Emma has undoubtedly caused a media frenzy and has helped catapult Office Ergonomics into the public eye. Find out more about Emma here.

Conclusion

Today’s office environment is all about the employee well being and the benefits that that brings, not only to the employee and the office ‘vibe’, but also to the office productivity and well being of the company. Ensure that work station risk assessments are carried out for all employees and ensure that where necessary, ergonomic products are introduced to facilitate a healthy working environment.

Play your part and have happy, fit staff, less sick days and increased productivity!