When you consider office space design, even the smallest detail matters. This means that things like the furniture’s stitching and the drawer’s pulls require thoughtful consideration. With this in mind, it’s surprising to learn that ergonomics is oftentimes overlooked. This is something that’s detrimental to both employees and their clients alike.
Defining Ergonomics in Office Space Design
Traditionally, the worker must fit into the workplace, regardless of what this space is like. With ergonomics office space design is created to fit the worker’s needs. This is important because it helps workers avoid developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) – including things like carpal tunnel and lower back injuries. These MSD will decrease productivity and increase workplace injury claims (these are what frequently cause employees to lose work time, or at the very minimum have it restricted by their doctor in some way). When you’re proactive and consider ergonomics, you won’t need to retrofit the environment to provide a quick fix when it’s a complete solution that’s needed.
The Three “S” of Workplace Ergonomics
As you take ergonomics into consideration in your office space design, you’ll find that there are three main areas that require small adjustments that will make a big impact. These include:
- Seat: Active vs. passive sitting is addressed by offering adjustable chairs that let workers move around and choose the most comfortable position for their body. Attaching movable arms to computer monitors also offers employees flexibility so they can continue moving around.
- Screens and Surfaces: Getting the computer monitor off your employees’ desk is important. This is usually problematic when you find that adjusting their seat and screen isn’t enough to help them get comfortable because fixed-height work surfaces are simply too high for some people. When this happens, your employees spend most of their day hunched over with their shoulders shrugged and their arms overextended. This improper position is three times more likely to cause a workplace injury. The best way to fix this is to offer standing desks but they can cause feet, ankle, shin, and knee injuries instead of wrist, elbow, neck, and shoulder injuries because our bodies aren’t meant to remain standing for 8 hours a day. Fortunately, sit-stand adjustable-height desks are now available at affordable prices.
Besides concerning yourself with these spaces, you should also give your employees as much room as possible, so they can move around. Space between workstations allows your employees to loosen their stiff muscles throughout the day. Studies show that it’s important to have a minimum of 8 – 10 minutes of movement every hour, this is one easy way to incorporate this into your work environment.
Redesigning Your Office for Ergonomics’ Sake
Now that you understand why you need your office space to be ergonomically designed, it’s time to start getting things set up. Since this is a job, you’ll need some help with, one of your first steps should be to contact the Education Resource Partners. They have many years of experience successfully creating these work environments for their clients. Why shouldn’t yours be next?