Like customers, employees are the lifeblood of any business. One thing employers can do, particularly for employees in an office environment, to recognize their value is to provide them with office furniture that allows them to be more productive and comfortable throughout their workday. That means quality desks, chairs, and other ergonomic equipment.
Consequences of Poor Office Ergonomics
Before discussing the consequences of poor office ergonomics, we should probably take a moment to familiarize ourselves with what ergonomics is. In a nutshell, ergonomics is the science of designing things to work well for employees. According to an article published by Forbes, poor ergonomics in an office environment can give rise to numerous health problems.
The article further found that poor ergonomics play a substantial role in lost or restricted work time, with the primary culprit being work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), MSDs cost U.S. employers roughly $20 billion annually in worker’s compensation claims, lost productivity, medical expenses, and legal service fees. And it doesn’t end there; that estimated $20 billion also comprises the following:
- Accident investigations
- Implementing corrective measures to prevent recurrences
- Training replacement employees
Common Musculoskeletal Disorder Injuries Caused by Poor Ergonomics
According to the same article published by Forbes, work-related musculoskeletal disorders are primarily a byproduct of awkward postures and repetitive motion. Both of these are common in office environments plagued with poor ergonomics. Over time, the human body will adapt to these conditions, but that adaptation comes at the price of muscle strain, joint issues, vision problems, and much more. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, some of the more commonly reported work-related musculoskeletal disorders include the following:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Low back injuries
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Trigger finger
Vision problems are also common in offices where employees do not have access to ergonomic equipment.
The Relationship Between Poor Office Ergonomics and Vision Problems
According to the American Optometric Association, poor lighting in an office environment can cause numerous vision problems. The same applies to steering at low-quality computer monitors for too long, which can trigger computer vision syndrome, the organization further revealed in a study. Poor lighting and low-quality computer monitors can cause dry eyes, double vision, eye irritation, and blurred vision in office environments. Some people experience headaches and even migraines when they develop these vision problems.
How Ergonomic Furniture Creates a Comfortable, Safe, and Productive Office Environment
If you’re an employer, one of the best things you can do to boost productivity, improve comfort, and create a safer office environment for employees is to invest in ergonomic office furniture. Some must-haves include
All office chairs are not created equal; some are undoubtedly better than others. Ergonomic office chairs are ideal for offices. That’s because they typically have features that make them exceptionally comfortable to sit on and allow employees to be more productive. A prime example of a quality ergonomic office chair is one with rolling wheels and 360-degree swiveling capabilities. These features make it easy for employees to move around an office quickly and effortlessly. Office chairs with the following also make for good ergonomic chairs:
- Height settings
- Locking mechanisms
- Tilt functionality
Height-adjustable desks are also a worthwhile investment for businesses that care about the health and well-being of their employees. And that’s because they offer several benefits, some of which include the following:
- Boosts productivity
- Improves mood
- Reduces high blood sugar levels
- Lowers the risk of becoming overweight or obese
- Lowers the risk of developing heart disease
- Reduces back pain
Quality Computer Monitors
Studies show quality computer monitors can help office workers avoid computer vision syndrome, which affects around 90% of office employees. That’s because many of them have blue light and flicker-free technology, which combats and helps prevent CVS. While we are on the topic, investing in ergonomic keyboards and mice can lower the chances of employees developing carpal tunnel, trigger finger syndrome, and other work-related hand or joint problems.
In addition to ergonomic chairs, desks, and high-quality computer monitors, businesses should invest in good overhead lighting. Doing so lowers the risk of employees developing vision problems. Instructing employees to set their computer monitors at a 90-degree angle from nearby windows to reduce glare can also help keep vision problems at bay. The same applies to encouraging them to take periodic breaks if they spend most of their workday looking at a monitor.
In summary, creating a healthy and safe office environment benefits employees and employers. And most would argue that the investment in ergonomic furniture and accessories necessary to create such an environment is well worth it. To learn more about ergonomic furniture and how the right pieces can make your office environment safer and more productive, consider contacting Solutions Office Interiors, a premier design and office furniture company with offices in San Jose, Oakland, and San Francisco, California today.